A conversation with the directors of the XV Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo

España vacía, España llena: A conversation with Óscar Miguel Ares, Anna Bach and Eugeni Bach. Moderated by Roi Salgueiro Barrio.

Lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures will be held Thursdays at 6 PM ET in 7-429 (Long Lounge) and streamed online unless otherwise noted. Registration required to attend in-person. Register here.

The Spanish Architecture and Urbanism Biennial (BEAU), has been held since 1991. One  of its main objectives is to recognize and reward a set of high-quality works, which represent the most outstanding panorama of Spanish architecture and urban planning in the years covered by the call.

The curators of the current XV edition draw the attention to the dual character of the Spanish territory. Geographically, statistically and from the perspective of population density, in the same geographical framework, two drastically different territorial realities coexist. As if it were a country within another, the dense coastal areas surround a vast and extremely sparsely populated territory with the drastic exception of the central area formed by the capital of the country, Madrid.

This differentiation poses several challenges for architecture and urbanism since common concepts such as housing, services or public space, must be planned and developed attending the geographical and social reality in which they are rooted. The selected and awarded  projects of the Biennial allow us to have an x-ray of the architectural panorama in Spain of the last 3 years and give us the possibility to ask, how should architecture approach concepts with such different meanings in the two territories?

Óscar Miguel Ares, Anna Bach and Eugeni Bach are the curators of the XV edition of the Spanish Architecture and Urbanism Biennial (XVBEAU). The three are architects with renowned professional practices, Oscar Miguel Ares in Valladolid and Anna and Eugeni Bach in Barcelona.

Óscar Miguel Ares holds a PhD in architecture with his thesis “GATEPAC 1928-1939” on the history of the Modern Movement in Spain. He teaches in the Faculty of Architecture in Valladolid. The work of his studio Contextos de Arquitectura has been widely published, it has received several recognitions and prices in Spain and abroad and has recently been showcased in the Spanish Pavilion of the last edition of the Venice Biennale.  

Anna & Eugeni Bach is a Barcelona based Finnish Spanish architecture studio. Both, Anna and Eugeni, teach architecture in EINA UAB and ETSAB UPC in Barcelona. Their architecture and artistic interventions have been widely published and have received several awards in Spain and abroad being recently showcased in the last edition of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. Their production includes the installation Mies Missing Materiality on the Mies van der Rohe’s and Lilly Reich’s Barcelona Pavilion.

Roi Salgueiro Barrio is an architect and urbanist whose work focuses on the interrelations between architecture, systems of territorial organization, and globalization. He is the founder of design practice RSAU, a lecturer at MIT Department of Architecture, and the curator-director of MIT Mornigside Academy for Design.

Roi is the author, with Hashim Sarkis and Gabriel Kozlowski, of The World as an Architectural Project (MIT Press: 2020), and was Principal Assistant Curator for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale de Venezia. His research has been widely published in academic journals (New Geographies, Log, The Journal of Architectural Education, San Rocco, Architecture, City and Environment, Cartha, City, Territory, and Architecture), and featured in The Washington Post, Abitare, Domus, Metropolis Magazine, ArchDaily, World-Architecture among others.  His work has also been internationally exhibited in venues such as the Venice Biennale, Lisbon Triennale, the Shenzen and Hong Kong  Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism, Museum of Contemporary Art of Chile University, the ETH Zurich, Yale School of Architecture, and Sao Paolo Faculty of Architecture. Roi is an editor for urbanNext, Actar Publishers platform for disseminating advanced thinking on urbanism, a member of Actar’s scientific committee, and a founding member of the research collaborative ASIDE.