Throughout 2014, three major New York institutions – the AIA New York Chapter | Center for Architecture, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Spitzer School of Architecture at City College – will be hosting exhibitions and programs that will celebrate Catalan architecture in New York City. These events serve as the foundation for “Barcelona-New York City Urban Bridge 2014: A Year of Catalan Architecture in New York.”
Defined by their grids and their waterfronts, Barcelona and New York are also distinguished by the passionate devotion of their dwellers to the life of the city.
When Barcelona natives arrive in New York they feel at home immediately. New Yorkers feel the same way in Barcelona. The two cities share an imprint, a spirit, an unmistakable aesthetic, and a particular quality of light. And their citizens share a passion for place.
One thing they have in common is their characteristic streetscapes. If you were to be set down, blindfolded, in either city, on removal of the blindfold there would be no question of where you were standing. But their undeniable bond goes beyond their waterfronts, their grids, and their civic spirit. It is a love affair: New Yorkers love Barcelona; Barcelonans love New York.
It is time to build a bridge between them. An urban bridge, by definition. To celebrate the shared values of two cities linked by their enterprise, their diversity, and their distinctive urban configurations.
In 2014, this link will take on new and literal meaning, at three major New York institutions: the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), the Center for Architecture – AIA New York Chapter, and the City College of New York Spitzer School of Architecture (CCNY).
Museum of the City of New York
Rafael Guastavino, whose signature tile and mortar structures abound in New York—the Oyster Bar, the 59th Street Bridge, and the Municipal Building to name just a few—came to New York via Valencia and Barcelona and left his mark on the city with close to 250 tile and mortar structures. The Museum of the City of New York has greatly expanded the exhibition Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile, curated by John Ochsendorf in Boston and Washington, D.C., to highlight the special relationship of Rafael Guastavino and son with their adoptive city.
Center for Architecture-AIA New York Chapter
In keeping with its 2014 theme, Civic Spirit: Civic Vision, the Center for Architecture – AIA New York Chapter is presenting Polis: 7 Lessons from the European Prize for Urban Public Space, a retrospective from the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB). The CCCB embodies Barcelona’s commitment to finding creative global answers to urban questions. Polis will show New Yorkers European solutions to a broad range of urban conditions, grouped under seven headings: periphery, complexity, voids, water, mobility, memory and democracy.
City College of New York Spitzer School of Architecture
Finally, in Fall 2014, the City College of New York Spitzer School of Architecture will host the definitive exhibition on Antoni Gaudí’s most representative construction, the Church of the Sagrada Família untitled Gaudi’s unfinished Masterpiece: La Sagrada Familia. Space, Time and Site. This unparalleled religious structure, which Gaudí began in 1883, renders an intricate symbolic universe through a complex collaboration of stonecutters, sculptors, ironworkers, tileworkers, and other craftsmen on an architectural project that has captured the world’s imagination. The show at CCNY will highlight not only the imprint of generations of artisans, but the use of the most advanced 21st century technology to perfect the neo-Gothic interior.
The BCN-NYC Urban Bridge is an initiative of the Center for Architecture – AIA New York Chapter in collaboration with the Department of Urban Habitat of the Barcelona City Hall. This ongoing partnership will focus on Barcelona and New York projects and practices to shed light on the evolving issues facing architects and urbanists.
In the inaugural year of this BCN-NYC Urban Bridge, the focus will be on 2014 as the Year of Catalan Architecture in New York. In coming years, such topics as the urban facets of the Mediterranean Diet—markets as the fulcrums of neighborhoods, local production, green distribution, conservation, rain-fed agriculture—, affordable and sustainable housing, et al., will be highlighted.
The BCN-NYC Urban Bridge—2014 Year of Catalan Architecture will include a series of public programs jointly organized by the three local host institutions, all of which appear in the calendar on this site. Additional events with partner organizations will be highlighted throughout the year.
This celebration of Catalan Architecture in New York has the support in Barcelona of the Barcelona City Hall Department of Urban Habitat, the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT), the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation. In New York it is supported by the Museum of the City of New York, the Center for Architecture-AIANY, the City College of New York Spitzer School of Architecture, and the Farragut Fund for Catalan Culture in the U.S.