Sunday, November 19, 2017

Carme Pinós' Massana Arts School, Barcelona

La Massana Fine Arts School
Photo © Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

For Architecture Record's issue on college and university buildings this month, I cover Carme Pinós' Massana School of the Arts and Design in Barcelona, located behind the Boqueria Market in the Raval, on a plaza Pinós also has designed.

"Pinós’s compositional technique involves syncopated openings, overlapping angles, large cantilevers, and fragmented, dynamic massing. For the school, she used these strategies to lighten the impact of the 120,000-square-foot building on the neighborhood, tailoring it to the narrow streets on three sides."

La Massana Fine Arts School
© Duccio Malagamba

"The atrium is an architectural tour-de force at the heart of the building. Sky bridges at various levels, staggered in position and rippling upward in groups of steps from the classroom wing to the workshops, crisscross it–spanning a 5-foot rise in grade from the back of the site to the plaza, which Pinós has carried up through every floor."

"Up on the sky bridges, view corridors pierce through the entire building, ending at the large balconies on the main facade, an idea that Pinós says was inspired by the building cuttings of artist Gordon Matta-Clark."

Cathleen McGuigan calls the building "elegantly tough" in her editorial for the issue.

I managed to call it, "powerful, though hardly solemn". I wish I could find a better way to talk about Pinós' uncompromising dedication combined with her capacity to surprise and delight. Her star turns are, in all seriousness, for the fun of it, a sign perhaps of true mastery.

Catalonian Catalyst
Massana School for the Arts and Design, Barcelona, by Carme Pinós
Architectural Record, November 2017, pages 80 - 85.