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Enric Miralles

Barcelona, Spain
1 of 3
From the cover of El Croquis

Enric Miralles Moya (February 25th 1955 - July 3rd 2000) was a Spanish Catalan architect. He graduated from the School of Architecture of Barcelona (ETSAB) at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC) in 1978. After establishing his reputation with a number of collaborations with his first wife Carme Pinos, the couple separated in 1991. He later married fellow architect Benedetta Tagliabue, and the two practiced together as EMBT Architects.

Before attending the Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura, he played a season of league basketball in Barcelona. Already during his studies - from 1973 to 1978 - he worked in the architect's office of Albert Viaplana and Helio Pinon and whilst there - among other things - he was involved in the construction of the Placa dels Paisos Catalans, the forecourt for the Estacio de Sants. In 1984 after several architectural competition wins, he formed his own office in Barcelona with his first wife Carme Pinos, which they led together until 1991. Within the rising Spanish architecture scene of the late 1980s following the death of Francisco Franco, their unusual buildings attracted international attention. As a result, they received numerous commissions from Spain and overseas. After their separation, Miralles and Pinos continued to work in separate offices. In 1993 Enric Miralles formed a new practice with his second wife, the Italian architect Benedetta Tagliabue, under the name "EMBT Architects". She resumed the practice under his name after his death. The most important projects; the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh and the multistoried building for the Spanish gas company Gas Natural in Barcelona, were only finished after his death.

The independent architectural language of Enric Miralles can be difficult to classify in terms of contemporary architecture. It is influenced by Spanish architects, such as Alejandro de la Sota, Jose Antonio Coderch and Josep Maria Jujol. He claimed to have been influenced by Le Corbusier, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Antonio Gaudi. The freely formed buildings utilizing massive building materials and steel, develop their relationship with the environment and connect themselves to it. The form is constructed using often unusual materials which are generally left with natural surfaces. Form and material interpret the place, traditions, and history in a personal and poetic art, as his critics attest. From the starting point of the townscape or landscape, he would design a building in its totality, down to the details of the furnishing and the exterior installations. Therefore the execution of the details was just as important to the communication of meaning as the main form. Both were developed over a large number of designs and with numerous models as the main tool of the design process.

Enric Miralles was an active teacher at numerous universities. In 1985, he became a professor at the ETSAB in Barcelona. During 1990 he took over the conceptional design chair at the Stadelschule in Frankfurt am Main. In 1993, he received an invitation from Harvard University to occupy the Kenzo Tange Chair. He taught as a guest lecturer at Columbia University in New York, Princeton University in New Jersey, the Architectural Association in London, the Berlage Instituut in Rotterdam, the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow and the Universities of Buenos Aires and Mexico City.

Enric Miralles died at the age of 45 as the result of a brain tumor.

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Barcelona, Spain
  1. Wikipedia
  2. The Telegraph (July 4th 2000): Enric Miralles - Obituary
christian, June 12th, 2017
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