Maurici Pla

The plans and completed projects presented on this page are the result of more than twenty years of perseverance in work that still has a long way to go. It is about a team of architects, born between 1954 and 1958, who although not a large group, are extremely adaptable and forward thinking. They are able to combine the authorship of each project; depending on the circumstances or the availability, becoming a magnificent exponent of a generation with a wide understanding of the subtleties of architecture. These architects received an education in the Escola d’Arquitectura of Barcelona during the Seventies and Eighties. They gained the best possible training from an older generation who had taken the leading role in the recovery and the discussion of modern architecture in Catalonia. Therefore when it’s time to analyze these projects it is important to see the wider tradition behind it. Some  concepts are shared by several contemporary and also subsequent architects. This tradition is made out of little tints and tones, with ephemeral strengths achieved by constant experimentation. This defines a specific way of working which you can clearly identify in all these projects. Despite everything, analyzing every project in this way you can always discover fresh ideas and a will to find new solutions, inventiveness, and creativity. It is not, then, a  fixed trend but a way of creating, understood in its widest sense that allows a wide margin for experimentation and decision making to those who have been trained between these fixed parameters.

Supporting this way of working there is a solid desire to put in order the furnishing of the city. This is to a great extent reflected in the tenders they win, in the urban character they assume and in the buildings they plan. And also in the actual bright urban dimension they demonstrate in all their approaches.  Thus, behind every project you must read more into it than an isolated idea made to strengthen the ways they furnish the city. When talking about the refurbishing or remodeling of buildings, the main aspect of the restyled building is understood as an urban fact that stands, guiding the criteria of remodeling that links the updated areas with the fixed requirements of the cities public domains. This work, covering more than 20 years, must be appreciated as an important creative presence in public facilities in the city and therefore it constitutes a desire for urban morphology. So, formal experimentation, instead of being regarded as a constriction and limitation, is actually a release from composited arrangements and it opens its doors to invention and a delight in evolution. In this way, the urban outline is not read as a limited series of laws and constrictions, but as a homeland that opens its doors to a composition which even allows for fantasy as can be seen in many of these city constructions whether projected or built. It eschews repetition and it aims for innovation and change. This is how public facilities should be in becoming part of the urban network: this is the lesson learnt from these projects.

Among the large variety of projects created throughout these years the theatre buildings obviously are highlights. The study of these theatres gives us information on the urban sites specifications and from the differences between the plans but also about never ending search for solutions always varying for the same problem either the roof, the acoustic ceiling or the  black box. Here, the project must fit perfectly the outline form and inner area structure. The outline volume, the finishing materials, the ground floor organization: all that encapsulates the outer theatre dimension. Somehow, it is a denial of the type, more than a submission to it: the plan is fed with all that is far from the stereotype, and it develops with all these elements with to an atypical, unique position. It seems that the architectural plan regenerates under the searchlight of these sample models, and every project requires some research. From the very beginning they search for a distinction in every single building with the intention of placing a stamp of an individual personality.

None of these projects are the result of a fix resolution but of a hard reflection work about the most concrete and specific aspects linked to specific sites and to a fixed program. This will never lead to standardization of solutions as there are not two theatres or identical neighborhoods as not two exact social demands exist. The superimposed notion of a certain site and a certain reality leads to an extremely precise distribution of some vacuous and solids where you can preview other minor threats like the way to introduce the light in the insides, how to air conditioning them, how to control the acoustic conditions or how to build them. All these project keys of different scales, are reflected and synthetized in a situation plan where you can figure out the own character the building will hold or, in most cases the ensemble of buildings. In this situation map, which turns up to be determined in the definition of all the scales of the Project, you can also observe a clear wish of supplying of new open spaces to the urban network where it is placed. Because of that every Project has to activate a reflection always renewed, always restarted from the very beginning and absolutely new: because the specific nature of a very building is the result of some special conditions always different form those in the project and that will never ape in the next one.

Those theatres seem to contradict the thesis of Le Corbusier and Aldo Rossi, those who negate the convenience of specific buildings for the theatrical activities. Le Corbusier never intended to build a theatre and Rossi built one on the water, The Teatro del Mondo, and another, the Teatrino Scientifico, a homemade theatre conceived for scenic experiments. Both of these important architects argue, each in their own era, that the theatrical activity should not have a preconceived architectural style.

The theatres built by our architects in numerous cities in Catalonia give back the urban dimension of the theatre edification and broadly demonstrate the viability of an architecture specific to theaters. It is all about a realistic vision of the city and its facilities, quite conditioned, due to its realistic way drawn from the architectural tradition which are engraved. That seems to deny and resist the most theoretical and illustrated position from those great masters of the XXth Century.