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Thursday, 20 January 2011

ARTchitecture for the Art Gallery

Perhaps it is just that my eye has only recently become interested in architecture, but the space in which art galleries were housed in Barcelona amazed and excited me as independent works of art.
Eventually the old streets of art shops and restaurants spilling out on to the pavements opened out to the Placa de Angels, an open space of art and a clear white light. MACBA is the Museum of Contemporary art in Barcelona and commands a whole square of converted spaces. Richard Meier was the American architect responsible for the main building, famous for his rationalist designs and his use of white, this is a blinding construction.

'Abstraction allows architecture to express its own organizational and spatial consequences, it permits the creation of space without confusing its volume with any superimposed system of meaning or value.' Richard Meier

I spent forever in awe, circling and encircling as I held my camera up to the sky and framed new shapes, discovered hidden geometries. The building frames and channels light, patterning, creating and distorting, utterly absorbing. Its great white surfaces obliterate the sun and draw everything towards it. I was genuinely captivated and wonder if it is that I have never seen architecture like this before, or that I have just never noticed it?

Here is an amazing video, which expresses the detailed abstract qualities of the building:

Here are some of the other impressive gallery buildings I saw.

Crowned by a barbed wire sculpture, Antoni Tapies designed the building which now hosts his gallery himself. The wire called 'Cloud and Chair' is supposed to adjust the difference in height between the Foundation and the buildings which surround it.

In 1975 architect Josep Luis Sert completed the building for the Joan Miro Foundation and modern art gallery. It was conceived as an open space and the white surfaces, broken by courtyards, do open up spaces. The highlight is the low roof which is open to the public to explore the sculptures which spill out of the museum.

When I went nobody seemed to be going out on to the roof, but I pushed through the tinted doors and escaped in to the sun to explore. Nobody stopped me and it felt liberating!


  1. Beautiful photos! Sharp and clean. I love pictures of architecture.

  2. that looks awesome- definitely will go there if i can persuade my friends to too! :D

  3. amazing I've always wanted to go to Barcelona!

  4. you've successfully managed to make me want to visit the MACBA on your photographs alone! Meier's work is amazing. that building isn't too different from his Atheneum: just south of here.

  5. Great post! I feel like I was there! Your thoughts on the architecture are inspiring, and your photographs did a wonderful job telling your story. I love that you went on to the roof (did you find that cool little sculpture there?)

  6. I did indeed find the sculpture up on the roof, thanks for the comments!