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What is the importance of Architectural Tourism?
As a photographer I’m thinking it is really important to see the inside of the building and experience it in real life. So, I think the most important thing is that you cannot really know one building when you don’t go really there; because, through the pictures you’re having an idea, which is more related to the work of the photographer maybe than the building itself, sometimes. For me that I’m working on this filed, I know that it’s not the same thing. The important thing about traveling is that you see the things in reality and you have the real experience of architecture.
What is the importance of traveling, especially for Architects and humans in general?
I remember when I was on Erasmus, it wasn’t my first travel because I’ve always traveled, but to live abroad for a certain time it allows you to see yourself depending only on your own, not on your context. When you’re always on the same space you don’t know if you are who you are because of the environment or because of who you are. When you travel and see other things you can also discover yourself. So, I believe the important thing is that to know yourself better, to know where you belong and all these things it’s important to have some comparison to other spaces, cultures etc.
What do you think is the added value that architecture creates within a city?
Well, here in Barcelona we have a lot of examples of that. A lot of people visit the city to see mainly the architecture, Gaudi, the buildings from the Olympic Games and all the new buildings. We could say that it’s not only architecturally that we have more value but also economically, it generates lots of positive dynamics in a city, it places the city in the map of the world, it gives work to the architects… It is also a thing that lasts for many years. Doing good architecture in a city it means that the city is going to have a good urban space feeling sent to the people who are there.
What is the importance of Architectural events (like WAF that is hosting us here) worldwide? What are the profits for a city holding such kind of major events?
I don’t really agree with such kind of events. I don’t think that architecture is going to get improved with this kind of things. I don’t know if really good architects are influenced by this kind of things. That may be interesting for people who want to share their own projects and maybe for people that want to see what other people consider popular at this moment. But I really think it’s more of a marketing thing than something related to real architecture. Maybe, the problem is that actually the money is going to this kind of architects, so if you want to build you have to be related with this kind of things. But real architecture is related with deep thoughts and a lot of reflection and I don’t think that this kind of people is really comfortable at this kind of events. I don’t know, they cannot be bad but I don’t know if they’re really interesting for architecture.
At the end, can you please provide your personal proposal for 10 buildings (constructed and visitable) which you think as the most important worldwide that someone must visit anyway?
With Enrique Miralles, one of my favorite buildings is the Cemetery of Igua Lava; I don’t know if you know this project, but it’s really nice. In fact now it’s a very special moment, I don’t know if with the crisis they’re going to rebuild it because they were thinking of finishing it, but now it’s not finished, so it’s like a big sculpture, a concrete sculpture in the landscape which is really nice. He is also buried there, so I get a very special thing when I go there. I really like this building. I really like monolithic buildings. Sometimes architecture is not only forming good architects but also by good situations.
There’s a building in Bordeaux which is an old submarine base where the Nazis built their submarines. It’s a building made of concrete, it’s huge, they can’t demolish it because it’s too big, it’s not restored, so it’s like it’s falling apart. Inside there are really big spaces where the water enters. It’s really one of the buildings that I love.
Also, we can talk about La Tourette, which influenced Miralles a lot as well. I really like this building. Here in Barcelona we have the Mies Van de Rohe Pavilion, which is kind of nice, the way that the spaces mix. There is a really good book about it from Juiseppe Kerglass, who is one of the teachers here in Barcelona. I really like the architecture without architects.
There’s this book, I forget who wrote it, “Architecture without Architects”. When I traveled to Morocco I found Kasbahs, cities that are built as if they were a building. It’s amazing the spaces that are created, this continuity of things that open up, things to the sides… Also from Bordeaux, this house from Lacatonie Vassal, which has the trees inside, it’s an amazing space. I had the chance to pass some days there and it’s not only the place itself but also that they kept the best way to stay there. In the United States there are some things also.
Last year I was in Chicago and I really loved this building where there are two towers, the Marina I think it’s called, they have the parking lots inside the building, on the bottom and on the top there are apartments. That’s nice; it’s kind of brutal architecture, which I like. The Thermal Bath in Vals by Zumthor, I think that’s really amazing as well.