Morning Glory

A shaft of sunlight penetrates Hotel Barceló Raval's top floor corridor every September 8 at exactly 7:39

A shaft of sunlight penetrates Hotel Barceló Raval’s top floor corridor on September 8 at exactly 7:39

It must surely be a signal from the cosmos. Yesterday, September 8th, at precisely 7:39 AM,  I woke up, opened the shutters, and was hit by a sunbeam passing through the Barceló Raval Hotel’s top floor corridor, several blocks away. I was instantly reminded of Stonehenge and all those other architectural projects since that archaic construction that are similarly orientated so that sunlight passes right through them on a specific day at a specific time.

Usually, that day is June 21, not September 8. But what the hell. September 8, I came to realize, is nevertheless a very important day in the history of all things cosmic (and microcosmic). For it’s none other than the very day when, in 1966, Star Trek premiered on NBC! Perhaps the sunbeam was a Star Trek crew member trying to beam me up? Darn. Sure wish I hadn’t eaten so much the night before. But that’s not the only event to occur on September 8 in history. On that day in 1900, about 8000 God-fearing souls were killed by a hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas. Hmm. Maybe this is an omen of some sort; maybe the world is about to end. Oh well, wait and see what happens (be sure to stay tuned). Another important event that occurred on 8 September was when, in 1100, Antipope Theodoric was elected by a group of followers secretly assembled in St. Peter’s in Rome at night. Anti-pope Theo-doric. Is this some sort of encrypted architectural message? But wait a minute. Why is the top floor corridor of the hotel perfectly aligned with my flat in the first place? Is this a conspiracy, perhaps an architect’s pre-emptive strike to silence potential criticism?

Or maybe there’s simply no message; no cosmic-historical significance whatsoever. Maybe it’s just a trivial moment of pleasure that happened on a day like any other. Architecture can also be about those sorts of things.

Trajectory of sunbeam at 7:39 every September 8

Sun’s trajectory at 7:39 on September 8

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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