Arquitectura Viva
Monday, July 13, 2020

Kenneth Frampton: “Urban development in recent Spain has been...

In an interview with Kenneth Frampton, published in the latest issue of the German magazine Bauwelt, the British architect and critic makes some statements about the urban growth model followed in Spain in the past years which, to say the least, contradict the pessimism that has become canonical. Asked for his opinion on the Olympic Games held last year in London, and on how events of this kind bear upon the evolution of cities, Frampton compares European with American urban planning, emphasizing his view that, barring exceptions, urban debate in the true sense of the term is inexistent in the United States. In this context he refers to the Barcelona Olympics as a model of good management and the result of a clear urbanistic approach. “In Barcelona,” says Frampton, “literally a new city was created, especially when compared to what it had been in the 1970s and 1980s. I can’t think of any other European city that, thanks to such well organized Oympic projects, has transformed so radically”. When the interviewer, Kaye Geipel , reminds Frampton about the “profound crisis” that is “momentarily” besetting Spain, to a large extent owing to “real estate speculation”, Frampton’s answer is that the urban growth models applied in our country from 1990 on have been “exemplary” not only in Barcelona, but also in the “meseta and provincial cities”, where “the middle class played a very important role”, knowing to place stakes on ‘urban quality” in operations carried out through a “good choice of architects”. Frampton acknowledged how his thinking on the city has been influenced in the past years by the recently demised Manuel de Solà-Morales, adding that “it is hard to find comparable examples of the influence of the middle class in the development of cities” and concluding that “urban culture in Spain is truly impressive.” (Photo: Kaye Geipel)

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