This summer, our receptionist Mar (who is also a professional photographer) led photography workshops as part of the classes they were taking. We wanted to share a few of the stories and photographs that students shared.
Here's a look at the area 22 of Barcelona.
CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Summer 2012
Tory, Princeton University:
The first picture depicts an apartment building in the 22@ district, and the second picture shows a modern office building behind a brick wall covered in graffiti. While I don’t quite understand the imagery on the first building, I thought it demonstrated a possible negative reaction to the development of the area. It is also not the type of decoration that modern, developed neighborhoods would typically want adorning their buildings.
The second image shows the meeting between the old and the new. The tall, modern, industrial building represents everything the 22@ district is striving to become, while the graffiti represents a disgruntled people trying to express themselves. Graffiti is typically associated with the lower class, and doesn’t seem to belong in the same frame as the modern office building.
I feel that the stark contrast demonstrated by this combination illustrates that the development of the 22@ district has not respected the style of the old. While the area may now be more affluent, the buildings don’t match. Office buildings are modern, but apartment buildings still appear old and run down. I originally went out with the intention of photographing the new, but it was the old that caught my eye. The old has character, while the new additions (other than the Torre Agbar) look just like office buildings in any other city. I feel that this shows a lack of respect for the culture of the area.
Tom, George Washington University:
Artistically speaking, I’m pretty sure this picture is terrible, but I do think that the wall captured in the shot is interesting. It is difficult to see, but this is a wall of one of the buildings right next to the university, and there is ivy being grown on parallel metal wires (these are what form the faint diamonds). Ivy is generally grown on old buildings, ones that are established and often have some sort of historical prestige. This building is clearly new though (and still for sale), and the ivy hasn’t had enough time to grow – it is barely four feet up from ground level. It will be many years before it manages to cover the rest of the wires (which cover the entire five-storey building). I feel like this represents well the fact that the 22@ District project is still a work in progress, and that the locals of Barcelona may learn to love it, but that it will take a great deal of time. My second photo captures this same idea in a sort of similar way. Instead of ivy, though, the subject of interest is graffiti. This graffiti is on the barricades of what will become a construction site in coming weeks – it is interesting to note that construction hasn’t even begun here yet though. At least in cities in the US, graffiti typically shows up on buildings and other structures that have been abandoned and left out of disuse, not ones that have yet to be built. It is as if before it has even been created, this building has already been christened an old staple of the neighborhood. I also like that there are (by chance) a group of older people walking in one direction, and a young person on a motor scooter speeding off in the other – this could almost be a representation of the opposite pulls towards traditionalism and modernism happening in Poblenou.
Peter, Providence College:
The first structure I noticed when I first stepped out of the metro was the Torre Agbar building, which was a 28 floor building which is used for business and has the head offices to the Barcelona Water Corporation. This building is really the most noticed building of this district because it is one of the tallest buildings in Barcelona. Opened in 2005, Torre Agbar is a relatively new building and really brings a modern architectural style to this area. This is one of my favorite buildings because of its unique look and totally different style than any building in the area. I think these changes are necessary because its really developing the area. With the construction of these buildings, there is more work environments in areas that are not as populated which helps develop the city. The second structure I noticed was the Telecommunications Market Commission which is another building created for business. This building had a unique appearance which also incorporates aspects of older buildings; the center of the building is from the old Can Tiana factory, which is used as an auditorium as well as big business meetings. I think this use of old structures is very interesting and shows that the modern architects want to try to preserve old structures so they do not appear to be ruining the area.
The Last area I thought conveyed great innovation and technological advances in district 22@ was the Villa Casas Foundation. This building showed great modern innovation with the use of the open space in front of the building, and the sleek design shown. In all, I think its beneficial that Barcelona’s government is funding projects to expand this area and innovate it as they are. I think this is necessary for business and more suitable for the growing population in Barcelona.
All the photos from the Summer 2012 photography workshops: