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Catalan contemporary architecture arrives in Venice for Biennale Exhibition

Promising Catalan architect Josep Alegre Torrents has presented his 'Arquitectures Empeltades' project to the 14th International Architecture Exhbition held at the Venice Biennale, sponsored by the Ramon Llull Institute, the public body promoting Catalan culture abroad. "We want to show an attitude, a way of working to make the architecture relate and work with existing elements" explained Torrents, who said he wanted "to show the ways of doing things in Catalonia." It is the second time that Catalonia is participating in the Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. The current edition of this prestigious exhibition is entitled Fundamentals and is directed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. It will be open to the public from June 7 through to November 23, 2014.

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06 June 2014 09:54 PM

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ACN

Venice (ACN) - The 'Arquitectures Empeltades' or 'grafted Architecture' curated by Josep Alegre Torrents was presented  on Thursday at the 14th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition. This Catalan showcase is sponsored by the Institut Ramon Llull, the public body promoting Catalan language anf culture abroad. "We want to show an attitude, a way of working to make the architecture relate and work with existing elements," explained Torrents, who said he wanted "to show the ways of doing things in Catalonia." The starting point of Torrent's exhibition is the renovation of the House Bofarull (1913-1933), one of the major works of Josep Maria Jujol (1879-1949), who was one of Antoni Gaudí's pupils. The exhibition's focus then shifts to contemporary architecture existing in Catalonia. It is the second time Catalonia is participating in the Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.  The Ramon Llull Institute (IRL) presents the best of Catalonian architecture in its 'Eventi Collaterali' at the exhibition. The IRL first participated in in the Biennale in 2012 with the 'Vogadors / Architectural Rowers ', which was curated by Jordi Badia Felix Arranz.


The 14th International Architecture Exhibition, entitled Fundamentals, is directed by the prestigious Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. It is organised within the Biennale di Venezia and is chaired by Paolo Baratta. The Architecture Exhibition will be open to the public from June 7 through to November 23, 2014.

The Catalan proposal by a publically elected jury, convened by the Ramon Llull Institute, is to showcase the obvious changes taking place in contemporary architecture and display examples of the Catalan mode of updating a living tradition, and projecting it into the future. In this sense, Torrents said the exhibition includes "contemporary, modern, and rich shades" of architecture, "from the architects themselves who have been through the designing process." The commissioner added "it is a look into the rich and diverse understanding of architecture as something intimately linked to landscape and people."

The starting point is Josep Maria Jujol, who Torrents defines as an architect who is: "unclassifiable, a free spirit who does not obey fashions or trends or isms." Jujol was one of Gaudí's pupils, but he followed his own style. Among the 16 projects included in the exhibition, which can be visited within Catalonia's pavilion in the Biennale, there are pictures, videos or models of individual buildings, schools, museums, concert halls and public spaces. The Can Framis Museum in Barcelona, \u200B\u200B Ripoll's  old converted theatre of La Lira (in the pre-Pyrenees area), a tower of 94 housing units in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat (in Greater Barcelona), or Badalona's Llacuna Secondary School located in an old factory (also next to Barcelona municipality) are some examples.

The planning and design process is displayed on panels and tables, and also includes the concept of 'perception' because "the finishing touch to these buildings is once they are used." To this end, cameras are installed in front of four selected buildings. To complete the idea of \u200B\u200B'perception', four artists in the field of performing arts, such as Catalan actor Sergi Lopez, are asked to perform 'an action of art' within the buildings.

A sample "that illuminates the future of architecture"

The director of the Ramon Llull Institute, Alex Susanna, said that the difference they make is very positive. "This is a project capable of generating enthusiasm and consensus, and it promotes a sector that has suffered in the crisis." Susanna said that the exhibition "illuminates the future of what architecture will be in the next few years and what values it will carry."

For his part, the Catalan Minister of Culture, Ferran Mascarell, stressed that the exhibition shows that "Catalan architecture has a very noticeable and solid presence at the Biennale; both in terms of its presence in the Catalan pavilion, but also in the context of the Spanish pavilion and in many other events, where Catalan names are appearing." In short, he stressed that the exhibition reflects the "historical force" of Catalan architecture. Mascarell also noted that Catalonia "wants to belong at the heart of what happens at the Venice Biennale." Mascarell stressed that the idea is to be back for the third time and have its presence grow.

The Catalan Minister of Planning and Sustainability, Santi Vila, pointed out that the world of architecture has a cultural vocation, but also has a dimension of economic activity and is linked to industry.

Eventi Collateralli

As in 2012, Catalan participation was limited to within the 'Eventi Collaterali' of the Bienalli, that is outside the space reserved for State pavillions. The project for the Catalan Architecture Biennale in Venice this year has a budget of approximately €478,000. The figure is quite close to the amount allocated in the past edition, and this was made possible by the inclusion in the project of the Catalan Ministry of Planning and Sustainability, with a donation of €230,000 to this budget. The rest of the funds are from the IRL, ie the Catalan Ministry of Culture .

Catalan presence

Regarding the Catalan presence at the Biennale, besides the project curated by Josep Torrent at the Catalan Pavilion, in the Spanish pavilion there will be Josep Llinàs. In addition to the Time Space Existence, at the Palazzo Bembo, there will be an exhibition organized by the Global Affairs Foundation, which includes works by Ricardo Bofill , Josep Ferrando and ZEST architecture. The Sorigué Foundation will present the 'Planta' architecture, selected by architect Rem Koolhas of the Conservatory of 'Benedetto Marcello' Music. The exhibition ' Made in Europe ' has been organized by the Mies Ven der Rohe Foundation, the Creative Europe program of the European Commission and Eva Franch, the Catalan Director of Storefront Space NY, who is the Curator of the American pavilion.

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  • The Catalan pavilion at Venice's Biennale Architecture Exhibition (by P. Francesch)

  • The Catalan architecture exhibition is organised by the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL)

  • The Catalan pavilion at Venice's Biennale Architecture Exhibition (by P. Francesch)
  • The Catalan architecture exhibition is organised by the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL)