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  • Barcelona declares 2002 the International Year of Gaudí to commemorate his sesquicentennial
    The Barcelona Municipal Government will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Gaudí's birth with symposia and shows on the architect's life and works

    BARCELONA.- Barcelona Mayor Joan Clos presented 2002, the International Year of Gaudí, as another opportunity to promote Barcelona to the world. The celebration, which will commemorate in Barcelona the 150th anniversary of the Catalan architect's birth, will reach a series of different areas so "we can discover the intensity of Gaudí and to show the Catalan culture on an international level," stated Clos.

    Daniel Giralt-Miracle, named General Commissioner of the event by the Plenary Council of the City Hall, said that the purpose of the celebration will be "to reread Gaudí" and place him on the same level as Miró, Picasso and Dalí. He explained that the celebration takes place in Barcelona because most of Gaudí's work is concentrated in the city, and that there is no intention for the city to "appropriate" the architect born in Reus in 1852.

    Giralt-Miracle added that the most relevant activities planned for 2002, the International Year of Gaudí, will be concentrated between Easter and the fiesta of Mercè (patroness of Barcelona), the time of year with good weather and high tourist season.

    EXHIBITIONS. While the Center of Contemporary Culture will present "Gaudí and His Time," a show along the same lines as previous expositions on Kafka, Pessoa and Joyce, the hall of the Caixa Catalunya in La Pedrera will be the scene for the furnishings designed by the architect in the show titled "Gaudí: Arts, trades and design." "The workshop" will be an exhibition in the schools of the Sagrada Familia, showing Gaudí as a researcher into new construction techniques, and a permanent show will be assembled in the Park Güell, reflecting the architect's urbanistic thought.

    BUILDINGS. Although many of the architect's works are already open to the public, the City Hall hopes that those buildings which are privately owned may be partially visited. The intention is for the public to be able to see the interior garden of the Casa Vicens, for a show on the Casa Battló, open to the public, to be held in the flat on the building's first floor, and for the Casa Calvet to bear an outdoor panel with an explanation of the building's interior.

    CONFERENCES. The International Architects Union, along with the boards of architects of Catalonia and Madrid, and the architecture schools of Barcelona, Vallès, Australia and New Zealand, will organize a symposium surrounding Gaudí's work. For non-specialists, a debate will be opened in the Palau de la Virreina.

    PUBLICATIONS. Giralt-Miracle stated that, in this field, the Municipal Government would be an "initiative promoter;" that is, it will promote the appearance of publications, guides, monographs, and CD-ROMs that are approved by the Year of Gaudí. In January 2002, the Municipal Government will publish a general catalogue of all the show's activities.

    GAUDÍ BUS. Since over two million tourists visit Barcelona, attracted by Gaudí's work, an initiative will begin to promote the celebration among travel agencies, international tour operators and airlines. International promotion will take place through Spain's Offices of Tourism (OET). The municipal government will create a "brother" of the Bus Turístic, called the Bus Gaudí, which will take tourists to the buildings and shows, and will include an entry pass to see all the activities planned for the International Year of Gaudí.

    By Magdalena Aninat

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