Guallart Architects


Barcelona. Spain 2003

MACBA Exhibition

In 2003 we carried out a study called HyperCatalunya, which sought to identify the potentialities of Catalonia as city. The project was undertaken in conjunction with specialists in the different strata of information that configure the territory (nodes, networks and environments) with the aim of discovering new categories of projects with which to address the habitability of a territory in the process of urbanization.
If our cities have grown over the centuries without acknowledging any limit to their growth, in the last forty years Paris and London—and Barcelona to a lesser degree—have discovered that there is no longer any vacant land on which to expand. Our research revealed that if the accelerating urbanization of Catalonia continued at the present rate there would be no more land to build on anywhere in the country by 2375.
Projects that once seemed infinitely extended in time eventually reach completion: Barcelona’s Eixample ‘new town’ was built in 60 years, and the metropolitan area in 80. This being so, there should be a plan to design, occupy and manage ever larger territories — cities, countries and continents.

Why should our cities, including even those areas most deficient in urban structures, be conserved as they are today? What percentage of the beauty of a city that attracts tourists from around the world are we willing to gamble in transforming it, in exchange for what percentage of increased efficiency and capacity to attract contemporary global functions into our city centres? Constructing the city on itself must be part of a new strategic project, willing to learn from the founding geographic and environmental values of the city. The material from which our cities are constructed can no longer be the same in an era in which there is no longer a virgin natural environment from which to extract raw materials.
We therefore consider that inhabiting the territory should be based on a process of landscape engineering, a hybridizing of natural and artificial structures to create new materialities. Buildings are thus more an eruption of a preformative magma capable of being inhabited than an inert structure that needs to draw energy from its environment to survive. If architecture is landscape, buildings are mountains


Exhibition Date: 2003
Client: Generalitat de Catalunya, Institut Català del Sòl
Architecture: Guallart Architects
Main architects: Vicente Guallart, María Díaz, Lucas Cappelli
Collaborators: Leonardo Novelo, Lucas Jagodnik, Horacio Suaya, Sonia Sosa, Diego Dragotto, Carla Molinari
3D images: Tobias Laarman, Lucas Cappelli
Images: Laura Cantarella
IaaC Research: Luis Falcón, Ivan Llach, Raquel Palacios, Marina Guasch
Crystallographic Advisor: Albert Soler