In Bologna, Alfons Puigarnau discusses the urban scenography of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

19/09/19
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The lecturer from UIC Barcelona School of Architecture took part in the 9th Congress of the Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana (AISU)

In Bologna, Alfons Puigarnau discusses the urban scenography of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter
@Olga Yakovlenko

On September 13, Alfons Puigarnau, Professor of Critical Thinking and Aesthetics at UIC Barcelona School of Architecture took part in the 9th International Congress of the AISU. The conference, which this year was entitled “The global city. The urban condition as a pervasive phenomenon," was held by the Department of Architecture of the University of Bologna between 11-14 September and brought together researchers from all over the world. 

Alfons Puigarnau presented a paper entitled "Urban Scenography: The Barcelona Gothic Quarter and the musealisation of Medieval architecture for tourists". which discussed how, following the opening of Vía Laietana at the beginning of the 20th century, it was decided to move a series of buildings from the Middle Ages, as part of a great urban scenography aimed at making the area around Barcelona’s Cathedral more historical. The professor explains, "Many tourists, but also locals born and bred in Barcelona, continue to believe that the Gothic Quarter is an original creation of the 15th and 16th centuries. However, the genius lies in having created a perfect urban scenography around the cathedral, which constituted a outdoor museum phenomenon associated with the Barcelona brand.” 

The AISU congress is a interdisciplinary event, which this year focused on urban globalisation, a phenomenon that leads to the construction of a plural and widespread geography of cultures and stories, sometimes to the detriment of values such as diversity and specificity. The events organisers noted, "the excessive urban impregnation of the planet threatens the identity of cultural environments that are fragile or less well known than the big metropolises of postmodernity.”