Sunday, May 18, 2014

Albert Viaplana, 1933 - 2014

Plaza at Sants (1983). Source:
 Albert Viaplana, the Barcelona architect who designed, with his partner Helio Piñón, the Plaza dels Països Catalans at the Sants Railroad Station (1981-83), an emblematic work of Barcelona's urban renaissance, has died at the age of 81, reports José María Montaner in El País this Saturday (link). Montaner writes:
"...the work of the Viaplana-Piñón studio, which emerged in the context of the so-called School of Barcelona, with its roots in realism and contextualism, marked at the end of the 1970s a point of rupture in favor of a conceptual, essentialist and abstract search...."
As Montaner points out, one of the duo's most influential projects was an unrealized competition design for the College of Architects of Valencia in 1977:
"Using a stepped and repetitive form, they achieved an unforgettable, timeless, minimal proposal, rendered in lines that could not be more simple, abstract, and anonymous..."
Montaner goes on to note that Viaplana was somewhat eclipsed by the meteoric success of his disciple Enric Miralles, who worked on projects such as Sants, and he expresses the hope that his work will be better appreciated in its own right in the future.

Other projects with Piñón, all in Barcelona:
  • Besós Park, Sant Adrià, Barcelona (1984)
  • Santa Mónica Art Center, Las Ramblas (1985-1992)
  • Hilton Hotel, Avenida Diagonal (1987-1990)
  • CCCB, Centre de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona, El Raval (1990-1993)

José María Montaner
Albert Viaplana, imprescindible arquitecto vanguardista
El País
May 17, 2014 

Translation, quotes: DC

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