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Oriol Bohigas, Groundbreaking Spanish Architect, Dies at 95

Oriol Bohigas, Groundbreaking Spanish Architect, Dies at 95

MADRID — Oriol Bohigas, a Spanish architect and concrete planner who helped flip Barcelona, his dwelling metropolis, into one of many predominant tourism locations of the Mediterranean, died on Nov. 30 at his dwelling there. He was 95.

His dying was confirmed by his son Josep Bohigas, who added that his father had had Parkinson’s illness for a number of years.

Working for Barcelona’s metropolis authorities, Mr. Bohigas was one of many masterminds of the town’s overhaul in preparation for the 1992 Olympic Video games, notably the transformation of its seafront, which had develop into a derelict industrial space.

In partnership with two different architects, Mr. Bohigas designed a brand new yachting port, which hosted the Olympic crusing competitions, in addition to a public park and a village to accommodate the athletes, referred to as the Vila Olimpica. Town rehabilitated nearly three miles of the seafront as seashores, and the realm turned a well-liked residential neighborhood as soon as the Video games completed.

Pere Aragonès, the regional chief of Catalonia, paid tribute to Mr. Bohigas on Twitter, calling him the “nice transformer of Barcelona.”

The influence of the Summer time Olympics on Barcelona was a mannequin for London and different cities that later hosted the occasion, whereas Mr. Bohigas and his companions used their success as a springboard so as to add buildings and assist redesign different elements of Barcelona, together with its run-down Raval neighborhood. A few of their landmark tasks overhauled unused infrastructure, like the military barracks that turned the brand new campus of Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra College, which opened in 2000.

Mr. Bohigas “was basic not solely within the transformation of Barcelona however in our understanding of cities,” Martha Thorne, the dean of the IE Faculty of Structure and Design in Madrid, mentioned by electronic mail. “His concepts of city acupuncture — small actions over time that may very well be understood as half of an entire, together with new squares and small inexperienced areas — had been embraced by the residents and made a optimistic influence on neighborhoods.”

Though Mr. Bohigas saved his give attention to Barcelona, he additionally contributed to the opposite main worldwide occasion held in Spain in 1992: Expo ’92 in Seville, for which he and his companions constructed one of many pavilions. The pavilion was left deserted for many years afterward, nevertheless it was reopened this 12 months because the new home of the regional archives.

He and his companions additionally undertook tasks in Germany, France and Italy, in addition to Latin America. These included a block of residences on Kochstrasse in Berlin, a resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the city planning for brand spanking new neighborhoods within the cities of Aix-en-Provence in France and Salerno in Italy.

Oriol Bohigas Guardiola was born on Dec. 20, 1925, in Barcelona. His father, Pere Bohigas, labored for the Metropolis of Barcelona and briefly managed the town’s theater college. His mom, María Guardiola, was a homemaker.

Mr. Bohigas enrolled at Barcelona’s college of structure in 1943, simply as Gen. Francisco Franco was consolidating his dictatorship after successful the Spanish Civil Battle. Mr. Bohigas was finally appointed director of the structure college in 1977, shortly after Franco’s dying. He thought-about it a part of his life’s mission to free structure and concrete planning from the conservative rigidity of Franco’s dictatorship, and to return Barcelona to the form of revolutionary considering related to the principle cultural actions that reshaped the town within the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

“I bear in mind,” he recalled in an interview in 2010, “that I spent my complete structure research, which I completed in 1951, solely listening to folks discuss classical structure and defend ultraconservatism, in each facet. We discovered nothing about modern structure. Sure, I imagine my technology is the one which made efforts to recuperate the modernity that was misplaced within the first stage of Franco.”

In 1951, Mr. Bohigas joined with two different architects, Josep Martorell and David Mackay, to arrange a agency that took its identify from the initials of their surnames: MBM. The agency gained prominence in 1974 with an award-winning project to construct a faculty, referred to as Thau, with out lecture rooms and with as few partitions as attainable.

His closing important undertaking was the constructing for Barcelona’s Design Museum, which opened in 2014. However like an earlier MBM undertaking to increase the flagship Barcelona retailer of the Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles, the design museum didn’t please everyone. An article in The New York Occasions referred to as the constructing a “squat, zinc-clad construction with entrance and rear cantilevers” and famous that it “hasn’t precisely been celebrated for its exterior type,” including, “Some have taken to calling it ‘the Stapler.’”

Mr. Bohigas was proud by no means to have joined a political get together, however he espoused left-wing concepts and held completely different jobs in Barcelona’s metropolis authorities, in city planning within the Eighties after which because the official in command of Barcelona’s tradition ministry within the early Nineties, when the town hosted the Olympics. He additionally backed the secessionist motion in Catalonia that began to collect momentum a decade in the past.

His involvement in Barcelona’s cultural life prolonged nicely past Metropolis Corridor. He was a founding father of the publishing home Edicions 62. Within the Eighties, he was president of the Foundation Joan Miró, which was created by the painter for whom it’s named and has a museum in Barcelona that displays his works. In 2011, Mr. Bohigas stepped down as president of the Ateneo Barcelonés, one of many metropolis’s most influential cultural associations, after eight years.

Along with his son Josep, Mr. Bohigas is survived by his spouse, Isabel Arnau, from whom he was separated; 4 different kids from their marriage, Gloria, María, Eulalia and Pere; 9 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and his companion, Beth Galí.

In recent times, Mr. Bohigas was crucial of many facets of Barcelona’s improvement, together with the extension of the town’s Broadway-style thoroughfare, a undertaking referred to as Diagonal Mar. He additionally lamented the rise of property hypothesis in Barcelona and defended the appropriate of squatters to dwell in deserted buildings.

“It’s clear,” he said in 2010, simply as Spain was sinking right into a banking disaster triggered by dangerous property loans, “{that a} society that has so many empty homes and so many individuals and not using a house is a sick society that faces an issue by way of sharing its private and non-private belongings.”

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