Jun '10 - Aug '10
Antoni Bonet i Castellana is something of an aberration amongst his contemporaries in Spain, one of the few architects who consistently worked back and forth between the Americas and Iberia, though he was primarily based in South America. His architecture has a lightness and an international flavour that is distinct from the major practitioners of the time, the closest points of comparison being perhaps Rafael de la Hoz (more on him to come) and Alejandro de la Sota.
The Meridiana dog track (1962-1963), tucked away in the north-west of Barcelona, was one of the most surprising projects I saw. The lightness of the steel structure, the massing, and the arrangement of program and functional elements are all exemplary, as are the overall effect of the stark black and white finish and the odd little details, such as the slanted columns at the points of bow-shaped pavilion. The track itself has been converted into a park, with the pavilion slated to become a contemporary arts center.
His research is focused on the diverse and shifting positions of architecture within Francoist Spain (1939-1975). It pursues a number of related questions, examining the relations between institutions of architecture and the regime, the function of architecture at the intersection of totalitarianism and an increasingly free market, and the evolution of architecture in Spain in the void left by the post-Civil War rejection of international modernism.