The Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (BEAU) is being shown in the Arqueria Nuevos Ministerios, in Madrid, Spain. The XIII BEAU, entitled Alternativas / Alternatives, has traveled to United States, France, Germany, Japan and Sweden. The exhibition, which also includes an additional 20 shortlisted works, features large-scale image displays and audiovisual commentary about the winning projects, as well as drawing reproductions and architectural models.
Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanisn (BEAU)
February 8 – April 15, 2018
Exhibition hall “Arqueria Nuevos Ministerios”
Paseo de la Castellana 67,
Many of the works presented, under the categories of Heritage, Planning and Innovation, employ sustainable practices and rely on local materials. The projects – which vary from small-scale works, such as residential homes, to mid-size interventions, such as schools and public parks – showcase the ability of Spain’s architects to formulate innovative solutions with both a limited budget and modest resources.
“The economic crisis was a critical time for our country’s architecture and we saw a halt in new construction but enormous growth for restoration work,” said Francisco Mangado, Spain’s General Coordinator of Biennals, who oversaw the curation of Alternativas / Alternatives and is a practicing architect. “Our goal of bringing the Biennial to The Cooper Union and eventually these other countries is to make Spanish architecture – with its humble yet sensitive forms and ingenious design – open to the world,” he said on the occasion of the exhibition’s opening in the Cooper Union.
The XIII BEAU’s selection showcases a breadth of talent from across Spain, not just its biggest cities. It also highlights some of the country’s practices on the rise. In addition to projects by studios such as Arquitectura-G and H Arquitectes, much of the work included in Alternativas / Alternatives represents Spain’s up-and-coming architects and studios such as Abalo Alonso Arquitectos, Victor López Cotelo, Olalquiaga Arquitectos and more.
“The current generation of Spanish architects is full of optimism for the discipline and although recent austerity and frugality has affected the work, every project has become an opportunity for creative architecture,” says Begoña Díaz-Urgorri, BEAU Co-Director. In addition, Juan Domingo Santos and Carmen Moreno Alvarez, architects and also Co-Directors of the XIII BEAU, say “we highlight the presence of a young generation of architects who stand out with interesting proposals, for which the crisis is not a problem but an incentive and encouragement to provide qualified responses that improve our places of life.”
And that creativity is being noticed internationally. Recently the Spanish Pavilion won the Golden Lion Prize at the 2016 Venice Biennale, the highest honor given at the Biennale. Seventy percent of that award-winning exhibition will be on view as part of Alternativas / Alternatives at Centro Niemeyer.
“Contemporary Spanish architecture’s significance cannot be ignored, and this exhibition brings together several critical qualities of its discipline that converge on the Iberian Peninsula,” said Nader Tehrani, Dean of Cooper’s The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, on the occasion of the exhibition’s visit to the Cooper Union. “Coming from a pedagogical context that is much more restrained than that of the United States and an economy that has yet to recover, it is important for American audiences to have an opportunity to see the work of this next generation since it demonstrates how great inventiveness emerges from a sense of scarcity and significant constraints, but in combination with a disciplined and ambitious imagination.”
The XIII BEAU originally opened in July 2016 at the Palace of Charles V of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain before traveling to New York City. The exhibition was curated by BEAU Co-Directors and jury members Begoña Díaz-Urgorri, Juan Domingo Santos and Carmen Moreno Álvarez, and overseen by Francisco Mangado, Spain’s General Coordinator of Biennales.
ABOUT THE SPANISH BIENNIAL OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM
Over the last 26 years the Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (BEAU) has been offering a look at the tendencies in Spanish architecture and urbanism, emphasizing not only rehabilitation, reform and promotion projects from different categories, but also the research and development processes done in Spain on techniques, products and new applied technology in architecture. In addition, the Biennial recognizes the talent of young architects who join the labor market highlighting the most emblematic Final Thesis Projects.
Since its first edition of the Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism has integrated a set of specifically related to architecture, activities organized by the various collaborating institutions, a traveling exhibition that includes in each of its editions those works whose qualities have been worthy of being finalists in the Biennial and the prizes in each of their categories. The Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism is conceived not only as an event but as an open process during the two years covered by its corresponding term.