- The Basque Government's Minister for the Environment, Land Planning and Housing, Iñaki Arriola, has presented the Biennial today, accompanied by its curator, the San Sebastian architect, Pedro Astigarraga.
- It will take place during November, December and January, with a remarkable opening week, running from the 7th to the 10th of November. It will host more than fifty events that will be open to all citizens, with free entry and an international and multidisciplinary focus.
- Minister Arriola has emphasised the scope of the project and has indicated that it represents a wonderful opportunity to "reflect on the role architecture must play in our society and on its contribution to making our cities more balanced and cohesive".
The Minister for the Environment, Land Planning and Housing, Iñaki Arriola, has presented the I International Architecture Biennial to be held in the Basque Country this morning, accompanied by its curator, the San Sebastian architect, Pedro Astigarraga. The Biennial, which will take place this autumn in San Sebastian under an international and multidisciplinary focus, intends to position San Sebastian and the Basque Country as a reference and meeting point for architecture and culture professionals and the public at large.
The Biennial is born with the momentum provided by the Department for the Environment, Land Planning and Housing and public-private partnerships with other administrations and cultural and architectural institutions. Amongst the entities that are collaborating we can find the San Sebastian City Council, the Gipuzkoa Regional Council, the University of the Basque Country through the Higher Technical School of Architecture, the Professional Association of Basque-Navarre Architects and Tabakalera.
Also involved are Atari (the Basque Country Architecture Culture Association, the Civic Association Ancora, the Reflex Space, the Peña Ganchegui Archive, the Habic Cluster and the Rezola Cement Museum. In the coming weeks, other entities are expected to join in to offer their collaboration.
Minister Arriola has emphasised the ambitious nature and the scope of the project, which will place San Sebastian and the Basque Country in the spotlight this autumn, and has indicated that it represents a wonderful opportunity to "reflect on the role Architecture must play in our society and on its contribution to making our cities more balanced and cohesive". "Beyond its functional and aesthetic dimension", added Mr Arriola, "Architecture has a social and civic function. It is part of our lives".
The Miramar Palace, main venue
MUGAK activities will take place during November, December and January, although the opening week will run from the 7th to the 10th of November. The activities will be held at different locations around San Sebastian, always in a spirit of openness to the public, and free.
The programme will include fifty events, with exhibitions, talks, workshops, round tables and it will include spaces for professionals, scholars or businesspeople, as well as for university students and ordinary citizens. The Miramar Palace will be the main venue, while other remarkable locations within the city will host different events.
One of the most outstanding Biennial events will star the RCR Arquitectes studio, winner of this year's Pritzker Prize, the highest award for architecture in the world. Based in Olot, it was founded in 1987 by Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramón Vilalta, and its work was initially circumscribed to Catalonia. In 2008, at the start of the financial crisis, it took a leap forward beyond our borders, first with several projects in the South of France and, later on, expanding their reach to Belgium and the Arab Emirates.
The RCR partners will come to San Sebastian with their exhibition, entitled "Shared Creativity", which reviews the evolution of their work and their particular view of their profession. Certainly, RCR Arquitectes is not your typical studio. Far away from the traditional centres of influence of Spanish architecture, they have decided to take this discipline one step further. RCR's earthy architecture seems moulded by the forces of nature, hurled from the Earth's interior onto the surface by the volcanoes surrounding Olot.
It is not by chance that the name “MUGAK” has been chosen. The Biennial aspires to foster reflection and discussion on the current state of Architecture, which is at a juncture, and also on the role that must be played by its professionals.
MUGAK also wants to explore the borders that unite and separate this discipline from others, such as art, culture and philosophy, as well as to find points of collaboration with economics, geography or sociology.
The Biennial will look for answers on how to rethink and redefine new urbanism and architecture paths that will enable the design of common spaces for today's society, with fairer and more balanced cities.