Oriol Bohigas, Groundbreaking Spanish Architect, Dies at 95


MADRID — Oriol Bohigas, a Spanish architect and concrete planner who helped flip Barcelona, his residence metropolis, into one of many most important tourism locations of the Mediterranean, died on Nov. 30 at his residence there. He was 95.

His loss of life was confirmed by his son Josep Bohigas, who added that his father had had Parkinson’s illness for a number of years.

Working for Barcelona’s metropolis authorities, Mr. Bohigas was one of many masterminds of the town’s overhaul in preparation for the 1992 Olympic Games, significantly the transformation of its seafront, which had grow to be a derelict industrial space.

In partnership with two different architects, he designed a brand new yachting port, which hosted the Olympic crusing competitions, in addition to a public park and a village to accommodate the athletes, often known as the Vila Olimpica. The metropolis rehabilitated virtually three miles of the seafront as seashores, and the world turned a well-liked residential neighborhood as soon as the Games had completed.

Pere Aragonès, the regional chief of Catalonia, paid tribute to Mr. Bohigas on Twitter, calling him the “great transformer of Barcelona.”

The affect of the Summer Olympics on Barcelona was a mannequin for London and different cities that later hosted the occasion, whereas Mr. Bohigas and his companions used their success as a springboard so as to add buildings and assist redesign different elements of Barcelona, together with its run-down Raval neighborhood. Some of their landmark tasks overhauled unused infrastructure, like the military barracks that turned the brand new campus of Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, which opened in 2000.

Mr. Bohigas “was fundamental not only in the transformation of Barcelona but in our understanding of cities,” Martha Thorne, the dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design in Madrid, stated by e-mail. “His ideas of urban acupuncture — small actions over time that could be understood as part of a whole, including new squares and small green spaces — were embraced by the residents and made a positive impact on neighborhoods.”

Although Mr. Bohigas stored his concentrate on Barcelona, he additionally contributed to the opposite main worldwide occasion held in Spain in 1992: Expo ’92, in Seville, for which he and his companions constructed a pavilion. It was left deserted for many years afterward, nevertheless it was reopened this 12 months because the new home of the regional archives.

He and his companions additionally undertook tasks in Germany, France and Italy, in addition to Latin America. These included a block of flats on Kochstrasse in Berlin, a resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the city planning for brand spanking new neighborhoods within the cities of Aix-en-Provence in France and Salerno in Italy.

Oriol Bohigas Guardiola was born on Dec. 20, 1925, in Barcelona. His father, Pere Bohigas, labored for the City of Barcelona and briefly managed the town’s theater faculty. His mom, María Guardiola, was a homemaker.

Mr. Bohigas enrolled at Barcelona’s faculty of structure in 1943, simply as Gen. Francisco Franco was consolidating his dictatorship after profitable the Spanish Civil War. Mr. Bohigas was appointed director of the structure faculty in 1977, shortly after Franco’s loss of life. He thought-about it a part of his life’s mission to free structure and concrete planning from the conservative rigidity of Franco’s dictatorship, and to return Barcelona to the type of revolutionary considering related to the principle cultural actions that reshaped the town within the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

“I remember that I spent my whole architecture studies, which I finished in 1951, only listening to people talk about classical architecture and defend ultraconservatism, in every aspect.” he recalled in an interview in 2010. “We learned nothing about contemporary architecture. Yes, I believe my generation is the one that made efforts to recover the modernity that was lost in the first stage of Franco.”

In 1951, Mr. Bohigas joined with two different architects, Josep Martorell and David Mackay, to arrange a agency that took its identify from the initials of their surnames: MBM. The agency gained prominence in 1974 with an award-winning project to construct a faculty, known as Thau, with out school rooms and with as few partitions as doable.

His remaining vital venture was the constructing for Barcelona’s Design Museum, which opened in 2014. But like an earlier MBM venture to increase the flagship Barcelona retailer of the Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles, the design museum didn’t please all people; a journey article in The New York Times, describing the constructing as a “squat, zinc-clad structure with front and rear cantilevers,” famous that it “hasn’t exactly been celebrated for its exterior form,” including, “Some have taken to calling it ‘the Stapler.’”

Mr. Bohigas was proud by no means to have joined a political occasion, however he espoused left-wing concepts and held completely different jobs in Barcelona’s metropolis authorities — in city planning within the Eighties after which because the official accountable for Barcelona’s tradition ministry within the early Nineteen Nineties, when the town hosted the Olympics. He additionally backed the secessionist motion in Catalonia that began to assemble momentum a decade in the past.

His involvement in Barcelona’s cultural life prolonged properly past City Hall. He was a founding father of the publishing home Edicions 62. In the Eighties, he was president of the Foundation Joan Miró, which was created by the painter for whom it’s named, and which has a museum in Barcelona that displays his works. He was additionally president of the Ateneo Barcelonés, one of many metropolis’s most influential cultural associations, stepping down in 2011 after eight years within the put up.

In addition to his son Josep, Mr. Bohigas is survived by his spouse, Isabel Arnau, from whom he was separated; 4 different youngsters from their marriage, Gloria, María, (*95*) and Pere; 9 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and his companion, Beth Galí.

In latest years, Mr. Bohigas was important of many features of Barcelona’s growth, together with the extension of the town’s Broadway-style thoroughfare, a venture often known as Diagonal Mar. And he lamented the rise of property hypothesis in Barcelona and defended the best of squatters to stay in deserted buildings.

“It is clear,” he said in 2010, simply as Spain was sinking right into a banking disaster triggered by dangerous property loans, “that a society that has so many empty houses and so many people without a home is a sick society that faces a problem in terms of sharing its public and private assets.”

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