Architourism

Tourists at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona

Tourism is the only ‘industry’ in Spain that is not downsizing in the current (well, actually it’s been five years now) economic downturn. On the contrary, the number of visitors to Spain has been growing steadily. And it’s not beach tourism that’s growing, but urban-cultural tourism, which includes architecture. In Barcelona, the Gaudí industry is doing molt bé.  Even the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion seems to be receiving more visitors than before.

But while architecture as cultural tourism is doing better than ever, architecture as building is in the doldrums in Spain, a country with a high number of living (not to say ‘working’) architects who are internationally respected. Something is surely wrong when an entire generation of talent sits idle while the talent of previous generations is increasingly consumed like fast food. But then again, it’s a perfect sign of the Zeitgeist, isn’t it?

About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

I am an architect, writer and educator. rafagomo.com chronicles my architectural making, writing, teaching and curating activity, while criticalista.com is an archive of my writings as well as a platform for venting personal rants and observations. I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and at the Berlage Institute (the Netherlands). I direct the University of Calgary’s architecture term-abroad program in Barcelona and teach at CIEE, and have previously taught in the Metropolis Masters Program in Architecture and Urban Culture as well as at Carleton University and the University of Manitoba.

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