Barcelona celebrates world-renowned architect Miralles
A show in Arts Santa Mònica commemorates Miralles, who designed Scottish parliament among other iconic sites around the world
A series of exhibitions have come to Barcelona to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the death of Enric Miralles, one of the most iconic Catalan architects of last century.
The ‘MIRALLES’ program of events run by the Fundació Enric Miralles in collaboration with Barcelona City Council and the Catalan government, are dedicated to demonstrating the architect’s legacy in Catalonia, its capital and worldwide.
The focus is broad in its attempt to address all facets of his life, both personal and professional. However, it’s this wide and complete approach which actually offers up a more honest and detailed tribute to the famous architect’s life and work.
‘MIRALLES: Photos & Collages’ at the Arts Santa Mònica gallery in Barcelona is one of these special showcases to see this spring. The emphasis is not very technical, and even less ‘architectural’, alternatively focusing on the photographic documentation of Miralles’ life and work.
The room is overwhelmed by photographs and collages taken directly from his private archives. Whilst some of the colleges on display clearly reflect his artistic ideas and ambitions, some feel powerfully personal: for instance, people, as well as places, are frequently featured in his pictures, seemingly captured for his own private reflection rather than artistic inspiration.
Unlike a lot of exhibitions dedicated to a figure’s personal life or character, there aren’t many words or long descriptions to explain or contextualize the work on display. As a result, the visitor’s attention is drawn to the visual depictions of his life, upcycled into creative collages which offer a unique way into understanding his inventive process.
The exhibition is open from April 15 to June 30, 2021.
The ‘MIRALLES’ program also brings other exhibitions to Barcelona, such as ‘MIRALLES. A quarts de quatre…’, being shown at Barcelona’s History Museum from April 15 to July 4, 2021.
The exhibition also includes work from his archives, with its focus on his four major architectural projects: the Igualada cemetery, Santa Caterina market, Scottish Parliament building and the Huesca Sports Complex.
Miralles’ life and work
Indeed, Miralles was responsible for dozens of projects worldwide, and it was one of his first ones, the Igualada cemetery, in central Catalonia, the one that began to build his international reputation in 1984.
He went on to teach in some of the world’s most renowned universities, such as Harvard, Columbia, the Architectural Association in London, the Städleschule in Frankfurt and Barcelona’s Architecture Superior School.
In parallel, he continued with his projects, which included the archery venue for the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, the Youth Music School in Hamburg and the National Library in Tokyo.
During his life, he developed some of his works together with his first wife, Carme Pinós, or after their divorce in 1991, with his second one, Benedetta Tagliabue, who is the director of the Enric Miralles foundation.
Yet in 2000, at only 45, he died prematurely after a brain tumor, as some of his most ambitious projects were only planned or under construction, such as the Scottish Parliament building, Utrecht’s town hall in The Netherlands, Venice's Architecture School, the Santa Caterina market in Barcelona and the Gas Natural HQs in the Catalan capital.
Miralles was buried in the Igualada cemetery, which had been key to his success only 16 years before.