With the sad news this month of the passing of David McKay, co-founder of MBM architects and master-mind of the 1992 Olympic Village. It seems an appropriate time to look back on the influence of his work and MBM’s imprint on the city of Barcelona.
Next time you wander down Las Ramblas, passing the entrance to the La Boqueria, glance to your left. You’ll see El Palau Nou de la Rambla, an MBM architectural project completed in 1993. But more importantly you’ll also see the 14th century gothic tower of La Basílica del Pi.
Where most of the edifices on Las Ramblas are solid, the clients of El Palau Nou were persuaded by David MacKay to purposely design their project with a large section extracted. Sacrificing valuable floor space and square meterage, the city and more importantly the citizens benefitted from a direct visual connection, an artery running from Las Ramblas directly back into the Gothic centre.
It’s little details such as this, sometimes noticed but generally taken for granted, which embodies the great urban planning and architectural thinking of MacKay and MBM.
The Barcelona Blueprint
In a time before the ‘Starchitect’, where architecture and urban design was based on the needs and requirements of the citizens and not radical visual concepts designed to draw crowds of spectators. MBM set about re-designing the blueprint of Barcelona, creating a new blank canvas.
Lacking vanity and egotism, MBM had the foresight to integrate the past to the future. Extending Cerdà’s long Diagonal, which dissects the Eixample, down to the sea. Paving the way for architects of the future to create the third strategic post-olympic plan, turning the industrial Poble Nou into the creative hub of television, art, design and publications houses.
Where Gaudí was Barcelona’s artistic, eccentric black sheep, MBM was the serious studious cousin. Connecting the chaotic dots and crossing the dis-jointed t’s.
Read more »»