How Spain’s Financial Crisis Influenced a Generation of Architecture and Design

How Spain's Financial Crisis Influenced a Generation of Architecture and Design
104 House – Casa 1014, Barcelona, Spain, Architect: HARQUITECTES / © Adrià Goula

This November, The Cooper Union is hosting the Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (BEAU). The exhibition, Alternativas / Alternatives, highlights the use of innovative architectural techniques developed during Spain’s financial crisis.

Spanish design has never been defined by one architectural style, having had a long history of multicultural influences. The exhibition reflects this, proving that Spain has become a prominent international space for architectural innovation featuring installations constructed from local Spanish materials. Reinventing and resilient, contemporary Spanish design draws upon its prolific history to develop new designs with scarcity of means.

As Nader Tehrani, dean of The Cooper Union’s The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture tells The Creators Project, “The Iberian Peninsula, as a geographic entity, is linked to Europe and yet separated by the Pyrenees; historically its culture has been as much impacted by the mix of Muslim and Jewish influences as its Christian roots. This heterogeneity has made its design culture quite resilient to transformations of historical periods, absorbing them as much as adopting them for inventive hybrids.“

BEAU presents an overview of current urban production and architectural work via small scale and large-scale interventions. Alternativas/Alternatives features 3D printed models of 22 jury-selected projects, varying from schools, public parks, and residential homes—each project displays the use of substitute architectural processes developed over the last two years. Each model has a specific barcode, that when scanned, presents audiovisual commentary on the exhibition screens, introducing the advantages of each alternative design. […]


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