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Vogadors/Architectural Rowers, La Biennale di Venezia, Italy

Wednesday 08 Aug 2012

Catalan & Balearic Threads

Bosch . Capdeferro Arquitectures Ramon Bosch and Bet Capadeferro 
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The Institut Ramon Llull present the unique architecture of Catalonia and the Balearic islands at the Venice Biennale 

The Institut Ramon Llull is presenting an exhibition dedicated to Catalan and Balearic architecture at the Venice Biennale of Architecture for the first time. The desire is for a project that shows the contemporaneity and most avant-garde projects of Catalan and Balearic architecture.

To choose the most appropriate project to represent the unique architecture of Catalonia and the Balearic islands in Venice, the Institut Ramon Llull established an independent jury chaired by Jordi Garcés, winner of the 1991 FAD Award for the Olympic Pavilion in La Vall d'Hebron, and made up of jury members Lluís-Xavier Comerón, dean of the Col.legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya; Joan Morey, dean of the Col.legi Oficial d'Arquitectes de les Illes Balears; Fernando Marzá, architect and member of the Col.legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya; Miquel Vadell, architect and head of the competitions office of the Col.legi Ofi cial d'Arquitectes de les Illes Balears; Marta Vall-Llossera, architect and director of the Escola COAIB; Marta Malé, architect and acting director of the Institut d'Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya; Daniel Giralt-Miracle, art critic and historian and Àlex Susanna, assistant director of the Institut Ramon Llull.

The project Vogadors/Architectural Rowers. Catalan & Balearic Threads: hard materiality for a permeable architecture by renowned architects Jordi Badia and Félix Arranz was chosen from among 45 proposals. This project emphasizes the importance of an austere architecture rooted in respect for its surrounds and those who make use of it.

In developing it, the curator team took inspiration from the Mediterranean Sea, which separates and unites Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and took a sentence by Jorge Oteiza as a point of departure: "He who forges ahead creating something new does so like an oarsman, moving forward but backpaddling, looking behind him, towards the past, towards what exists, so as to be able to reinvent its underpinnings."

The objective is to show that this type of architecture is not solely the automatic response to a situation of economic crisis but is a cultural and aesthetic tendency linked to an entire intellectual, technical and social tradition of Catalan and Balearic architecture that held even when the international milieu pursued formal and expressive trajectories. It also connects with international strands that the excesses of some types of architectures of recent years portended. Its suitability is now recognized thanks the context of contemporary sensitivity, born of the current economic and ecological situation.

At the same time, the curators wish to encourage international debate on this trend and integrate Catalonia and the Balearic islands as one of the hubs of cultural and intellectual production of a fully contemporary architecture.

VOGADORS is a clear commitment to the future presenting a selection of 9 works from some of the most outstanding young Catalan and Balearic architects, all of them with a shared sensibility. These works likewise illustrate a different way of going about things in response to the growing demand on the part of society for what is necessary for community life and at odds with more spectacular and showy architecture.

The exhibition documents a sober architecture that uses very simple materials but is of a tremendous technical and intellectual sophistication and includes a strong social and ethical component enabling skillful construction with mindful openness to the environment, people and life without abandoning the most abstract and visual sentimental values.


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