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Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura

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The second edition of the Architecture Biennial MUGAK will offer around a hundred activities before the end of the year


  • With the Old Town of San Sebastian as main location, the Biennial will offer exhibitions, a series of lectures, conferences and congresses, workshops, screenings and guided visits that will try to bring Architecture closer to citizenry.
  • The programme, in which 25 entities and associations are participating, was presented today. This autumn, MUGAK will welcome internationally renowned architects, such as Álvaro Siza from Portugal, Rafael Moneo from Spain, Stephen Bates from the UK, Lacaton&Vassal from France, Tatiana Bilbao from Mexico and Barclay and Crousse from Peru.
  • It will also host emerging national architects such as Emiliano López and Mónica Rivera or ADDENDA Architects. Germany will be well represented by Klaus Klemp, Martin Mantele and René Spitz, who are invited in connection with the Biennial’s main exhibition.
  • The active participation of Universities really marks this Biennial out: 150 students of eight different Spanish and European Schools of Architecture will attend the Biennial in the third week of October.


Two years later, the Basque Country will see another architectural autumn. The second edition of the International Biennial MUGAK will offer the public a hundred events free of charge, such as exhibitions, workshops, lectures, conferences and congresses, screenings, guided visits and other activities aimed at bringing architecture closer to citizenry.

The programme was presented this morning, still pending of final details that will be confirmed soon. It seeks to be “balanced, comprehensive, plural and participatory”, in words of Pedro Astigarraga, MUGAK curator and architect from Gipuzkoa. This time, the Department of Environment, Regional Planning and Housing of the Basque Government -the institution that leads the organisation of the Biennial- has collaborated with 24 institutions, entities and partner associations, which also took part in the presentation.

Invitation to Schools of Architecture from France, Germany and Poland

Once again, there is an outstanding participation of the School of Architecture of the University of the Basque Country, which will move its lectures and students to the Old Town of San Sebastian for a week in order to have an ‘in situ’ experience of the Biennial. But they won’t be alone. 150 students from eight Spanish and European schools of architecture are invited to join them and work together from the 21st to the 25th of October, during the so-called MUGAK Schools Week 2019. Students will be coming from Toledo, Coruña, el Vallés and Seville, as well as from Bordeaux and Montpellier (France), Karlsruhe (Germany) and Wroclaw (Poland).

Among the hundred scheduled activities, there will be twenty exhibitions. The main show of this Biennial edition will take place in two locations: the Basque Country Architecture Institute (EAI-IAE), in the Santa Teresa Convent, and the San Telmo Museum (STM). It will be devoted to the Ulm School (hfg ULM).  Founded in 1953, it developed its teaching activity until 1968 and exerted a decisive influence on the planning, architecture and design of the top brands of German industry that are known to us now.

The Ulm School researched and developed urban planning, industrial architecture, product design, graphic design and communication. It continued and developed the Bauhaus Weimar-Dessau-Berlin, which is celebrating its centenary this year. In fact, Ulm’s first rector was Max Bill, a Swiss artist, architect and designer as well as former Bauhaus student. The exhibition will  be complemented by conferences and workshops related to the Ulm School, which will be attended by Klaus Klemp, Martin Mantele and René Spitz.

Besides the main exhibition, there will be many other relevant show, for example:

  • Nakagin Capsule Tower 1:1’, an installation proposed by the association Atari, devoted to the Tokio emblematic residential and office building that was finished in 1972. A capsule will be reproduced in real size and exhibited on the terraces beside the Club Nautico.
  • A pavilion created by the Professional Association of Basque-Navarre Architects COAVN will be exhibited in the Zuloaga square and later on in the Rezola Cement Museum. It will show an interactive exhibition entitled ‘Cross-generational Housing’, aimed at raising awareness in society as whole of the need of a new architectural design for new dwellings in the 21st century.
  • The exhibition ‘Hiru Eliza - Three Churches. Sacral revisionist architecture’ is a proposal by the Peña Ganchegui Archive on three churches built in Vitoria-Gasteiz between 1958 and 1968 (Los Ángeles, by Javier Carvajal and José Mª García de Paredes; la Coronación, by Miguel Fisac, and San Francisco de Asís, by Luis Peña Ganchegui) that will be shown in the Diocesan Museum of San Sebastian.
  • The exhibition in Bilbao about the actions taken on the Zorrozaurre peninsula, entitled ‘Zorrozaurre, from La Ribera to the Island’, is organised by the Eraikune cluster.
  • The exhibition on ‘The Monument Site in the Old Town of San Sebastian’ is organised by the association Áncora and will be shown at the Basque Country Architecture Institute (EAI-IAE).

The prize-giving ceremony of the Peña Ganchegui Awards to Young Basque Architecture will take place at the Architecture Institute on the 10th of October and officially open this year’s Biennial. The works competing in this edition of the Awards will also generate an exhibition that will be shown in the same IAE.

Besides, several art galleries of San Sebastian (Altxerri, Arteko, Ekain and Kur) will join this architecture festival again by organising their own exhibitions.

Prestigious Speakers

MUGAK will give the opportunity to know first hand the reflections of internationally renowned architects. The series of conferences will include the participation of two Pritzker prize winners: Álvaro Siza from Portugal (who will have a conversation with the Catalan architect Carles Muro) and Rafael Moneo from Navarre, who will talk to the journalist Iñaki Gabilondo in the framework of the 20th anniversary of the Kursaal Palace.

They will be joined by other great names of present architecture, such as Anne Lacaton and Jean Philippe Vassal from France, winners of this year’s EU ‘Mies van der Rohe’ Award. They will close the summer course on housing that will take place in the Architecture Institute from the 17th to the 19th of September and is considered to be a pre-Biennial event.

MUGAK has engaged almost a hundred expert speakers. In the list, there are first-rank names, such as Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse from Peru, Tatiana Bilbao from Mexico or Stephen Bates from the British studio Sergison Bates. Emerging national architects will also be present, such as Emiliano López and Mónica Rivera or ADDENDA Architects.

The activities will be complemented by screenings, seven workshops (most of them for children) and conferences such as the one on Zorrozaurre in Bilbao, or on landscape and city in the Artium Museum of Vitoria. Other activities are not so easy to classify, such as a live magazine programme hosted at Bilborock related to the Urban Bat festival, or different actions that will take place in the Trinidad square in San Sebastian.

This year, the congress Euskal Hiria, devoted to urban planning, will be linked to MUGAK and break down the boundaries between urban planning, architecture and citizenry.

The first pre-Biennial activity, an exhibition in the School of Architecture by Juan Jiménez, will warm up the atmosphere. 

The Programme is being prepared