Arquitectura Viva
Friday, September 18, 2020

13th BEAU: architectureof ingenuity

“The Spanish architect is an architect of ingenuity.” These words of Begoña Díaz-Urgorri, director of the Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (BEAU) alongside Juan Domingo Santos and Carmen Moreno, capture the spirit with which the 13th cycle of the exhibition has been gestated, 26 years after the first time. With the large commissions of the Administration come to an end, and with them the public channels through which a good part of Spain’s architecture boom took place, ingenuity is indeed the best weapon in dealing with the context that has arisen in the wake of the persistent crisis, the ‘new normalcy’ that only rewards the fittest and where the reward is necessarily modest. So the current BEAU is much akin to ‘Unfinished,’ the exhibition curated by Iñaqui Carnicero and Carlos Quintáns that landed the Golden Lion in the latest Venice Biennale, and which was coordinated, like this one, by Francisco Mangado.

The new normalcy also explains the award categories, which center more on heritage and transformation than on new builds, broaden the focus to embrace urbanistic and landscaping problems, give a lot of importance to research and dissemination, and acknowledge university work through graduation projects. The result has been ecumenical: awards for 22 buildings but also for 14 research projects and 32 publications (books, magazines, and specialized blogs), and finally 20 graduation projects from different Spanish schools. In total, 89 awards of different nature that try to reflect the diversity of works and approaches that characterizes the profession today, and which, in the case of buildings, can be epitomized by families: domestic projects – House 1014 by H Arquitectes, the Scaffold House by Bosch Capdeferro, Casa Luz by Arquitectura G; interventions on preexisting constructions – the Convent of Santa María de los Reyes y Giles, the Granada School of Architecture by Víctor López Cotelo, the Orchards in Caramoñina by Abalo Alonso; and also the major projects inherited from the previous period, such as the Royal Collections Museum by Mansilla &Tuñón and Madrid Río by the team of Ginés Garrido.

The BEAU exhibition, which will travel around, opened on 19 July at the Palace of Charles V in Granada, in the presence, among others, of Reynaldo Fernández, chairman of the board of patrons of the Alhambra and the Generalife Gardens, Francisco Cuenca, city mayor, and Jordi Ludevid, president of the Spanish Association of Architecture Institutes, besides the coordinator of Spanish biennials, the directors, and some prominent participants of this BEAU edition, including Ángela García de Paredes and Ignacio García Pedrosa.
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