Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ephemeral architecture: Pope versus Protesters

News brief
Two outdoor stages for the Papal visit to Madrid in mid-August ("World Youth Day") are designed by Madrid architect Ignacio Vicens. Vicens has designed all the outdoor stages for papal visits to Spain since 1982.

Vicens is also the designer of 200 temporary confessionals, inspired in sails, that are being set up in the Retiro Park.

Meanwhile, on August 2nd, police dislodged the few remaining protesters of the "15th of May" movement in Madrid's Puerta del Sol and demolished the tents and temporary structures that have occupied the plaza for months. The ephemeral architecture of the encampment was the subject of a review in El País on June 17; its social organization was one of its most interesting features.

Protesters presume that authorities finally acted to clear the encampment in anticipation of the Papal visit, with 1 million visitors expected. The plaza was cleared without tear gas, beatings or arrests. Over the past two days protesters have been playing a cat-and-mouse game with the police to retake the plaza.

More info on Vicens' papal stage (in Spanish):
SCALAE (with images)
ABC newspaper, August 3, 2011 (interview with Vicens)
Top image from SCALAE

Puerta del Sol encampment photos copied from various web sources
  • Photo 2: Information Post, built from pallets, designed by an environmental sciences student, demolished on August 2nd.
  • Photo 3: Overhead view of plaza at height of protests.
Puerta del Sol Encampment web page:

Note added August 6, 2011:
Protesters retook the Puerta del Sol on Friady. Their main goal seems to be to re-establish an information post there.

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