NEW YORK, NY, March 6 – Spain is in full flower – architecturally speaking. And New Yorkers can see just what the architectural community has known for the past several years. “On-Site: New Architecture in Spain,” which opened at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) February 12 and runs through May 1, showcases 53 architectural projects including 18 that have been completed within the past eight years. And the number of other works currently under construction throughout Spain is staggering. In almost every region, architects are creating dazzling new museums, spectacular cultural centers, eye-catching hotels, dramatic wineries and state-of-the art airports.
When travelers think of Spain, certain images come to mind. Medieval castles (there are thousands still dotting the countryside), Gothic cathedrals and Romanesque churches, the Moorish and Mudéjar monuments of Andalusia and the modernist style exemplified by Gaudí in Barcelona – all are architectural icons of the country. But ever since 1997 when Frank Gehry put Bilbao on the world culture map with his building for the Guggenheim Museum, cities and towns across Spain have been inviting architects – both Spanish and foreign – to design cultural complexes, renovate waterfronts and revive city centers.
In this new exhibition, Terence Riley, MoMA’s Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, set out to document these recent architectural developments. “These projects range from the single-family house – the universal crucible for radical experimentation – to what was until recently the largest construction site in Europe, the new Barajas Airport Terminals in Madrid,” says Mr. Riley.
The majority of the architects in the exhibition are from Spain, such as Rafael Moneo, Mansilla +Tuñón and Abalos & Herreros of Madrid, Josep Lluís Mateo – MAP Arquitectos of Barcelona and MGM Morales+Giles+Mariscal of Seville. But there’s also a pantheon of modern architects currently working there including Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Toyo Ito, Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel, Dominique Perrault and Richard Rogers.
And it’s not only established architects who are represented, but many younger professionals have won important commissions. Francisco Leiva Ivorra and Marta García, the youngest in the show, have designed a thalassotherapy complex (competition design) with spa and hotel in Gijón modeled after a salamander curled up in the sun. Enric Ruiz-Geli’s design for the Hotel Habitat outside Barcelona will literally glow in the dark, courtesy of a web of 5,000 LEDs powered by solar cells that drapes over the building like a fishnet. Set to open in September is Frank Gehry’s swirl of titanium ribbons housing the hotel and restaurant of the Marqués de Riscal Winery. Benedetta Tagliabue and the late Enric Miralles covered the neo-classical Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona with an undulating tile roof in bright pink, green and blue.
Estudio Arquitectura Campo Baeza is planning the Museum of Memory of Andalusia in Granada – designed to communicate messages for the new millennium with a façade sporting a huge plasma screen. Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron was chosen as the firm for the City of Flamenco incorporating a dance school, museum, auditorium and research center in Jerez de la Frontera. Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA are enclosing Valencia’s modern art museum, IVAM in a large white shell. In Cartagena in the region of Murcia, the National Museum of Marine Archaeology, by Guillermo Vazquez Consuegra, is part of a waterfront revitalization and will include an underwater exhibition space. In Santander, Luis M. Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón are creating the Museum of Cantabria with jagged concrete shafts that trace the mountains behind it.
And inaugurated this month, Madrid’s sleek new Barajas Airport Terminal Four by Richard Rogers Partnership and Estudio Lamela will double its capacity to 70 million passengers.
“We are pleased that MoMA chose to highlight some of our wonderful contemporary architecture and we hope it encourages Americans to visit Spain this year to see for themselves,” says Javier Piñanes, director of the Tourist Office of Spain in New York.” In the past few years, Spain has been gaining a reputation as an international center for design and innovation. The country is experiencing an unprecedented flowering of architecture in almost every area – tourism, cultural life and transportation,” Mr. Piñanes explains.
The exhibition is the fourth in a series of five exhibitions made possible by The Lily Auchincloss Fund for Contemporary Architecture and is also made possible by a generous grant from Enerfin Enervento, SA. Major support is provided by PromoMadrid S.A., Madrid Regional Ministry of Economy and Technological Innovation. Additional funding is provided by Arcelor, by the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, by MPG [Media Planning Group], by The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and by The Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York. The accompanying publication is made possible by Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown.
“On-Site: New Architecture in Spain” runs through May 1, 2006. The Museum of Modern Art is located at 11 West 53rd Street, New York. Call: 212-708-9400 or go to www.moma.org. The museum is open Wednesdays through Mondays, 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM and Fridays 10:30 AM to 8:00 PM. Adult admission is $20. Seniors over 65 pay $16 and full time students pay $12. Children 16 and under are admitted free of charge.
Admission is free for all visitors during Target Free Friday Nights.
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