The Cities Connection Project (CCP) is a connector between cities and their architecture, created by architects Nicola Regusci and Xavier Bustos, with the aim of generating synergies between architects, cultural agents, governments and universities among European cities. Swiss city of Zurich, with its strong tradition of new models of cooperative housing, and Barcelona have been chosen for this year’s event.
“The Cities Connection Project: Export Barcelona + Import Zurich”
May 05, 2016 – May 21, 2016
Each event, called Connection, consists firstly of an exhibition in Barcelona featuring guest city projects, followed by a second presentation of Barcelona projects in the guest city. Each new connection will offer a new theme that will always take into account the idiosyncrasies and the cultural and architectural background of the invited city or region.
EXPORT BARCELONA: SOCIAL HOUSING IN URBAN CONTEXT
Barcelona has become a worldwide-recognized brand, in which architecture and urbanism have played a key role. To speak of the “Barcelona Model” means to tell a way of thinking of this very special city. Micro town planning interventions in the public space during de 80’s, later during the Olympic Games in 1992, and following the Forum of Cultures in 2004, were the cornerstones of a very important urban transformation.
The revitalization of the city has provided added value to existing Works of Catalan Modernism. The birth of a Language of their own has led to concrete proposals for public spaces, very committed to the city. There was an evolution from the first “hard” square, the Plaça de Sants, to the Parc Diagonal Mar that culminates today with the recovery of the domestic courts of Barcelona’s Eixample, designed by Ildefons Cerdà.
One of the main elements of the “Barcelona Model” is the quality of residential buildings. The optimization of all types, especially in public housing units, brings together the knowledge inherited from the great architects of the ‘30s to ‘70s as Sert, Bonet, Coderch, Mitjans and Barba Corsini, among others. Several housing projects were built during the years of democracy and have become cultural references, among which we can mention those designed by Bohigas-Martorell-Mackey, Correa-Milà, Nadal, Pascual, Bofill, Viaplana-Piñón, Clotet-Paricio, Torres-Martínez Lapeña, Bonell, Llinàs, Ferrater …
Currently a younger generation of architects has been able to address the issue of new housing programs and, at the same time, sought to respond to the new social demands and urban areas. Many of these projects have the merit of proposing new types and new ways to integrate urban public space, creating new synergies, which during the boom years had been abandoned. For these reasons we show the following housing projects, interesting for their relations with public space and for their contribution to the construction of a Barcelona that is constantly evolving.
IMPORT ZURICH: COOPERATIVE HOUSING, NEW WAYS OF INHABITING
An exhibition celebrated at Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC), presenting 20 exceptional projects built by Zurich architects in the last ten years.
The people of Barcelona had the opportunity to see an apartment block built entirely with a timber structure, designed by Pool Architekten, and discover the innovative urban and typological vision underlying the “Mehr als Wohnen” building complex, with urban planning proposals by two young studios, Duplex and Futurafrosch. Visitors discovered the “Kalkbreite” complex by MüllerSigrist Architekten, where residents are already experimenting with new lifestyles, the use of cars is prohibited and the complex design includes a huge parking zone but only for trams.
To link the theme of this connection to the social housing and mixed usage programme that characterizes the Catalan selection, the Commissioners of the Cities Connection Project, Nicola Regusci and Xavier Bustos, have also selected for the exhibition the Toni-Areal Platform for Education, Culture and Living by EM2N Architekten, an ambitious project that deserves to be known firsthand in Barcelona, as it incorporates district-scale urban spaces in a single building.