Museums and exhibition spaces


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Can Framis Museum in 22@. Vila Casas Foundation

Jordi Badia, arquitecto

FAD Award 2010  Architecture opinion
Description Technical file

Contrasting with some of the closer and more emblematic buildings of Barcelona, Can Framis emerges from basic, readymade materials, with denuded shapes and rotund volumes. The aggregation formed by the two restored warehouses is reminiscent of the industrial past of the Poble Nou district, and together with the new building that unites them they form a large square which serves as a foyer for the museum. Now a prominent container for architecture, the museum's mission is to display an important collection of contemporary Catalan paintings.

The Vila Casas Foundation
Formed in 1986, the Vila Casas Foundation carries out several activities in different artistic fields, as well as those of healthcare and dissemination of culture. It boasts a collection of more than eight hundred paintings by artists such as Frederic Amat, Antoni Clavé, Modest Cuixart, Josep M. Guerrero Medina, Josep Guinovart, Joan Hernández Pijuán, Antoni Llena, Lluís Marsans, Albert Ráfols Casamada, Antoni Tápies, Xavier Valls, Julio Vaquero and Joan-Pere Viladecans

Exhibition Route
The totality occupies a surface of approximately six thousand square metres, of which 3,400 are dedicated to exhibition halls, 400 to offices, storage space (more than 300 works are not on display) and 90 to educational workshops which are geared towards the multiplicity of artistic styles shown. These workshops have been designed taking into account the two different educational paths employed by many Catalan schools.
The typology of the exhibition halls follows the guidelines of other contemporary museums in the sense that its halls are expansive, formally austere and predominantly white.
The complex is surrounded by a large landscaped park and its rear side is connected to the Faculty of Image and Communication of the Pompeu Fabra University, as well as the Media Factory, a museum revolving around the audiovisual medium which will display, among other things, over 15,000 pieces from the Queraltó collection of cinema objects. Some of its future neighbours are the Museum of Design and a project promoted by the Metropolitan gallery.

The intervention, according to Jordi Badia
One of the productive cores of Barcelona, the old neighbourhood of Poble Nou was mainly populated by industrial warehouses completely devoid of architectural interest. The few exceptions which the Heritage Catalogue decided to conserve may create a false image of what this area was really like. In reality, most of the buildings were built precariously through a constant process of addition and applying wholly heterogeneous techniques. The only concern was productivity. Can Framis could be considered an example of this type of building, as it does not conceal its old and deteriorated skin that contrasts with the advanced technology surrounding it.

The contemporary intervention consists of cauterizing the wounds, consolidating the headwalls and building a new structure which connects the two existing warehouses, with the building coinciding in turn with the outline of another old warehouse. The three buildings thus form a patio which serves as the vestibule of the museum as well as a space for polyvalent activities.

All the interventions employ coarse concrete which fuses with the paving. A coat of grey paint protects the existing walls without concealing the original texture (brick, stone, arches, scars from the old windows, etc), creating a contemporary collage of textures, holes and bricked-up panels which reflect the different strata and interventions that the building has undergone over the years.

Inside, the visit begins with a journey by lift to the highest point of the museum, permitting an uninterrupted descent through the exhibition route. The high display density makes the stairs the only formal point of the itinerary.
With the aim of promoting solar energy, characteristic of the Mediterranean, the interior of most of the warehouses contains crevices which illuminate certain areas and harmonise the contemplation of the works.

The garden emphasises the unusual level upon which the museum stands, one and a half metres below the Cerdà grid. This is a product of its previous implantation and it rises at the edges to conceal the surrounding traffic. The ivy on the ground and the white poplars create a decadent and melancholy scene which contrasts starkly with the new aroma of the surroundings.

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Situación: Isla ‘Can Framis’, Distrito 22@. Poble Nou. Barcelona. Autor: Jordi Badia, arquitecto. Colaboradores BAAS: Jordi Framis, director de proyecto, Marta Vitório, Mercè Mundet, Moisés Garcia, Miguel Borrell, Daniel Guerra. Estructuras: BOMA, Josep Ramón Solé. Instalaciones: PGI. Mediciones y presupuesto: FCA Forteza Carbonell Associats. Paisajismo: Martí Franch. Project Management: Layetana. Constructora: Construcciones San José. Promotor Fundació Vila Casas. Layetana. Fotografía: Pedro Pegenaute
Jordi Badía
Pedro Pegenaute