Hometown: Austin, TX
There is a neighborhood in Barcelona called Sants, which is known to be a "working class" community. A very defining part of this neighborhood is a building called Can Vies. This building is owned by TMB- the transportation company in Barcelona. It was abandoned in the 90's and in 1997 squatters took over and called it home. These squatters not only lived in this abandoned structure, but improved the surrounding community by hosting events, concerts, and classes for everyone. This created a welcoming community hub that helped define this neighborhood and make it unique.
A mile long concrete wall was recently built for a train going straight through the neighborhood, diving the community in two. This past May the city started to evict some of the squatters and tear down the Can Vies building used as a community center, causing riots and protests all over the city. This resulted in a very heated social-political issue which our class is studying through researching how other countries/parts of the world have viewed this issue as well as completing on-site interviews with locals, getting an inside view. Our job is to propose a project that will turn this bad situation into an opportunity to unite the community through architecture.
We have also gone on sketching trips this week for our history and structures classes. I like the challenge of proving a point about a building through sketching, for example arguing that a particular building is more organic than inorganic. It also gives us more time to explore the city and take us to places we wouldn’t have otherwise gone to. Check out photos from our sketching trips below!
For our history class we visited Santa Maria del Mar, a Catalan gothic style church in the Ribera district that was built in the 1300's at the height of Catalonia's maritime and mercantile preeminence. We also visited and sketched the Santa Caterina Market. This old structure was built in 1845 as a market for the surrounding community, constructed on the former site of the Convent of Santa Caterina. In 2005, architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue renewed this market with a wooden and steel structure with a curving colored roof composed of ceramic pieces representing fruits and vegetables, breaking the look of a traditional market.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for next week's post.