Benedetta Tagliabue, currently director of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, international architecture firm founded in Barcelona in 1994, with office in Shanghai and in Paris, has received prestigious awards for her works as the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2005, the National Spanish Prize in 2006, City of Barcelona prize in 2005 and 2009, and the RIBA Jencks Award in 2013 as acknowledgment of her major contribution internationally to both the theory and practice of architecture. Extremely active in the academia, she has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, Columbia University and Barcelona ETSAB, lecturing regularly at architecture forums and universities, and part of jurors around the world, the Princesa de Asturias awards and since 2014 member of the jury of the Pritzker Prize.
Her professional beginning, the close collaboration with the husband and working partner, Enric Miralles, a kind of legendary figure, a man endowed with a particular charismatic and strong personality, will be the starting point of our conversation. A journey together that will represent a reciprocal growth, giving opportunity for many famous realizations, and will bring Benedetta, Italian, born in Milan, to deeply understand and love Spain.
In EMBT works is recurrent the research of sophisticated combinations and unusual applications of materials, with the frequent collaboration of talented artists, as Toni Cumella, coming from a long ceramist family tradition, for the Parc Dels Colors, 2002, Diagonal Mar Park, 2003, and Santa Caterina Market in 2005, until one of the most recent projects, Plateau Central Masterplan and Housing, at the periphery of Parisian suburbs, presented for this 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, that sees the contribution of the famous street artist JR.
“Living within a market - Outside space is also Home”, title of the installation, intends to emphasise the value embodied by an abandoned area transformed into a colorful plaza, similar to Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona, that will encourage the community’s participation and integration between the residents.
There is a frequent expression of Benedetta ’little by little’ that characterises some of her attempts, born as aspirations without any certainty of success but gradually developed into important projects, as for example the adventure in China, crowned by several gratifying, important projects, as the recent Conservatory of Music in Shenzhen, first prize winner in an international competition.
Kálida Sant Pau, part of an international network of hospitals created by the Scottish Maggie’s Foundation, finished almost a year ago, represents another moment of our talk, having been for Benedetta an occasion to reimagine healthcare and hospital facilities, providing patients with spaces full of light, in between greenery and nature, able to transmit a warm, serene atmosphere. And above this intervention, she will speak of another laudable and important initiative conceived in 2011, the creation of the Enric Miralles Foundation, whose goal is to promote experimental architecture.