Barcelona International Studio: Summer 2011
Adrian Luchini, Raymond E. Maritz Professor
Mariona Benedito, Lecturer Abroad
Elena Cánovas, Lecturer Abroad
The project for this studio is the design of the Bestiari Foundation, a public building to host the collection of Giants, Beasts, and Bigheaded figures of Ciutat Vella. The Giants have been part of Catalan tradition for centuries. In the beginning, they consisted of men walking on stilts who sought to attract crowds, teaching sacred scenes as part of the Corpus Christi processions. Nowadays, they consist of larger-than-life figures carried on stretchers that support their weight. Catalonia is currently home to an estimated 3,000 Giants organized in more than 300 groups that animate the streets during various festivities.
In developing design proposals, students must ask themselves what the Giants would see while wandering through the streets of the Gothic Quarter. The recreation of their gaze acknowledges these are not static sculptures but actual living components of the city experience. Students’ own experiences with the site—what their senses register as well as the factual data of the site’s dimensions—provide inspiration for their projects.
The task of this studio is to engage the architecture of the project with the architecture of the city. Proposals must define complex and diverse indoor and outdoors spaces, appropriate to their relationship between different uses, spaces, and scales. The program includes both neighborhood-scale and city-scale activities. The main areas include a hall linking the public exterior space with activities inside the foundation; an exhibition area for presentation of the traditional Giants; an educational area for seminars and workshops; and outdoor space for events. The urban area not occupied by the building must be considered as part of the proposal and be defined as well as the rest of the project.