Young Architects of Spain

(l-r) Javier Rioyo, Director, Instituto Cervantes; Alberto Campo Baeza; Eva Franch, Director, Storefront for Art and Architecture; Joseph Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP, 2012 AIANY President; Juan Ramón Martínez Salazar, Consul General of Spain

Rick Bell, FAIA

Event: Young Architects of Spain Exhibition Opening – Instituto Cervantes New York
Location: Instituto Cervantes New York, 211 East 49 Street, 09.05.12
Introduction: Javier Rioyo, Director, Instituto Cervantes
Welcome Remarks: Juan Ramón Martínez Salazar, Consul General of Spain
Opening: Alberto Campo Baeza
Participants: Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, AIA New York; Eva Franch, Director, Storefront for Art and Architecture
Exhibition Curator: Jesús Aparicio
Exhibition Associate Curator and Designer: Jesús Donaire

The “YAS: Young Architects of Spain” exhibition, on view at the Cervantes Institute through September 18, was inaugurated by the General Consul of Spain, Juan Ramón Martínez Salazar, who emphasized the talent of the young professionals in Spain and the consistent quality of their work.

Curators Jesus Aparicio and Jesus Donaire explained that the 63 projects being showcased were chosen from more than 700 entries. Those who submitted projects had to be Spaniards or have completed projects in the country, and had to be under 40 years of age.

The final selection was made by two international juries, one American and the other Spanish. The first included Columbia University President Kenneth Frampton and the second was led by the renowned Spanish architect Alberto Campos Baeza. Aparicio noted with amusement that the juries concurred on 95% of their choices, further proof of the quality of the showcased works.

Rick Bell, FAIA, executive director of the AIA New York Chapter, took part in the panel discussion. His presence marked the enthusiastic support of AIANY for the exhibition, and he conveyed the Chapter’s admiration for the architecture emerging from the younger practitioners in Spain. He borrowed a verse from the anti-poet Nicanor Parra, recent winner of the Cervantes Prize, in a nod to the poet’s 98th birthday as well as to the Institute.

Eva Franch, director of New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture, also took part in the panel discussion. Franch, an excellent example of the international salience of young Spanish architects, reflected on her cohort and the future of their architecture in a country where economic problems seem to have no easy solutions. It was a sober reminder of the uncertainty facing young professionals in the field.

The evening’s highlight was the warm speech by Baeza. He mused about Thomas Jefferson’s internationalization of Don Quixote, the recent international interest in Spanish architecture, and New York City as the cultural center of the world. He was optimistic about the future being forged by young Spanish architects, who continue to work with the talent and integrity so evident in the exhibition.