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ENRIC MIRALLES
 
 
 
 
  Name   Enric Miralles Moya
       
  Born   February 12, 1955
       
  Died   July 3, 2000
       
  Nationality   Spain
       
  School    
       
  Official website   www.mirallestagliabue.com
     
 
BIOGRAPHY        
    Enric Miralles (1955-2000) and Carme Pinds (1954—) worked
together in a brief but prolific partnership from 1984 to

1989, Their reputation was established through numerous
competition-winning schemes for civic projects sponsored by
enlightened political leadership to stimulate the renaissance of
Catalan culture following the death of Spanish dictator Francisco
Franco. Although only a few of these schemes were realized,
Miralles and Pinés achieved worldwide recognition for their ex-
quisite drawings and for a modest and distinguished body of
work.

Enric Miralles was born in Barcelona, where he attended the
School of Architecture, receiving his professional degree in 1978
and a doctorate in 1981. He worked with Helio Pifion and
Albert Viaplana from 1973 to 1985 on prize-winning competi-
tion entries and on built projects including Sants Plaza and Besos
Park in Barcelona. Carme Pinds is also a native of Barcelona;
she graduated from the School of Architecture in 1979. She was
awarded first prize in the Rural Housing Competition of the
Ministry of Public Works and Urbanism in 1982.

Completed civic projects for which the design was initiated
by Miralles and Pinds include, in chronological order of com-
mencement: La Llauna School (1994), Igualada Cemetery
(1996), the pergolas of Parets des Vallés (1986), Hostalets Civic
Center (1992), Morella School (1994), the Mina Quarter Civic
Center (1992), Reus Rambla (1993), Huesca Sports Center
(1994), the Archery Ranges (1992) and the Icaria Avenue Pergo-
las (1992) for the Olympic Games in Barcelona, and the Alicante
Eurhythmic Sports Center (1993). In addition, a private resi-
dence, the Garau-Agusti House (1992), was completed. After
the partnership ended, one or other of the newly independent
offices subsequently administered the final design and construc-
tion of many of these projects.

Although the work of Miralles and Pinds clearly grew out of
regional influences, including the surrealism and inventive form
of Antoni Gaudi and Josep Maria Jujol, it also distills and carries
forward more universally understood themes of 20th-century
modernism. Like the work of Alvar Aalto, which moved away
from the notion of the building as an ideal type superimposed
on a tabula rasa, the formal and material language of Miralles
and Pinés may be characterized as topographical, both emerging
out of and amplifying the characteristics of site, program, and
culture. Moving beyond the superficial contextualism of post-
modernism, the work aspires to be deeply contextual, revealing
intrinsic relationships between built form and landform and be-
tween nature and culture.

While exhibiting fragmented formal and spatial attributes
similar to the work of the deconstructivists, Miralles and Pindés
eschewed both the cynicism and theoretical focus of that move-
ment. Maintaining a firm commitment to the inherited social

“idealism of modernism, their work reveals a persistent preoccu-
pation with the architectural promenade. The designs feature
dramatization of movement, expressed by elaborately articulated
stairs, ramps, and circulation routes, derived in part from a
strong belief in the power of architecture to stimulate communal
interaction and to shape the social matrices of society. It also is
derived from a focus on direct physical experience and a corre-
sponding disavowal of the representational aspirations of archi-
tecture. A conscious awkwardness and lack of refinement that
are intended to distance the work from the technical virtuosity
of much late 20th-century architecture exemplifies their empha-
sis on the blunt physical presence of construction. This is a
reflection of the influence of the late brutalist work of Le Corbu-

sier and the subsequent generation of new brutalists, notably
Alison and Peter Smithson.

Complexity is another notable characteristic of the work of
Miralles and Pinds. Their buildings are open-ended and flexible
entities built up of overlapping layers, each with its own internal
logic. The plans, rather than being preconceived, express the
aggregative order of the work by emerging from the superimposi-
tion of many layers of information. In section, a limited range of
standard components is subtly inflected to create slightly varying
spatial sequences like a series of freeze-frame photographs. The
architects conceived structure as dynamic components in equi-
librium, and they detailed buildings with multiple layers of mate-
rial that create highly figured tapestries of surface pattern, light,
and shadow. Critics have praised the formal and material inven-
tiveness of Miralles and Pinés but with some reservations. Ken-
neth Frampton suggests that the work tends toward structural
exhibitionism, and William Curtis maintains that its complexity
is mannerist in its overelaboration.

Of the built work of Miralles and Pinds, the most compelling
project is the Igualada Cemetery (1996), a powerful synthesis
of the themes of topography, promenade, blunt physicality, and
complex order. Located on an unpromising site at the edge of
an industrial estate, the cemetery is a simple cut into the earth
that fuses built form with the natural contours of the site. The
scheme transforms the banal rock-filled gabion and precast con-
crete retaining-wall systems of the civil engineer into a richly
expressive tectonic language. Igualada is both fresh and timeless;
it arouses deep and universal emotions while at the same time
being both carefully attuned to its own physical and cultural
location and reflecting the particular sensibilities of its architects.

Awards for the work of Miralles and Pinds include the Fo-
mento de les Arts Decoratives (FAD) Interior Design Prize for
La Llauna School in 1987, the Barcelona Prize for the Archery
Ranges in 1992, the FAD Architecture Prize for Igualada Ceme-
tery in 1992, and the National Prize for Spanish Architecture
for Morella School in 1995.

After 1989, Miralles and Pinds continued their careers sepa-
rately. Pindés designed numerous schemes for sports facilities in
Spain and completed the Petrer pedestrian bridge and plaza in
1999. Miralles completed projects including an industrial bridge
for Camy-Nestlé in Barcelona (1990), the Social Headquarters
for the Circulo de Lectores in Madrid (1992), and the Unazuki
Meditation Pavilion (1993) and Takaoka Station Access Area
(1993) in Japan. Beginning in 1994 until his untimely death in
2000, he worked in partnership with Benedetta Tagliabue and
in 1998-99 won international competitions including the Music
School in Hamburg, the new Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh,
and the Instituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice.

Annetre W. LeCuyER


 
 
 
 
 
 
TIMELINE
    Born in Barcelona, Spain 1955. Graduated from the School of
Architecture, Barcelona 1978; was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar,
Columbia University, New York 1980-81. Married to Carme
Pinés (divorced 1992). Collaborated with Pinon-Viaplana
1973-85. Partnership with Pinds 1984-89. Partner, Enric Mi-
ralles Benedetta Tagliabue Architects Associates, Barcelona from
1992. Professor, from 1978, chair of architecture 1996, School
of Architecture, Barcelona; director, Master Class of Architec-
ture, Stadelschule, Frankfurt from 1990; Kenzo Tange Chair,
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1993; John
Labatou Chair, Princeton University, New Jersey 1994; lecturer,
School of Architecture, University of Syracuse, New York 1996;
lecturer, School of Architecture, University of Illinois, Chicago
1997; lecturer, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
1997-98. Died 3 July 2000 in Barcelona.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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