"Architecture is not like sculpture. It is a living thing. It is experienced in sections and is reconstructed in the head of each of us. It should be experienced on different days, hours, and moods." With this premise Albert Viaplana, together with Helio Piñón
, revolutionised contemporary Barcelona
and opened the doors to a new way of understanding public space. One of the major projects to demonstrate this is the Plaça dels Països Catalans of Barcelona (1981-1983), opposite the Estació de Sants.
Viaplana and Piñón designed a space from cement, without vegetation
and with two large copper sheet roofs. They sought out a timeless and minimalist proposal
, expressed in abstract, simple and anonymous lines, so that anyone could use it. This project, at the forefront of architectural deconstructivism
, earned them the FAD Prize for architecture.
The Plaça dels Països Catalans became the model for the new public squares promoted in the 1980s by the City Council, known as "hard squares
", which at the time caused public controversy for their coldness. But beyond the abstraction, the square is full of human and poetic details like the silhouette of a cat on the roof, of natural size, made with metal plate; an opening in the manner of a window; and some fountains.