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Architect Enric Miralles' creative universe on display in new exhibition in Barcelona

Enric Miralles was an internationally renowned Catalan architect who died prematurely at the age of 45. His studio EMBT Architects, founded in 1993 with his wife Benedetta Tagliabue, created many globally recognised projects, such as the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh and Igualada’s Cemetery. On Monday, the Fundació Enric Miralles launched the exhibition 'Urban regeneration 1992-2022. Enric Miralles-EMBT projects for urban spaces', curated by Karl Unglaub. The show – held in the foundation's palace in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter – provides a glimpse into the Catalan architect's universe, with a focus on his original models, sketches, notes and photographs, most of which are on display to the public for the first time. The foundation also announced that it has scheduled a second exhibition on Miralles' furniture design at the 15th century Casavells Palace, in the Province of Girona, and is planning a third one at MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum) for 2016.

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25 May 2015 09:34 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Enric Miralles was an internationally renowned Catalan architect who died prematurely at the age of 45. His studio 'EMBT Architects' (founded in 1993 with his wife Benedetta Tagliabue) created many globally recognised projects, such as the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh and Igualada’s Cemetery. On Monday, the Fundació Enric Miralles launched the exhibition 'Urban regeneration 1992-2022. Enric Miralles-EMBT projects for urban spaces', curated by Karl Unglaub. The show – held in the foundation's palace in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter - explores the Catalan architect's creative universe, displaying his original models, sketches, notes and photographs, most of which are on display to the public for the first time. The foundation also announced that it has scheduled a second exhibition on Miralles' furniture design at the 15th century Casavells Palace, in the Province of Girona, and is planning a third one at MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum) for 2016.


"I always said to Enric Miralles 'You are an inventor!' and he was pleased about this", writes Benedetta Tagliabue on the Foundation's website. "But Enric was more than an inventor, he was a strategist, he was delicate, educated, and generous. In fact, he had the combined complexity of a great architect and a magnificent soul", she concludes.

The exhibition is divided into two parts, separating Land- and Water-based projects

On Monday, the foundation dedicated to one of Barcelona's most famous 20th century architects opened its archives to the public, with an exhibition divided into two parts. The first part includes projects by EMBT categorised as 'Areas of Land ', some of which were never realised. Among them are: Utrecht town hall rehabilitation (Netherlands); Santa Caterina Market renovation (Barcelona); the Colours Park in Mollet del Vallès (Barcelona); Linguamón – House of Languages in Can Ricart (Barcelona); and Clichy Montfermeil metro station (Paris).

On the other hand, the projects hosted in the second section are labelled 'Areas of Water'. These include: the Old Port in Bremerhaven (Germany); the Hafencity Public Space in Hamburg (Germany); the Yeouido Riverside Park (South Korea); and Orange County Great Park (United States).

"It's like opening a magic box," stated Karl Unglaub, curator of the exhibition, highlighting the "luxury" of following the Catalan architect's creative process and the major steps in the study of his work which have been taken in the 15 years since his death.

Other initiatives include a second exhibition, conferences and a postgraduate diploma

A second exhibition – titled 'Furniture for Enric Miralles' – has been organised on the architect's furniture design work, and is to be held at Palau de Casavells, in the Province of Girona. Benedetta Tagliabue underlined that while ‘Urban regeneration 1992-2022. EMBT-Enric Miralles projects for urban spaces’ is about a broad issue, the second is more concentrated, being dedicated to a specific theme.

The Fundació Enric Miralles' 2015 programme also includes a series of lectures on urban regeneration. The initiative – beginning on 7 May and on until October – foresees the participation of numerous experts, starting with journalist Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, who will give a presentation on the late Catalan architect's work. Among the other speakers are: Josep Quetglas, Carme Ribas, Richard Rogers and Jean Nouvel.

In September, a 10-week postgraduate diploma entitled 'Social Urban Regeneration' will begin, organised by the Fundació Enric Miralles in partnership with Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Based on the way of thinking and working of Enric Miralles, the course will aim to provide students with specialised knowledge on sustainable integrated urbanism.

The role of the foundation is to preserve the legacy of the late Catalan architect

The Fundació Enric Miralles – founded in 2011 – is responsible for the custody and management of the legacy of the architect Enric Miralles. Its archives contain work created with Benedetta Tagliabue and their many collaborators, including all project drawings, sketches, notes, photographs, correspondence and more than 800 original models. The archive is not openly accessible by the public, but can be accessed for research purposes via appointment.

This archive gives the public an insight into Miralles' unique intellectual and architectonic design process. In addition, the foundation is an open space in which architects and students are invited to participate in residence programmes, workshops, courses, conferences, lectures, and international exchanges.

Tagliabue explained that its essence lies in one of Miralles' main feature, specifically "his desire to try, advance and innovate".

Miralles: an internationally renowned artist and university professor

Born in 1955 in the Catalan capital, Enric Miralles studied at the School of Architecture of Barcelona ETSAB until 1974. Later on, he was a visiting Fulbright professor at Columbia University during the period 1980-1981 and received a PhD with a doctoral thesis titled 'The things seen to the left and to the right (without glasses)'.

In his first creative period with fellow architect Carme Pinos, he created some of his most poetic works, such as the Igualada Cemetery (in Central Catalonia).

In 1993, Miralles founded EMBT with his wife, architect Benedetta Tagliabue. Together they produced many magnificent projects, such as the renovation of Barcelona’s Santa Caterina Market, and what many consider to be his magnum opus: the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh.

Miralles was a professor at the School of Architecture of Barcelona (ETSAB) with the Department of Architecture (1996), the Director and Professor of lectures at the Städelschule in Frankfurt-am-Main (1990), and a professor at Harvard University, in the Kenzo Tange Chair (1992). He was also a visiting professor and lecturer at several universities in the United States, Germany, UK, Italy, The Netherlands, and a member of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

Among other awards, in 1995 he received Spain’s National Architecture Prize, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, and in 1996 the 'Golden Lion' at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Considered a highly inventive architect, Enric is defined as the enfant terrible of Spanish and Catalan architecture. Sadly, his prolific career and practice was cut short at its peak, when he passed away in July 2000 in Sant Feliu de Codines, having suffered  a brain tumour.

"Enric Miralles was an author of sweeping buildings, a genuine original and derived language with a deep respect for the place", states the foundation's website.

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  • The exhibition about Catalan architect Enric Miralles' work (by V. Gumà)

  • The exhibition about Catalan architect Enric Miralles' work (by V. Gumà)

  • The exhibition about Catalan architect Enric Miralles' work (by V. Gumà)
  • The exhibition about Catalan architect Enric Miralles' work (by V. Gumà)