1995 Barcelona’s Two Souls


Barcelona is Spain’s most European city. If it perseveres, it might also become the most American. Meanwhile, the city celebrates its two souls by simultaneously inaugurating a very European museum designed by an American and a very American marina built by Catalans. The Museum of Contemporary Art, a white luminous ship by Richard Meier in the ancient labyrinth of the Raval quarter – a deteriorated sector of the city’s historic core with narrow streets and decaying tenements, densely inhabited by an impoverished population of immigrants – was shown to the Barcelonese in April, to reopen definitively in November with the collection installed. The commercial and recreation complex of Port Vell began to take shape with the opening in September last year of the controversial and lyrical footbridge designed by Helio Piñón & Albert Viaplana, which connects the Rambla to the Moll d’Espanya. Multicinemas and a huge commercial center – the `Maremagnum’ – by the same architects are now rising over this, besides an Imax cinema by Jordi Garcés & Enric Sòria and a giant aquarium – Europe’s biggest – designed by Robert & Esteve Terradas, whose forthcoming summer opening will wrap up the port complex...[+]

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