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Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura

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The third edition of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial Mugak/ will open exhibitions in the three Basque capitals

  • The central exhibition of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial, on the creative process of Carme Pinós, will take place at the Institute of Architecture of the Basque Country in San Sebastián; Bilbao will host the first exhibition on Juan Daniel Fullaondo; and Vitoria will host Housing the Basque Country
  • In 2021, Mugak/ will explore the conceptual boundaries between ‘Heritage and Modernity’
  • The first edition of the Galernak Atlantic Architecture Film Festival will be held within the framework of Mugak/

The three Basque main cities will host exhibitions and conferences in the third edition of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial Mugak/, presented this Wednesday at the Institute of Architecture of the Basque Country. The main Basque architectural event will take place between October 27 and November 27 of this year under the heading Heritage and Modernity, a motto that will run through the entire program, starting with the reflection on the creative process of Carme Pinós, the central exhibition of this edition.

The main Mugak/ exhibition will be located in the Institute itself in San Sebastián and will meander through the creative process and the way of working of the Catalan architect, with the ideas and influences that led her to create five buildings in Mexico, Zaragoza, Australia, Barcelona or Mallorca. Carme Pinós: Context and Concepts will go through her inspiration with sketches, models, drawings, plans and photographs, and will collect the influences that Pinós has received, a whole cultural and formal baggage when it comes to projecting. Through this monograph created expressly for its location in the Institute of Architecture of the Basque Country, and which will contain furniture and objects created by the professional herself in its cloister, the biennial claims the figure of Pinós, an architect with an important international career with projects in Europe, Latin America or Oceania.

The one in Pinós joins Mugak/'s central exhibitions of the first two editions, RCR Arquitectes in 2017, a study that was awarded the Pritzker Prize that same year, and The Design of the Ulm School and the Braun company, in 2019.

In Vitoria, the Amárica room will host the exhibition Housing the Basque Country, a visual history of almost 40 years of public housing in the Basque Country, a pioneer autonomous community in policies on this matter and in the drafting of regulations such as the current Housing Law, which recognizes the subjective right to have a decent home. The exhibition, an own production of the Institute of Architecture of the Basque Country, narrates through 30 projects of building houses how social realities, architectural evolution, economic and productive approaches or the sociological reality of the moment converge in them. In short, how the Basque Country has evolved since 1981 and how society has progressed alongside its built space.

Bilbao, for its part, will host the exhibition Bilbao's architectures by Juan Daniel Fullaondo, 1964-1978, winner of the National Architecture Prize in 1962. It focuses on the architect's intense bond with his city, through a selection of works and projects and the issues of the architecture magazine Nueva Forma, of which he was the director, and in which Bilbao and the production of Basque artists, such as Jorge Oteiza and Eduardo Chillida, had a notorious presence. Organized by the UPV / EHU School of Architecture and developed with the collaboration of its students, it is the first exhibition to be held on this outstanding architect from the second half of the 20th century. The purpose of the exhibition is to highlight Fullaondo as one of the key figures in modern Spanish architecture.

The three capitals will also host the Artisans of design street exhibition, created by the Basque Country's equipment, furniture and design cluster, Habic, within the biennial in order to value the work Basque companies have done for years in the the field of furniture design, today converted into international benchmarks in the sector. It will do so through the stories of eight organizations and the people who have made them possible, who will travel from one capital to another during the month of November.

With these last three exhibitions, and others that will complete the biennial program, Mugak/ is extending its exhibition program to Vitoria and Bilbao for the first time, which until now had hosted conferences, workshops and conferences.

Heritage and modernity

The Basque Government Minister for Land Planning, Housing and Transport, Iñaki Arriola, whose department organizes the Biennial, explained this Wednesday that Mugak/ is consolidated as an appointment for the “dialogue of architecture with citizens, urban planning, culture and design; a point to value the importance of architecture as the element that supports the quality of the inhabited environment”. It will be a third edition "of consolidation, more relaxed and reflective, with a contained tone due to the pandemic, which in spite of everything has fortunately not stopped this sector". Arriola stressed that, at the gates of one of the greatest waves of renovation of the built heritage in Europe sponsored by European funds, it is the right moment to analyze the relationships of current architecture with its own history.

And it is that the biennial will continue to focus, as its name indicates, on the boundaries, this time between heritage -the past-, and modernity -the future-, on how both times coexist in the reality of cities that are permanently changing and see how this evolution is accelerated due to digitization and social changes. The motto for 2021 will be Heritage and Modernity, and the exhibitions, conferences, workshops and film screenings will become a dialogue with the citizens around him.

“The biennial delves into the diatribe between what is built and what is buildable, about what was and what will be, a movement of destruction and permanent construction that has to walk on the wire of combining the natural processes of transformation that are ever faster with the past history and with what has generated the collective idea of ??the urban - its character”, has synthesized the curator of this edition and also director of the Euskadi Institute of Architecture, José Ángel Medina. Arantzazu 70 urte, the exhibition organized by the Professional Association of Basque-Navarre Architects COAVN, to vindicate the work of its architects, Luis Laorga and Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza, will be an example of this.

“The Biennial invites and encourages us to look at Architecture, always present in our lives but, because it is something so integrated into our daily reality, less valued and recognized than it deserves as an artistic discipline and shared heritage. Knowing that the Housing Department shares this concern and verifying the effort they make both in this initiative and in the programming developed through the Institute of Architecture of the Basque Country, deserves our sincere thanks and congratulations”, Mari Jose Telleria, Director of Culture of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, said.

From the Provincial Council of Álava, which participates for the first time in Mugak/, the Provincial Deputy for Culture and Sports, Ana del Val, has valued "the successful commitment of the Biennial to take exhibitions to all territories and choose for Álava, in its first participation, one on the almost 40 years of life of public housing in Euskadi, whose capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz and its expansion, would not be understood without the effort of the public housing as a catalyst for the start of vital projects of thousands of people".

Perspectives of young architecture 

Among its novelties, Mugak/ will host the first edition of the Galernak Atlantic Architecture Film Festival, which will be held from November 23 to 26 in San Sebastián, screening short films of various cinematographic genres made by architecture students from Europe. The contest is organized by the School of Architecture of the University of the Basque Country and the Elias Querejeta School of Cinema also collaborates in it.

The cycle seeks to reflect on the Atlantic from the point of view of architecture, territory and landscape, and will include talks, film screenings and an exhibition on the history of cinema in San Sebastián. Registration will be open between September 1 and October 15.

Likewise, the biennial will once again host the exhibition on the Peña Ganchegui Prize to Young Basque Architecture, organized by the Peña Ganchegui Archive with the support of the Department of Housing of the Basque Government. The call for this -also third- edition of the award is open until July 25. The finalist and winning projects will be exhibited to the public during Mugak/, which will in turn be designed by the winners of the previous edition of the award.


The Programme is being prepared