BCQ Baena Casamor’s first exhibition in Germany has been given the significant title “Architectonic Landscapes”. The theme alludes to more than one’s own understanding of the close relationship between architecture as built object and the open space surrounding it (or the other way around). At the same time, “architectonic landscape” refers to a special characteristic of Spanish architects’ work. The strict separation of a building’s architecture and the landscape does not exist to the degree that is usually the case in, for example, German-speaking cultural circles. Positive and negative spatial volumes are viewed more in their dialectical oneness; by nature, to the advantage of both.
The exhibition shows a carefully selected series of two photographs per project — an overview and detail shot. The minimalistic motifs in the detail photos draw the most attention, demanding careful examination and consciously allowing broad associations. Each of these image pairs is completed with a concise statement that further advances the spectrum and breadth of associations through its powerful poetics. Statements like: “Sometimes one must disappear in order to be present” or “History settles under our feet. Discovering it is an act of silence” serve less to provide a concrete explanation of construction, material or program, but rather reveal glimpses of the architects’ thought processes, like an open sketchbook.
A video discussion between Toni Casamor and David Baena, as well as a catalogue extensively documenting the most important projects complement this composition of image and text. BCQ filled the gallery space with objects resembling the seating elements used in the current project for the Joan Maragall Library in Barcelona, so that visitors can sit undisturbed in their study of the exhibition. This seating “flows” outside of the gallery and thus forms an inviting landscape in urban space.
Toni Casamor and David Baena founded BCQ Baena Casamor in 1991 in Barcelona. Since then, they have completed numerous projects of various scale, for example, the archaeological park Plaza Vila de Madrid in Barcelona (2003), the municipal gym in Olot, Girona (2010), the Social Security headquarters and Badalona residential housing in Barcelona (both in 2011) and the Alt Maresme Nord water treatment plant (2012). A library in Barcelona is currently under construction.