For the sixth straight year, the ESARQ - School of Architecture at UIC Barcelona inaugurates an exhibition of Final Degree Projects

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Yesterday, 20 July, the Rei Martí Water Deposit, an old water deposit located near the Bellesguard Tower in Barcelona and recently repurposed as a cultural centre, has opened its doors to host the exhibition of Final Degree Projects titled “Full Contact: Barcelona-Llobregat City”, organised by the ESARQ - School of Architecture at UIC Barcelona.

For the sixth straight year, the ESARQ - School of Architecture at UIC Barcelona inaugurates an exhibition of Final Degree Projects

The exhibit, which will be open to the public during the weekends of July and September, includes projects that acknowledge and advocate the enormous potential of the system of towns comprising Molins de Rei, Pallejà, Sant Vicenç dels Horts and Sant Feliu de Llobregat, which, bisected by a river park, act like a new territory, like a “single city”: Llobregat City.

During the inauguration, experts such as Salvador Rueda, director of BCNecologia; Carlos Quintans, curator of the Spanish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale; Josep Bohigas, director-general of Barcelona Regional; Rosa Rull architect at Bailo i Rull; and responsible for contents of the European Prize for Urban Public Space at the CCCB David Bravo took part in a dialectic battle aimed at sparking reflection. An open debate on issues ranging from the pertinence of involving the academic world in initiatives that provide real world settings to today’s territorial problems to the perspectives of institutions, bodies and professionals on the metropolitan city and its design.

The 2016-2017 Final Degree Projects (TFGs) were carried out with support from the Town Planning Service of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona and focused their attention on the Lower Llobregat Valley, a more than 10km-long stretch of river that, together with the Delta, makes up the Llobregat Metropolitan Corridor, an area of exceptional ecological, economic and social value for the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and for Catalonia as a whole, thanks to the numerous functions it has served throughout history.

The 20 projects comprising the exhibition “Full Contact: Barcelona-Llobregat City” were carried out by students in their final year at the ESARQ - School of Architecture at UIC Barcelona. These students, divided into four workshops directed by architects Iñaki Baquero, Álvaro Cuéllar, Alberto T. Estévez, Miquel Lacasta, Juan Trias de Bes and Pere Vall, based their proposals on a common hypothesis that takes the Llobregat River Park as the civic heart of a “single city”. In other words, each student undertook a specific project as part of a unitary territorial and urban proposal aimed at rehabilitating the edges of the Lower Llobregat Valley’s flood plain and turning the area into a central metropolitan park for cities on both sides of the Llobregat River, ensuring the interconnection of the urban centres and river park by foot and bike

On the basis of this hypothesis, which was developed by the students under the coordination of architects Pere Vall and Álvaro Cuéllar, each workshop performed a strategic cross section of the Lower Llobregat Valley with a particular programme focus. Leveraging this cross-disciplinary perspective, the students designed civic matrices comprised of public spaces and relevant architecture to ensure a smooth transition between urban and rural spaces, as well as the environmental quality and formal coherence of the peri-urban landscape.

With the 2017-2018 edition of the TFGs, the ESARQ - School of Architecture at UIC Barcelona will complete and put an end to a cycle of four Final Degree Project courses focused on the riparian landscapes of the Besós and Llobregat rivers, which flank the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. A tetralogy that fulfils the commitment the School undertook in the agreement entered into with the General-Directorate of Urbanism of the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of Territory and Sustainability, whereby it agreed to contribute to the regeneration of strategic areas of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.

Thanks to the cooperation of a number of institutions, the Final Degree Project course at the ESARQ - School of Architecture at UIC Barcelona has become a laboratory of useful ideas for a more efficient, more beautiful and more just metropolitan city, as well as an applied research project through the completion of a multi-level project ranging in scale from territory to construction detail. This confirms the School’s desire and commitment to serve the city and its community and take its students’ projects beyond the classroom. This initiative was recognised with an award for research at the 2016 Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, which honours architecture promotion activities with a strong social-transmission factor.