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Mugak/ Biennial selects nine proposals for its new edition's programme

Dome built during a collaborative workshop in the last edition of Mugak/. Photo: Mikel Blasco

  • A reflection on the phenomenon of discotheques on the coast of Gipuzkoa; the ria of Bilbao as a strategic axis for rebuilding, reinhabiting and rethinking; and even the 'baserri' as an opportunity for productive and collaborative housing for the development of rural areas in the Basque Country. The Basque Country International Architecture Biennial has already chosen the projects to be subsidised in its fourth edition, to be held in October and November.
  • The proposals have been selected through the line of subsidies that the Basque Government's Department of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport launched at the beginning of the year.
  • All of them, in addition to their quality, have been valued for being closely related to this year's theoretical framework, which proposes a reflection on the current context of urgency and emergency through the slogan 'rebuild, reinhabit, rethink'.

The Basque Country International Architecture Biennal Mugak/ has already selected the projects to which its line of grants will be awarded and which will therefore define the programme of its fourth edition. There are a total of nine proposals from different entities. They have been chosen from among those submitted to the line of grants for the promotion and dissemination of urban design and contemporary architecture in the Basque Country, which the Basque Government's Department of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport launched at the beginning of the year.

The search for exhibitions, workshops, conferences, publications and other programming began, and was open to developers and construction companies, studios and professional associations and non-profit associations from all over the Basque Country. A total of nine projects have now been selected, each consisting of different activities, to form part of the fourth edition of Mugak/, which is going to be held in October and November. This time, under the slogan ‘rebuild, reinhabit, rethink’, the Biennial proposes a reflection on these concepts from the context of current urgency and emergency. The proposals that are going to be promoted this year, in addition to their quality, have been selected because they are closely related to this theoretical framework.


Collaborative, diverse proposals that promote debate.

"The selected projects approach the theoretical framework from very different fields, such as rural typologies, industrialisation in rehabilitation, leisure architecture, reflection on the industrial and port landscape... Many of them have been designed in collaboration with various organisations; they are multidisciplinary and with proposals for programmatic diversity. Several of them also propose activities such as routes and visits with the aim of taking the debate and reflection to different places", said the curator of this fourth edition of Mugak/, María Arana.  

Thus, line I of the call, aimed at temporary exhibitions to disseminate urban design and contemporary architecture in the Basque Country, has a budget of 157,598.80 euros and will promote three projects during the Biennial. ‘Mugak/ HABIT[atu]Z’ is the proposal of the Bilbao studio behark, which proposes for the Biscayan capital a pavilion built from a standardised modular system "to resist the standard". They were designed to increase the spatial quality of housing in urban regeneration projects. It is a sample and test of an industrialised system, the result of an R&D&I programme in the construction sector supported by the Department itself.

Another subsidised project is that of the Association for the Revitalisation of Metropolitan Bilbao, Bilbao Metropoli-30, which brings together the proposals of several local agents and organisations, such as Itsasmuseum, IED Kunsthal Bilbao, ZAWP and the Bizkaia branch of the Official Basque-Navarrese Association of Architects, among others. It is ‘The estuary as a strategic axis to rebuild, reinhabit and rethink the metropolitan urban space’, which will consist of several activities around the idea of rehabilitating this iconic area of Bilbao.

Among them, there will be four exhibition and visual interventions: the photographic exhibition ‘Katebegi/link/Eslabón’, by ZAWP, at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC); ‘Oteiza in Bilbao. 1994. The Immobile City. Ordinance in the Zorrozaurre isle’, by the curators Santos Bregaña and Emilio Varela in the Biscayan delegation of the COAVN; ‘Bilbao poem city’ by AmiArte, tutored by the artist Bego Intxaustegi, in which twenty creators of visual arts from different countries participate; and ‘Skin of light’, in the Itsasmuseum. There will also be activities for shared and participative reflection on the theme of this Biennial, with the workshop ‘Reconstructing the auxiliary structures along the estuary’, organised by IED Kunsthal; the creation of mobile containers painted as outdoor murals, developed by AmiArte at the Itsasmuseum and subsequently exhibited at various points in the metropolitan area; as well as the creation of a virtual tour of the estuary through an audiovisual presentation, which will show its past and present and imagine its future, in collaboration with Caminos Euskadi and the Port Authority of Bilbao. Finally, it will offer a diversity of metropolitan spaces that will contribute to generating multidirectional movements around the estuary as a strategic axis.

‘Vivienda máxima’ is the project presented by the Donostia-based interior design studio Iñigo Axpe, which consists of a workshop-installation to reflect on the limits of the home. Specifically, it proposes to draw, to scale and in the public space, the floor plan of the house of a childless couple that was exhibited at the contemporary housing fair in Berlin in 1931. It will seek to approach what this limit should be or how it should be understood for a dwelling to be a home, an approach to the lines that delimit the concept of the dwelling as a place of rest and life.

Line II of the call for proposals is aimed at conferences, seminars, lectures, round tables, workshops and workshops on urban design and contemporary architecture in the Basque Country. Endowed with 117,401.20 euros, it will promote four different projects. Among them is ‘Rhizoma’, a proposal by the architects Victoria Collar and Jon Garbizu (Garbizu Collar Architects), Gonzalo Peña (KRI Studio) and Diego Sologuren, in collaboration with the company Egoin Wood Group and Chillida Leku. This is an essay on new models of housing that goes through the demystification of the historical typology of the Basque farmhouse: the ‘baserri’. The programme deals with the domestic, historical, constructive and territorial aspects of this architecture, framed in a series of conferences, meetings and workshops, as well as an exhibition piece. All of this will take place at the Chillida Leku museum.

The Maushaus association will be bringing back its children's workshops this year thanks to its ‘Remake’ proposal. On this occasion, three meetings will be held at the Basque Institute of Architecture, through which the messages and ideas that Heidegger expressed in his lecture ‘Building, Inhabiting, Thinking’ (Darmstadt, 1951), which is the inspiration for the theoretical framework of this edition of Mugak/, will be brought together in a common language.

One of this year's freshest proposals comes from the Bilbao practice BeAr Architects which, under the name ‘disco-TEKAK. Temples of bumping on the coast of Gipuzkoa’, launches a reflection on the social phenomenon of discotheques as leisure spaces and their territorial relationship. Thus, it proposes a way of revisiting the architecture of leisure, its design and its intertwining with the model of youth leisure through conferences and guided tours of some of these buildings.

‘Periferiak: peripheral and ephemeral’ is the proposal of the Gipuzkoa delegation of the Official Association of Basque Architects of Navarre, in collaboration with AHIKU-Arkitektura eta hiri kultura. It will consist of participatory weekend walks in the Trintxerpe neighbourhood in Pasaia, in which the public will be accompanied by architecture professionals and various artists, including the renowned Maider López. Trintxerpe is a singular urban space, peripheral, degraded and borderline, which will serve as a conceptual framework to promote collective reflection between citizens, architecture and art.

Finally, line III, with a budget of 25,000.00 euros, is dedicated to promoting publications, documentaries and IT tools. Two projects have been selected within this modality. The first, ‘Trazas de ronda’, is the proposal of the architects Jaime Gutiérrez Armendariz, Andrea Aguilera Ruiz and Itziar Molinero Miranda. It is a publication that records the architecture lived in a building in the old quarter of Bilbao, in the form of a forensic exercise. It will be a graphic document that will show the life, adaptations and pedagogical possibilities offered by this system for analysing inhabited spaces. Finally, ' Rethink to reinhabit the domestic’ is the proposal of HALO arkitektura, an informative guide, in booklet format, which will promote reflection on inhabiting the home.

The Programme is being prepared