Press Releases

April 16, 2014

Announcing "Barcelona-New York City Urban Bridge 2014 (BCN-NYC): A Year of Catalan Architecture in New York"

 April 16, 2014, New York – The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) | Center for Architecture, the Museum of the City of New York (City Museum) and the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York (CCNY) are pleased to announce “Barcelona-New York City Urban Bridge 2014 (BCN-NYC): A Year of Catalan Architecture in New York.”

BCN-NYC Urban Bridge is a year-long celebration of Catalan architecture in New York. Built on the foundations of three exhibitions presented by the three partnering institutions – AIANY, City Museum, and CCNY – and their related programs, it celebrates the shared values of these two cities, linked by their spirit of enterprise, their love of diversity, and their characteristic styles of urban planning. Defined by their street grids and their waterfronts, Barcelona and New York are also distinguished by the passionate devotion of their citizens to the life of the city. The three exhibitions, City Museum’s Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile, AIANY’s Polis: 7 Lessons from the European Prize for Urban Public Space [2000-2012], and CCNY’s Gaudi’s Unfinished Masterpiece: La Sagrada Familia, Space Time and Site, explore different aspects of what these cultural capitals can teach each other as our cities become increasingly globalized.

BCN-NYC Urban Bridge is also an initiative of “Civic Spirit: Civic Vision” AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA’s, presidential theme: “Barcelona and New York, two of the great world cities, known for their civic spirit and their civic vision,” says Brown. “Two cities known for their classical roots and gridiron expansions. Two cities where people walk, from the corporate stride to the flaneurs’ stroll. Two cities wedded to their morphing modern coastlines. Two cities with much to exchange and learn from. This is the goal of the "BCN-NYC Urban Bridge". This year we will be privy to works of innovative Guastavino technology, exemplary civic open space design, and the civic vision embodied by Gaudi's extraordinary cathedral in Barcelona. We hope to share some secrets and celebrate some differences. We invite all to cross this Bridge!”

The three organizations will be kicking off BCN-NYC Urban Bridge with the launch of its website, This site will compile all the programs and exhibitions related to Catalan architecture that will be taking place in New York City during 2014, along with partners, sponsors, and supporters. It will serve as the information hub and archive of activities for the year. Inspired by the aesthetic of baggage claim tags, the website, designed by CHIPS, is meant to convey ideas of travel and connectivity.


Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile
On view March 26, 2014 – September 7, 2014 at the Museum of the City of New York

Throughout the five boroughs are more than 200 long-overlooked marvels of engineering and architectural beauty—the interlocking tile vaults built by Spanish immigrants Rafael Guastavino, Sr. (1842-1908), and his son, Rafael Jr. (1872-1950). The system of structural tile vaults developed by the Guastavinos—lightweight, fireproof, low-maintenance, and capable of supporting significant loads—was used by leading architects of the day, including McKim, Mead & White and Carrere & Hastings. Ellis Island’s Registry Room, Carnegie Hall, the Bronx Zoo’s Elephant House, and Grand Central Terminal all contain Guastavino vaults.

This major exhibition explores the innovations the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company (1889-1962) brought to the science and art of building. It was originally organized by MIT’s John Ochsendorf, who is a MacArthur Fellow; it is substantially expanded here to include some 20 key Guastavino spaces in the five boroughs.

Polis: 7 Lessons from the European Prize for Urban Public Space [2000-2012]
On view March 27, 2014 – June 21, 2014 at the Center for Architecture

The European Prize for Urban Public Space aims to recognize and make known successful examples of different applications of the democratic conception of the city. Over its history, the Prize – which is organized by the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) together with six other European institutions – has amassed almost 1,300 projects from more than 600 European cities. The 35 winning works of the seven editions of the Prize constitute a gauge of the democratic quality of Europe’s urban and social fabrics. The fruits of this harvest should prompt reflection that can be shared with cities all around the world.

The projects have been grouped here under seven headings: periphery, complexity, voids, water, mobility, memory, and democracy. These issues have emerged as empirical lessons that confirm the social and political dimension of the city and that is so well reflected in the Greek term polis. This is why it is so important to claim and defend the democratic quality of our cities. After all, as we shape cities, cities shape us.

Gaudi’s Unfinished Masterpiece: La Sagrada Familia, Space Time and Site
On view Fall 2014 at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture

The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture will celebrate the work of Antoni Gaudí and offer an unprecedented glimpse into his genius for millions of admirers globally and in New York.

Sagrada Familia, its construction and fate, continues to be a source of wonderment for scholars and lovers of architecture around the world. The Sagrada Familia Foundation has selected the Spitzer School to host an exhibition that will focus on the dual curiosities of the basilica’s construction and the incorporation of new technologies into its already magnificent design. It will also feature the reconstruction of architectural models and the use of computer graphics software to analyze and draw precise tridimensional geometry.


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“Barcelona-New York City Urban Bridge 2014: A Year of Catalan Architecture” is made possible by:
Ajuntament de Barcelona
Farragut Fund for Catalan Cuture in the US
Mies Barcelona
Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona



About the AIA New York Chapter
AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, with over 5,000 architects, allied professionals, students, and public members. AIANY is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach and professional development, and towards these aims, AIANY runs the Center for Architecture, a storefront exhibition space in Greenwich Village, sponsors public programs, publishes a magazine, and works with its charitable affiliate, the Center for Architecture Foundation, to provide scholarship and educational opportunities. For more information on AIANY, please visit

About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is a destination for all interested in the built environment. It is home to the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation, vibrant nonprofit organizations that provide resources to both the public and building industry professionals. Through exhibitions, programs, and special events, the Center aims to improve the quality and sustainability of the built environment, foster exchange between the design, construction, and real estate communities, and encourage collaborations across the city and globe. As the city’s leading cultural institution focusing on architecture, the Center drives positive change through the power of design. For more information, please visit

About the Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation. Founded in 1923 as a private, nonprofit corporation, the Museum connects the past, present, and future of New York City. It serves the people of New York and visitors from around the world through exhibitions, school and public programs, publications, and collections. For more information, visit

About the Spitzer School of Architecture at City College of New York

The Spitzer School of Architecture at City College, now more than forty years old, is the only public school of architecture in New York City. Its emphasis on the urban environment as the most important generator of ideas about the appropriateness of programs and forms makes it unique among the constellation of architecture schools in New York and the surrounding region.

Approximately 350 students from the city, the country and around the world pursue professional undergraduate degrees in Architecture and graduate degrees in Architecture, Urban Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, and Sustainability in the Urban Environment. They are taught by faculty who are also deeply engaged in New York City, as licensed architects, critics and scholars.

Architecture studios currently pursue programs that are civic, institutional, residential, and commercial, giving City College architecture students an in-depth experience of these project types as they are projected into the urban landscape, and fostering intense discussion and debate about the life, death and rebirth of cities, environmental sustainability, construction technology, theories of public and familiar interaction, and a new aesthetic sensibility about the built environment. For more information, visit

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