Launch of Catalan-Architects

John Hill
28. September 2015
Nearly 25 years later, the 1992 Summer Olympics have had a lasting positive impact on Barcelona, visible here in the communications tower designed by Norman Foster that is perched on the Tibidabo mountains. (Photo: Jon Tugores)

World-Architects is excited to announce the launch of Catalan-Architects, the seventeenth platform under the World-Architects umbrella. The regional Catalan-Architects platform recognizes the amazing quality of buildings and landscapes produced in the region anchored by Barcelona.

To mark the launch of Catalan-Architects, we are presenting these great aerial photographs of Barcelona by architect and aviator Jon Tugores. While these shots give a birds-eye view of the area, a series of articles in our Daily News and eMagazine zooms down into the cities and landscapes of Catalonia to provide some historical context, trace the evolution of important strands of development, and cover the various ways that Barcelona and its environs continue to be unique architecturally.

Architect and Cities Connection Project co-director Xavier Bustos starts by discussing three areas—education, cultural initiatives, and awards—that intertwine to impact Barcelona's admittedly distinctive architecture. In 3x3: Snapshots of Catalonian Architectural Production he presents three examples in each area to give readers a general idea of the field, while acknowledging the complexity of architectural production in the region.

Barcelona occupies a plain between the Mediterranean to the southeast, the Tibidabo mountains to the northwest, and the Besòs and Llobregat rivers to the north and south, respectively. (Photo: Jon Tugores)

In The Architecture of Barcelon'a Markets, Antonio La Gioia focuses on one of the city's most cherished building types. Some of the markets date back to the middle of the 19th century, so the city is in the midst of a slew of renovations of their indoor markets. The most eye-catching is Enric Miralles's Mercado de Santa Caterina with its mosaic tile roof resembling the foods sold inside. The most recent to be completed is the Ninot Market, remodeled by Josep Lluís Mateo as a roofed extension of its adjacent plaza.

The diagonal thoroughfares that cut across Barcelona's street grid are visible even from this height. Laid out initially by Ildefons Cerdà in the 19th century, the present-day diagonals converge at the node of Plaza de les Glories. (Photo: Jon Tugores)

In Greening Plaza de les Glories, Silvia Pujalte Toledo presents the transformation of this sizable open area in Barcelona from a car-dominated "frontier zone" into a green space. In addition to giving people a sizable park, "Urban Canopy," the competition-winning proposal of Agence Ter and Ana Coello de Llobet, unites the architectural landmarks (Torre Agbar by Jean Nouvel, Mercat dels Encants by b720 architects, and the DHUB Design Museum by MBM Arquitectes) that have been built around this node.

This view to the sea shows the Plaza de les Glories in the bottom-right corner and Barcelona's Sant Martí district, home to some of the city's most notable recent buildings of the "[email protected]" innovation district. (Photo: Jon Tugores)

The architcture of Antoni Gaudí, rightfully so, dominates architectural histories of Barcelona, but in The Splendor of Catalonian Modernism Miriam Giordano focuses on one of the architect's contemporaries, Lluis Domenech i Montaner. His Santa Creu i Sant Pau Hospital is a masterpiece of early 20th century architecture in Barcelona that recently underwent an award-winning renovation. Giordano also presents a short film on Ricardo Bofill by Albert Moya, a poetic portrait of an icon of Catalan architecture.

Head over to Catalan-Architects to see the many office profiles and projects that make it clear why architecture in Barcelona and the rest of the region is something to be celebrated around the world.

Catalan-Architects was initiated by Gus Wüstemann and developed by Miriam Giordano and her team of curators. Thanks to the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalonian Government) for its support in the launch of the platform. 

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