MODEL. Barcelona Architectures Festival
From 5 to 15 May 2022
Model. Barcelona Architectures Festival is a space for reflection and celebration that brings us experimental architecture and helps us to rethink how we wish to live together through new city models and imaginaries.
Launched by Barcelona City Council and the Catalan Architects’ Association (COAC), the festival aims to transform the urban space into a platform for architectural talent and up-and-coming design, the city into a meeting forum for leading thinkers from around the world and, more significantly, architecture into a space for exploration and inspiration for all citizens.
The themes of the Festival
The stark inequalities in contemporary cities are leaving a large, visible mark on their maps, segmenting them and creating chasms of every kind. A person’s life expectancy and possibilities for prospering continue to be decisively shaped by the particular Barcelona neighbourhood they are born in. Architecture and urban planning need to serve, above all, as a counterweight to the class gap.
The city is the shared space for various cultures and therefore the setting for constant shock between the various views of each of the people living there on what the city ought to be like. So, everything urban needs to include not just celebrations and festivals but also peace and quiet. Being able to incorporate every newcomer and each of their histories and tradition, we also need to preserve a sense of shared identity and memory.
In a world that needs to get past its view of human beings as the centre of everything, the city can no longer take just the interests of people into account. Our health as citizens depends on the trees that clean the air we breathe and on the vitality of our microbiome. Our quality of life is directly related to that of the birds nesting in our environment. Every city today is an ecosystem with delicate balances and a multi-species community.
Designing and building ‘a city for everyone’ is only possible if we include every kind of citizen: young people, adults, the elderly, children and anyone who does not identify with the values of any generational label. Our public space is where the needs of each generation converge and such forms of friction give rise not only to conflicts but also to opportunities for positive community life. Besides the generational differences, how can we imagine forms of architecture for mutual care?
If the goals of the Paris Agreement for decarbonisation and energy transition are to be met, future cities, at the very least, will have to be rebuilt based on new sustainable materials and methods that reduce their material footprint. Basic procedures will include the regeneration of systems and infrastructures to maximise the reuse and circularity of resources, as well as the optimisation of energy flows and the networks that depend on them, from mobility to food supplies. The new architectural materiality also includes logistics, microbiology and technology.