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March 20: official inauguration of the International Year of Gaudí

Her Majesty Queen Sofia, the most honorable president of the Government of Catalonia, Mr. Jordi Pujol, and the most excellent mayor of Barcelona, Mr. Joan Clos, presided the inaugural event of the International Year of Gaudí in the Barcelona City Council's ancient meeting hall, the Saló de Cent, on March 20.

The Year of Gaudí, described by Clos as "a bridge between the 1888 World's Fair and the coming Universal Forum of Cultures Barcelona 2004," is intended to disseminate knowledge of the life and works of the illustrious architect, not only among foreign tourists but also among the citizens of Barcelona. Pujol highlighted Gaudí's devotion to Catalan nationalism and his profoundly religious nature.

Three famous architects also participated in the event: Oriol Bohigas, Sir Norman Foster and Arata Isozaki. Bohigas associated Gaudí with Frank Lloyd Wright, saying that "they were the two most important architects of the early twentieth century, because they opened paths for the future evolution of the same modern architecture."

As for Foster, he called Gaudí "a timeless and inspiring architect" after reviewing the architectural history of the twentieth century.

Isozaki also spoke a few words about Gaudí, although nothing could be written about his speech because he gave it in Japanese, and no translation was provided to the press, speakers or the general public who were present in the Saló de Cent.

After the conclusion of the inaugural event, snacks were offered before the speakers and attendees of the event moved to the Saló del Tinell, in the Plaza del Rei, which until September 9 will host the "Gaudí: the search for form" exhibit, which analyzes Gaudí's treatment of space, form, geometry and structures.

Carlos Martínez

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