In this first stage, the catalogue focuses on the modern and contemporary architecture designed and built between 1832 –year of construction of the first industrial chimney in Barcelona that we establish as the beginning of modernity– until today.
The project is born to make the architecture more accessible both to professionals and to the citizens through a website that is going to be updated and extended. Contemporary works of greater general interest will be incorporated, always with a necessary historical perspective, while gradually adding works from our past, with the ambitious objective of understanding a greater documented period.
The collection feeds from multiple sources, mainly from the generosity of architectural and photographic studios, as well as the large amount of excellent historical and reference editorial projects, such as architectural guides, magazines, monographs and other publications. It also takes into consideration all the reference sources from the various branches and associated entities with the COAC and other collaborating entities related to the architectural and design fields, in its maximum spectrum.
Special mention should be made of the incorporation of vast documentation from the COAC Historical Archive which, thanks to its documental richness, provides a large amount of valuable –and in some cases unpublished– graphic documentation.
The rigour and criteria for selection of the works has been stablished by a Documental Commission, formed by the COAC’s Culture Spokesperson, the director of the COAC Historical Archive, the directors of the COAC Digital Archive, and professionals and other external experts from all the territorial sections that look after to offer a transversal view of the current and past architectural landscape around the territory.
The determination of this project is to become the largest digital collection about Catalan architecture; a key tool of exemplar information and documentation about architecture, which turns into a local and international referent, for the way to explain and show the architectural heritage of a territory.
We kindly invite you to help us improve the dissemination of Catalan architecture through this space. Here you can propose works and provide or amend information on authors, photographers and their work, along with adding comments. The Documentary Commission will analyze all data. Please do only fill in the fields you deem necessary to add or amend the information.
The Arxiu Històric del Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya is one of the most important documentation centers in Europe, which houses the professional collections of more than 180 architects whose work is fundamental to understanding the history of Catalan architecture. By filling this form, you can request digital copies of the documents for which the Arxiu Històric del Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya manages the exploitation of the author's rights, as well as those in the public domain. Once the application has been made, the Arxiu Històric del Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya will send you an approximate budget, which varies in terms of each use and purpose.
The plot is located halfway up a mountain that overlooks the Vallromanes valley. This small valley furrows the shadowy side of the coastal-Catalan chain north of Barcelona, and descends towards the Vallès Oriental, with a view that reaches the distant Montseny towards the North-East.
The area is quite leafy and dominated by the wild pine forests that displaced ancient vineyards from these small valleys of the Maresme. The terraces of these slopes are still perceptible where some old farmhouse resists the advance of recent residential developments.
The plot of about 1,000 m2 belongs to one of these urbanisations, which the crisis subjected to slow or no growth in the last decade. The plot has a strong slope oriented exactly to the east and the remains of walls and terraces typical of its previous agricultural use persisted in it, which followed each other in parallel according to the elevation lines.
An elementary but clear and suggestive geometry was thus offered for a possible foundation and implantation of the building. On the other hand, from the middle elevations of the plot, the views are wide and dominant over the bottom of the valley and in the direction of Montseny. Without being grandiose, but friendly and somewhat domestic, these views were from the very beginning determinants of the project's intentions.
These intentions focused on two guiding ideas: the wall and the piercing of it by the views.
The site defined in this way already dictated the construction pattern: a long rectangle supported on a North-South platform, with a double-height opposite to the East - access and services in the semi-basement and habitable upper floor - which is closed by a wall that runs along the entire plot from one end to the other lengthwise. The geometry of a pre-existing agricultural geography is thus reconstructed, simple and with a secular mechanism. The vernacular instance did not point here, neither to a precise constructive type, nor to a pre-existing local architecture derived from it. The vernacular was something primordial here, therefore prior to the rehearsed gesture and already full of stylistic mediations, or transitory tastes. The issue here was perhaps the attitude of that "tired barbarian whose light is extinguished in the deep waters"; barbarian, culture, light and deep waters recalled by the poet friend. In other words, it seemed to me, probably with instinctive naturalness at least, that the objective was to go firmly unnoticed by melting the essential gesture of the house into the already semi-hidden rumour of the place. The wall created the place, defined by its boundaries the foundational space. What's more, the wall was or had to be both the boundary of the place and the place itself erected as a house. But this wall expanded in its thickness until it enclosed the habitable volume and acquired its full meaning in the dominant contemplation of the panoramic views offered by this landscaped balcony. Balcony, section of orographic ledge, clear in the forest and wide perspectives; everything converges in the generous but poignant and almost merciless perforation of the wall, in order to invert the landscape towards the interior living spaces, those that are built and protected after the wall.
An old teacher used to say that disturbing things end up being boring and that architecture should not be tiring, it should naturally accompany our moments of rest in its contemplation; because architecture, for better or for worse, remains far more than restless passengers. It is probably not the time for such sacred rites, nor for the recognition of the silent mystery and tension that emerges in the quiet, calm and deep waters where the light is extinguished. Probably also the composition of perforations in the wall is this, excessively composed, even if it starts or is born from a basic order given by the plan and its division into three parts, boxes or volumes strung axially along the long central corridor.
Thus, the arrangement in plan is established according to three independent rectangles; three small houses connected longitudinally but separated. The separations are strangulations of the larger virtual box and are built as small patios paired transversely to the major axis, which allow those views to cross not the front wall, but the entire volume of the house, to achieve a sheltered from the wind and sunny rear garden that runs along the internal retaining wall. Also, and from the axial corridor, wide planes of crystal protected by the shadows of the ridges of the courtyards, absorb the landscape fitting it between the walls of these courtyards.
Finally, outside and below, a wide semicircular wall supports the parking and maneuvering platform in front of the garage. Its presence serves as a counterpoint to the harsh frontality of the main plan, the only emergency of which is the regular cube that illuminates the access door to the garage.