The 23rd edition of the Vertical Workshop revives the memory of the Capella de la Misericòrdia

06/09/19
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Architecture students in years two through five will propose new ways of using the desacralised church, located in the Raval district of Barcelona

The 23rd edition of the Vertical Workshop revives the memory of the Capella de la Misericòrdia

3 September marked the official start of the 23rd edition of the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture’s Vertical Workshop, which this year is entitled “Silent Walls: Reusing la Capella de la Misericòrdia”. Over the course of one week, students in years two through five of the Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture will be split into teams and, working together, propose new ways of using the Capella de la Misericòrdia, or Chapel of Mercy, a 19th-century desacralised church in the Raval district of Barcelona, which has been subject to an intense debate surrounding its future, given the opposition of several social and neighbourhood platforms to its use as an extension of the Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona (MACBA). 

This new edition of the Vertical Workshop is directed by Ricardo Gómez Val and coordinated by Íñigo Ugalde, both holders of a PhD in Architecture and lecturers in the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture. Each group of students is also coordinated by renowned professionals, which this year include Leopoldo Gil, director of Heritage for the Provincial Council of Navarre; Alba Arboix, member of the teaching staff at the Higher Technical School of Architecture of Barcelona (ETSAB); Joan Argemí, from the Argemí-Ballbè studio; Enrique Arenas, from the firm Arenas Basabe Palacios Arquitectos; and Eduardo Delgado Orusco, a lecturer in the School of Architecture at the University of Zaragoza. 

The event held to inaugurate the workshop included the School’s director, Josep Lluís i Ginovart, who was followed by Marc Aureli Santos, director of Urban Architecture and Heritage for the Barcelona City Council, who, in his lecture, explained to the students the building’s main heritage features and the social and urban history of the district of Raval. The students will also attend conferences featuring representatives from the neighbourhood platform CAP Raval Nord and representatives from MACBA, which will shed light on the dispute between the district’s residents and the museum regarding the future use of the chapel. 

On Saturday 7 September, the students’ full-scale models will be raised and installed in situ, where they will be evaluated by a jury made up of Marc Aureli Santos, Javier Viver, sculptor and winner of the Spanish National Fine Arts Award, and School lecturer Kathrin Golda-Pongratz. That same day, the “making of” videos created by the students during the week-long workshop will also be shown.