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The _CONNECTION project was born out of the desire to establish a cultural connection between the city of Barcelona and other European cities. A series of architecture exhibitions are the focus of this project, which also offers other events such as conferences and meetings between universities and aims to create synergies between the professional architects involved. Each event, which is called a “connection”, is composed of a first exhibition in Barcelona, followed by a second presentation in the invited country. These architecture exhibitions are entitled “Barcelona_Import” (followed by the name of the invited city or region) and “Barcelona_Export”.

The aim is to create a network of cultural connections between cities as a means of spreading the values of urbanism and architecture. Each new connection will offer a new theme, which will always take into acount the idiosyncrasies and the cultural and architectural background of the invited city or region.

The commissioners will select 20 projects by architects under 50 years of age who represent the contemporary architecture that is being produced in a given territory.

The first set of connections will take place in Switzerland and more particularly in the Ticino, a canton with an important architectural and cultural tradition.

This first exhibition seeks to identify the key under-50 players from Ticino during the 2002-2012 decade. The theme chosen for this first confrontation with Barcelona is “Architecture in the Territory”. The Canton of Ticino is a mainly mountainous territory which nevertheless has many other geographical conformations such as hills and plains, valleys and lakes. More than half of the territory of the canton is uninhabited. The majority of the population lives in the center-south area between Sopraceneri (Magadino, Locarno and Bellinzona) and Sottoceneri (Lugano, Mendrisio and Chiasso).

This particular geography, together with the gradual population increase and the presence of the prevalent type of single-family houses, as well as the difficulty of finding accommodation within the larger centers, has generated a gradual growth of urban expansion known as “urban sprawl”.

From Chiasso to Bellinzona – the capital – via Lugano – the main economic center – we find a single continuous low-density urban agglomeration. The backbone of this diffuse city seems to be the highway that runs through the canton from north to south, connecting Italy and the South of the Alps with the rest of Switzerland and Northern Europe. The Barcelona_Import Ticino exhibition seeks to locate a series of works from this territory that together represent a snapshot of the quality of Ticino architecture from the last decade. The better to represent this relationship between architecture and territory – starting from the south and moving up the canton to the valleys of the far north – we have chosen a series of combinations between works and geographical context:

• architecture in lowland areas

• architecture in the urban context

• architecture in the vicinity of lakes

• architecture in hilly areas

• architecture in mountain areas

The main focus of this exhibition is on residential settlements and public buildings and schools in urban and suburban areas as well as in less populated areas.

Barcelona_Export / Residential Buildings

in the Urban Context

The second architecture exhibition will be held at the Accademia di Mendrisio in October 2013. The 20 selected studios from Barcelona will show works of collective housing in which the presence of other typological categories creates new and interesting relationships with the surrounding urban space. In the second part of this catalogue these issues are examined by presenting recent works within the urban fabric of the city of Barcelona.

Irma Arribas, Nicola Regusci, Xavier Bustos, Ferran Grau

by AAAB, Agencia de Apoyo a la Arquitectura de Barcelona,
> a platform that promotes cultural events related to architecture and urbanism.

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