Architecture students take their proposals for the future of La Model prison to the ÚS Barcelona Festival

28/09/18
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The students’ projects put forward new social and cultural uses for the former prison

Architecture students take their proposals for the future of La Model prison to the ÚS Barcelona Festival
©Ajuntament de Barcelona

UIC Barcelona School of Architecture is taking part in the latest edition of the Ús Barcelona Festival taking place between 2 and 7 October. This edition aims to find new uses for the former La Model prison, which has been subject to intense debate after it finally closed in June 2017. Specifically, the school is taking part in the “Jail Lab” section of the festival with an exhibit made up of work by ten Architecture students. These pieces giving careful thought to the future of the prison and showcase specific proposals for its future.

The exhibit has been curated by the lecturers Josep Lluís i Ginovart, Juan Trías de Bes, María Barcina and Ana Cocho-Bermejo, and is the result of work carried out last year as part of the subject “Design Studio 3 & 4”. As a preliminary step, the students analysed the physical and emotional past of La Model prison under the supervision of lecturers Josep Lluís, Mónica López and Ricardo Gómez. Resulting from this analysis, the students worked on proposals under the supervision of the same lecturers curating the exhibit on display in the prison during the festival.  “The future of the prison should not be played down because the building is intrinsically tied to a series of events which have left a traumatic stamp on the memory of Barcelona society”, said Juan Trías de Bes. 

The students’ projects put forward a number of uses for the building, from redeveloping it into social housing, creating a memorial museum or providing the city with a new cultural space.  The students have approached the project in a number of different ways. There are proposals envisaging a refurbishment of the whole constructed space and other ones which push for a radical redevelopment of the building while keeping some memorial elements from the past to stop the prison’s history from withering in the city’s collective memory”, added Ana Cocho-Bermejo. 

Ús Barcelona is a festival organised by Rebobinart with the support of Barcelona City Hall and the Government of Catalonia. The aim of the festival is to salvage disused spaces by providing them with new uses through urban art and participation from the general public. UIC Barcelona School of Architecture is the only architecture school taking part in the “Jail Lab” project, which will also include proposals from design and photography schools such as Elisava or Seeway. The students’ projects can be visited in cells 307, 308 and 309 in gallery 4 of the former prison.