Barcelona’s architecture opens up to the public

Urban landscape. Displays, films, routes and exhibitions at libraries, markets and theatres, all make up the activities for Architecture Week from 20 to 26 May.

Architecture Week is on from 20 to 26 May and starts life as a pilot project to open up the city’s architecture to the public. An extensive programme of acts has been put together to do just that, bringing together activities based around architecture, such as a film series, talks, routes, competitions and promotional spaces in all city districts.

Paying homage to women with an important role in architecture and urban planning through film; screening films which use Barcelona’s architecture as a setting; displaying architectural works at unusual places such as a market or a hospital; using shop window displays to display scale models and other architecture-based elements and running a contest to come up with a project for a party wall. These are just some of the activities forming part of Architecture Week from 20 to 26 May.

The initiative is being driven by Barcelona City Council, the Architects’ Association of Catalonia (COAC) and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with Barcelona Building Construmat and ArquinFAD. The goal is to “move architecture closer to the public and reflect on it from different spheres”, explained the Councillor for Architecture, Daniel Mòdol. According to the Councillor, the pilot project starts out from a very solid base as it has the support of numerous organisations with an interest in promoting architecture.

The activities planned are detailed on the Architecture Week website and cover various areas, including public space, the renovation of the city, housing, commerce and culture. “We want to open up architectural culture for the public to make it their own, and for people to feel they’re involved”, insisted Mòdol.

Planned activities include:

  • Film. A film series has been organised along with the Filmoteca de Catalunya, paying homage to significant women in architecture and urban planning. Films using Barcelona’s architecture as a setting will also be shown at community centres.
  • Exhibitions. Displays will be organised to look at certain architectural works at less usual places such as cinemas, theatres, markets, libraries and the Hospital de la Vall d’Hebron. There will also be exhibitions at the Palau de la Virreina and the Col·legi d’Arquitectes.
  • Mies van der Rohe Award. For the first time ever the Palau Victòria Eugènia, at the Montjuïc trade fair site, will open to the public with a display of scale models of projects entered for the Mies van der Rohe Award.
  • Museum Night. The programme also includes the traditional Museum Night (20 May, from 7 pm to 1 am), with architecture of particular interest.
  • Competition.  To come up with a project for a party wall in the city. Projects will be chosen by local residents and there will be a cash prize for the winner.
  • Shop window displays. There will be ten shop window displays in the Sant Antoni and El Born shopping hubs, showing scale models and other architecture-related elements.
  • Containers. Around the city’s districts to promote the Mies van der Rohe Award. The containers will display scale models of projects presented for previous editions of the award.
  • Architecture routes. Routes and itineraries will be offered, based around themes such as social housing, engineering, economy and architecture.
  • Conferences. Various debates are planned on topics such as housing and contemporary architecture.

The agenda of activities for Architecture Week is open to any other initiatives which organisations wish to add. “It’s a good starting point for the activity to have future continuity”, explained Daniel Mòdol.