An Intimate Story

Joan Roig 

Batlle i Roig was born at a desk in the studio of José Antonio Martínez Lapeña and Elías Torres, midway through the year 1981.

Though we both had parallel university careers, we didn’t coincide until the last year, with Rafael Moneo as chair professor and Elías as professor. Moneo brought to the ETSAB a scientific outlook and an inclusive attitude in contrast to the restrictive views of Postmodernism or the Tendenza. With Moneo we discovered the importance of the place in the project and the weight of the profession in our work.

Enric’s father was a gardener, and this marked our strong interest in getting involved in landscaping projects. This interest arose at a time when several competitions for projects in public spaces were being called. We must remember that in 1979 Elías Torres had written an article in Arquitecturas bis, ‘Y el resto verde,’ in which he predicted the importance gardens would have in the immediate future. Our first years of work coincided with the consolidation of the country’s modernization process, which had begun with the democractic transition.

While in the Barcelona of the 1960s and 1970s the standard adopted to design parks and gardens was based on a revision adapted to the Mediterranean climate of the type that Burle Marx had spread in South America – with an intensive and varied use of trees and a picturesque arrangement of shrub vegetation by means of parterres – in the 1980s, however, public space design drew on the tradition of Italian piazzas, paving entire surfaces and relying on urban furniture rather than on tree-like vegetation.

Our approach at that time was instinctively the opposite. When it looked like the landscape had to be developed only from architectural components, we began working with classical landscape elements: plants, water, topography, paths, and also from the perspective of gardening...[+]

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