Francesc Català-Roca, headquarters of the Gustavo Gili publishing house, 1961

A tour of the city's 'hard lines'

The former headquarters of the Gustavo Gili publishing house opens its doors to an exhibition showing 29 architectural projects that gave priority to construction problems over aesthetic issues.

From 3 February, the former headquarters of the Gustavo Gili publishing house (Rouselló, 87) will be hosting the exhibition Hard lines. Buildings, design and urban planning in Barcelona (1949-1974), curated by Valentín Roma and co-produced by La Virreina Centre de la Imatge and the Centre Obert d’Arquitectura del Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC). The exhibition, on show until 2 July, brings together 555 materials from the COAC archive: 89 period plans, 249 vintage photographs, 43 original drawings, 25 books and 149 documents (magazines, diaries, leaflets, work presentations, personal correspondence, etc.).

The title of the exhibition is taken from an article published in 1985 by Carles Martí and Xavier Monteys in the magazine 2C. They described the work of a group of architects, including Hannes Meyer, Hans Wittwer and Mart Stam, who in the 1930s prioritised construction problems over aesthetic justifications. Following this line, the show that you will be able to see at the Gustavo Gili presents a set of proposals from the field of architecture, design and urban planning in Barcelona that, seen in perspective, constitute "hard lines" with regard to the hegemonic trends of each period. According to the organisation, these proposals have three essential features: "the attempt to open up the disciplines to new collective uses and paradigms that evolve the formal rhetorics of each moment; the overcoming of the project as a simple theoretical methodology and its transformation into a tool with which to understand and improve the public sphere; the confrontation of citizen conflicts without the use of corporate formulae, pre-formatted models or exemplary solutions".

In total, the exhibition presents 29 case studies chronologically arranged and reconstructed through documents, texts and images. The cases that open and close the exhibition are in the same direction: concern for the places and conditions in which the local subaltern classes live. The itinerary of the proposal is completed with a visit to five rooms of the former publishing house, in order to get to know its original morphology, and the exhibition of some images of this building taken by Francesc Català-Roca.

For more information, click the link.

Publication date: Friday, 03 February 2023
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