in 2021, the city of barcelona is celebrating the life and work of architect enric miralles with a series of major exhibitions and activities. starting in april and continuing until the end of the year, the program — simply titled ‘MIRALLES’ — will convey the architect’s enduring legacy through the presentation of materials that the architect made in his lifetime, many of them unpublished, which will come out of the archive for the first time. curated by architects benedetta tagliabue, miralles’ wife and partner, and joan roig i duran of batlle i roig, the tribute explores the different facets of enric miralles as a creator, offering a multifaceted and personal look at his accomplished and prolific career.

‘I always say that my biggest influence is my husband enric miralles,’ tagliabue told designboom in a previous interview. to learn more about the series of exhibitions planned for the catalan capital, designboom attended a virtual press preview of ‘MIRALLES’ where the curators explained the program in more detail.

enric miralles barcelona
enric miralles | image by paco elvira

‘what we’ve tried to do is to set up exhibitions where architecture is made accessible to all, so it is understandable and easy to communicate,’ says benedetta tagliabue, speaking at the opening of ‘quarts de quatre’ — an exhibition at the saló del tinell that focuses on some of miralles’ best-known projects. the exhibition explores four works: the igualada cemetery park, the huesca basketball pavilion, the santa caterina market and neighborhood in barcelona, and the new scottish parliament in edinburgh — the latter of which is described by tagliabue as the ‘high-point’ of miralles’ career.

enric miralles barcelona
enric miralles working in his studio | image by maro kouri

although miralles always worked closely with his collaborators, the exhibition seeks to highlight the architect’s role as an individual ‘artist’. ‘enric miralles never worked alone,’ tagliabue continues. ‘I think it’s difficult to separate designing projects with others and being a unique artist. he was so intimate, so artistic, and so specific, and that gave him the capacity to communicate. this is the intention behind this exhibition: to explain the figure of enric miralles as an artist who can bring positivity to a broader audience — not just architects, but also people from other disciplines.’

enric miralles barcelona
the new scottish parliament in edinburgh | image by duccio malagamba (also main image)

in catalan, the expression ‘a quarts de quatre’ indicates uncertainty — referring to a period of time that can range from shortly after the first quarter of an hour, to shortly before three quarters of an hour. as miralles approached projects by collecting a large amount of information, analyzing all variables exhaustively, and handling multiple unknowns at the same time, the title is used as a starting point to explain his way of working. this is conveyed through miralles’ most personal documents, sketches, drawings, models and photographs — many of which are being shown for the first time.

enric miralles barcelona
the new scottish parliament in edinburgh | image by duccio malagamba

elsewhere, the centre d’arts santa mònica is showing a collection of collages and photomontages from miralles’ private archive of personal and professional trips. inspired by the cubism of picasso and david hockney, miralles used this format systematically for different purposes, fragmenting, reconstructing, and re-reconstructing reality. the exhibition, which includes nearly 170 collages curated by salvador gilabert sanz — professor, and head of projects at miralles tagliabue EMBT — remains on view until on june 30, 2021.

enric miralles: barcelona opens three exhibitions to celebrate the architect's life and work
the igualada cemetery park | image by arturo mc clean

the third exhibition is on view until december 23, 2021 at fundació enric miralles. titled ‘to be continued…’, the presentation shows the work that EMBT has done over the last 20 years. with a selection of models, sketches, photographs, correspondences, collages, and projections, the foundation presents an exhibition that examines the architect’s legacy, while simultaneously looking forward. ‘this tribute not only wants to remember the human and professional figure of enric miralles, but also wants to keep the spirit of the visionary, of the experimentalist, alive, as a way of working and seeing the world,’ emphasizes benedetta tagliabue.

enric miralles: barcelona opens three exhibitions to celebrate the architect's life and work
the igualada cemetery park | image courtesy of fundació enric miralles

other activities will take place later in the year, including an exhibit at the disseny hub, which showcases the work of miralles as a designer of furniture and objects. in addition, a series of public conferences will take place at the architects’ association of catalonia (COAC) featuring participations from, among others, rafael moneo, elizabeth diller, and carme pinós. finally, an exhibition at the barcelona school of architecture titled ‘a l’escola’ will present the architect’s academic work as a teacher. through these events, a ‘miralles circuit’ has been designed that can be visited at various times of the year and that is accessible to all audiences.