If Barcelona were a person, it would be a beautiful, confident woman, one of those who never walks the street without making sure they look perfect. Wearing elegant but indiscrete clothing, she was ahead of her time when she was young and now she has grown with an exquisite taste for little details. She has a perverse side that she is not afraid to show, a strong personality, although a bit elitist. Always proud of her Catalan blood and feeling closer to Europe than the rest of her country, she will seduce you without letting you know.
And maybe you won’t remember what she said, you won’t remember what she did but when you leave her, wherever you are, you will always remember how she made you feel. “Barcelona m’enamora”. Barcelona makes you feel in love.
The world knew about Barcelona when city held the Olympics in 1992. The Catalan culture, its beaches and its architecture attract almost 4 million visitors a year. Things have changed a lot since then. Today we live in a society where information is more available than ever, but deep reflection is absent. We live in a society where relationships are based on connections rather than communication, where the viral is above the vital, where consequence is above consciousness, where the new is more exciting than the good.
Architecture doesn’t escape that shallowness. A walk through any college is enough to see many buildings that seem cool at a first sight but don’t withstand any second look, let alone a critical analysis. The problem is not on the unconscious mistake or an incomplete design – that is why school exists – but on the alarming lack of critical thinking. The empty speech, the abuse of the digital, the unjustified forms, the given airs.
This involution that started a while ago is embedded today in the Spanish society, in a time of economic and spiritual crisis. However, Barcelona still stands out as an important international center for culture and art, and this never-ending conversation between the city momentum and its social network is constantly preparing for the next big challenge.
Catalan architect J.A. Coderch wrote that “Geniuses are not what we need now”, a calling for the pursuit of the traditional values, the search of the lost architecture…it could be a futile effort, but any small chance of success makes the effort worthwhile. Hey, and if genius appears between rigor and hard work, let’s applaud it, but a model based primarily on personal splendor is unsustainable.
Barcelona’s young architects protect this sensitivity, deeply ingrained in our Mediterranean blood. Because of all this, Barcelona is the perfect scenario to launch the international project of 3NTA.
Barcelona m’enamora, i a tu?