words Douglas Murphy
Josep Mias Architects has redesigned the interior of the lower station of a funicular railway in Barcelona. The Tibidabo funicular links Tibidabo mountain to the city below, and is the oldest of three such railways in Barcelona, opening in 1901. The interior has a certain timeless modernity that is very common in Catalan design.
It’s a demonstration that although the death of Enric Miralles in 2000 robbed architecture of one of its great talents, the distinctive Catalan expressionism that he developed still has its practitioners. EMBT is still operating under his widow Benedetta Tagliabue, his former partner and ex-wife Carme Pinos runs a successful practice and exciting offices are operated by ex-employees Flores+Prats and Josep Mias.
This particular project by Mias exemplifies the method: the flamboyant contextualism of the ceramic floor, the warped functionalism of the wheeled barriers, the bricolage of old and new elements and the curvaceous and richly detailed formal language are all hallmarks of the style. Lumped in as part of “decon” architecture in the 80s and 90s, but somewhat marginalised during the “iconic” boom of the last decade, it perhaps suffered due to its complexity and attention to slow detail as much as from the death of its main practitioner.
Images by Adria Goula Photo