In the 1960s an art movement was born which rejected the locating of art in the traditional habitat of the gallery or museum. Artists such as the American sculptor Robert Smithson reacted to an encroaching commercialization of art typified in the Pop Art movement, by taking their work into the great outdoors, where they would use natural, sustainable materials to create sculptures embedded in the natural landscape. Central to this 'Land Art' or 'Earthworks' movement was the n
From Poblenou's urban lighthouse to the colossal empty husk of a thermo-nuclear plant and a medieval palace containing an astonishing 2000-year old pagan secret, here are five architectural icons which capture the spirit of the cuidad condal. First up is Fundació Tàpies, a 19th Century industrial icon with a modern twist... Fundació Tàpies, Carrer Aragon A wire sculpture by Antoni Tàpies brings a dash of punky bravado to this Domenech I Montaner-designed edifice, just a block
Since the Universal Exposition of 1888, a bronze statue of Chistopher Columbus has towered over the bottom end of Las Ramblas, pointing towards the eastern seaboard, to the continent he wished to reach and never did reach. The base of the 60 metre-tall column is decorated with tributes to his patrons, los Reyes Catolicos, Queen Isabella and King Fernando of Spain, for whom he opened a trail to a new territory and the riches of a 'New World'. It was to Barcelona and a glitzy r
When it comes to the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Family - the Sagrada Familia - everyone sees something different. It's the honeycomb crown on the city’s skyline. It's a gospel, a bible, in stone. It's a three-dimensional intersection of helicoidal columns. It’s ‘the last great sanctuary of christendom’ (Gaudì), or 'Sugar loaves and anthills' (Nikolaus Pevsner). It's either 'the most hideous building in the world' (George Orwell) or 'a marvel of technical perfection' (Walt
Named after a beautiful concubine of Abd al-Rahman III, Medina Azahara is a Moorish palace on a lush mount overlooking the plains to the west of Cordoba. In 929 it was the capital of the Islamic state of Al-Andalus, 'the Versailles of the Middle Ages'. Now the roots of ancient trees wrap the palace’s tumbled stones in a skeletal embrace; sacked centuries ago, many of its rocks were carried off to Cordoba, five miles away, for the construction of churches and civic buildings.
Rising like a termite mound out of the suburb of Sant Just Desvern, Walden 7 has long been considered an epic achievement in design failure. Every day groups of student architects form in its shadow, furiously scribbling in their notebooks as they try to make sense of it. A clay-red, curving, 'vertical labyrinth' consisting of 18 towers, with apartments made up of one or more 30 square metre modules accessed via a vertiginous maze of inner stairwells and patios, the building
Name: Capçanes Occupation: Catalan village, located in the El Vall foothills of the Priorat region. In the news because: It’s the site of a major archaeological find; a huge concentration of prehistoric artifacts said to be the most exciting discovery in Levantine Art in the last 35 years. Come again: Levantine Art, also known as ‘Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin.’ Cave paintings then? Yup. The area of the Mediterranean coast between Catalonia and Almeria is one of