Bohigas, Oriol

Bohigas, Oriol
b. 1925, Barcelona
   Architect and historian
   Bohigas is a key figure for understanding the privileged position of architecture in Catalonia in the late twentieth century. Architect, historian and architectural critic, Bohigas belongs to an intellectual élite which plays a very active role in Catalan public life. Since qualifying in 1951, his output has been enormous. With his associates in the MBM studio, Josep Martorell and David Mackay, he has produced a series of prestigious architectural and town planning projects such as the Mutua Metal·lùrgica (headquarters of an Insurance Company in Barcelona), the Ecole Thau (Barcelona), and the Kochstraße- Friederichstraße redevelopment in Berlin, which won a prize in 1984. In 1977 he became Director of the School of Architecture in Barcelona (ETSAB), a position which enabled him to revitalize and renew this great institution. The high standard of teaching produced several generations of highly-qualified architects, many of them outstanding. In 1980 Bohigas was given overall responsibility for architecture and town planning by the Barcelona city council, continuing to act as consultant to the council even after relinquishing this post some years later. He is considered to be the main driving force behind the city's plan of urban renewal, which was highly praised in Spain and abroad. The rationalist roots of Bohigas" thinking were well known from his early years as an active member of the Grupo R (1953–63) alongside architects such as Coderch, Moragas and Sostres. The development of this thinking and the possibility of implementing some of its principles came in the 1980s with large-scale projects such as the green spaces plan, the opening up of Barcelona to the sea, and the subsequent plan for the Olympic Village designed for the 1992 games. Bohigas" active participation in the political life of the city recalls some of his famous predecessors such as Domènech i Montaner and especially Puig i Cadafalch, two famous exponents of Modernism, who had advocated strongly that architects had a duty to involve themselves in public affairs. By being faithful to this principle and bringing his great ability to bear on decision-making at a time when Barcelona was experiencing prosperity, expansion and the need for redevelopment, Bohigas decisively influenced the transformation of the city.
   Like the Modernists already mentioned, Bohigas is also a distinguished historian and controversial-ist. Catalan Modernism is one of his favourite themes, but he is equally interested in the Cerdà plan, the architecture of the 1920s and 1930s and all the problems associated with teaching and with contemporary architectural practice. His activities have won him many distinctions.
   Further reading
   - Bohigas, O. (1968) Arquitectura modernista, Barcelona: Lumen.
   - Loyer, F. (1991) L'art nouveau en Catalogne, Paris: Biblio. Arts, Le Septième Fou.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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