Architecture as a Stage for Protest
December 6, 2011
All images: Antonio Rull
In the newest issue of MAS Context, entitled “Aberration,” Ethel Baranoa Pohl from Dpr-Barcelona has a great article about the public reappropriation of Jürgen Mayer’s Metropol Parasol in the so-called movement #spanishrevolution which occurred this past May in Spain. What’s interesting about this particular event, she notes, is how the project produces and witnesses unintended effects that lie outside programmatic and jurisdictional concerns. Even before it opened earlier this year, the Metropol Parasol had become an emblem of the excessive high-profile, high-budget projects that contributed in part to the Spain’s overwhelming deficit. Yet, given its large, “megastructure-like” scale, its central location in the city, and its overall urban legibility as a contemporary agora, the Parasol offered exactly the stage to accommodate and to amplify the protester’s demonstrations. Mayer’s topiary of ”magic mushrooms,” then, realizes its social dimension not solely through the architect’s inhering of flexibility to the design–though that may play a considerable role–but also through the conspiring of protesters to actively transform the architecture into a “center of resistance.” Read the article here, where you can also find out more about the current issue, including an interview with Jürgen Mayer and, among many other things, a profile of the fictional cities by Atelier Olschinsky which we covered back in August.