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Oriol Bohigas In memoriam


With the demise of Oriol Bohigas at 95 years of age goes one of the most influential masters of the second half of the 20th century in Spain, but also an entire manner of understanding the profession, the power, and the sphere that connects them: the city.

Bohigas (to whom Arquitectura Viva 163 devoted an article on the occasion of the launch of the first arquia/maestros set of DVDs and booklets) had a long career as an architect. In the precarious 1950s he frequented an efficient rationalism – sometimes dry, other times more organic. During the period of developmentalism, the native Barcelonian and his firm MBM made housing a field for experimenting with typologies and engaging with natural and urban landscapes. And with the advent of the Transition and democracy, he went for a modern eclecticism with which he managed, with good judgment, to address the programs that the times called for.

Bohigas the builder was just one part of a multifaceted personality. There was also the intellectual and teacher, linked to Arquitecturas Bis and his always idiosyncratic history and criticism books. But Bohigas’s greatest contribution was his role in the making of Olympic Barcelona, both as a steady-handed surgeon in “hygienizing and monumentalizing” and as a wise and vitriolic architectural conscience for the city. Bohigas represents an essentially enlightened way of thinking and doing, put to use thoroughly and efficiently. Something we now revile but also learn to miss.

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