AV62 Architects is collaborating with ELISAVA Design School as tutors for the BCN RE.SET // work in progress, promoted by The Miralles Foundation and Barcelona Municipality, with a project about the "Memory" developed by Grafton Architects.

The project concerns the construction of a temporary pavilion located in the emblematic site of the Arc de Triomf. The installation formed from the idea of " Memory " will be part of the tercentenary celebrations.

Yvonne Farell:

We ask the question: 

How do we remember? What triggers memories?

We are interested in conversations, in stories which hold memories, in story telling. Architecture is a silent language that speaks. It embodies memory, telling its own unique story. We are interested in House as the primary vessel of personal memory.                  

The HOUSE of Memory 

The pavilion has three main elements: Roof, Wall, Floor. 

Roof // The roof is conceived as a matrix of Memory - a type of ‘floating’ house - like a kite - providing some shade, while acting like a beacon, seen from a distance during the day and during the night. 

The dimensions of this matrix are based on the 18th century houses of Barceloneta. The matrix also echoes the 19th century expansion grid of the city of Barcelona, called: the 'Eixample', which was designed by the Catalan Engineer and Urban Planner, Ildefons Cerdà.

Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue uses the term “...Memory to harvest vanished days...” to remember and harvest days gone by. We chose samples of the wonderful photographs of Josep Branguli (1879-1945) from the enormous collection of his photographs in the National Archive of Catalonia. His photographs show us the people of Barcelona in their everyday lives, reminding us of both ordinary and special moments.

Walls // Three separate, free-standing walls represent ‘fragments’ of House and form an enclosure.

Imbedded in one of these walls are clay tiles of plans of houses. These clay tiles and the free -standing clay House ‘Cubes’ models -  made by students of ELISAVA, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering -  are examples of the domestic world representing homes in the Barcelona area from prehistory to the Modern era – exploring Iberian, Roman, Medieval, 18th, 19th, and 20th century examples.

The two other walls are covered in mirrors. These mirrors represent two things. Firstly, they show us ourselves as we are now, as we create new events and new memories. Secondly, mirrors create the illusion that the roof matrix is hovering and that the wall structures appear to vanish. There is a Proverb: No one lies like an eye - witness! It seems that perhaps each of us constructs our own illusions – our own unique and individual memories!

Floor // Inspired by the Barceloneta House, with its original, 18th century dimensions of 8.4 meters by 8.4 meters,  the ground of the pavilion forms a groundscape,  which represents contours and river patterns of Barcelona, now hidden beneath the city.  Below and above the ‘carpet’ of the city floor, all construction over time is the evidence of human values. Like the poet, William Butler Yeas says: “…I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”        

The City as House  -  The House as City 

The ‘domestic’ world is in contrast with the public world of the city. This Memory Box,  this House of Memory acts like a type of ruin - a rendezvous place to chat, to discuss ...inviting us  to remember...