Spain sweep

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Hola amigos!
I begin this twelve-month journey with a quick stop in Spain, a visit to Barcelona and  the capital city of Madrid.  It’s an excuse to see a friend, take note of some amazing architecture, and a chance to reassess my current research agenda.

Damp weather tried to impede some plans…That’s why we have Marmot raincoats (Taylor, I’ve got one too!) and water-tight shoes….most of the time.  There are almost no café tables in the plazas and squares because of the rain, but it doesn’t interfere with the tapas culture indoors.  The bars are packed, alive.  The Bocadillas, especially the calamari ones, are the perfect honest snack.  So simple, why didn’t anyone else think of this?

The highlight of Barcelona was a trip to the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona) where the exhibit “In the Chinese City: Perspectives on the Transmutations of an Empire” is running until Feb. 22.  The exhibition, consisting of drawings, physical models, film, and photography, highlighted six Chinese cities undergoing an inexorable process of construction and destruction at a never before seen pace.  The exhibition relates the history of the city to the present and projects a future reality for each place.  For me, the exhibit really pushed the larger, over-all picture of the changes in populations, densities over the last few decades in China.  It lays the groundwork for the economies, politics, and social histories embedded into these “new cities.”  I need to keep this knowledge fresh in my mind on the rest of this trip in order to discover what implications it has had on or was felt by the built environment.

The exhibit also shone some light on possible additional cities that I need to add to my China itinerary.  Chongqing, Suzhou and Canton are on the radar screen.  Finally was able to pick-up a copy of Iker Gil’s Shanghai Transforming (last copy) at the museum book store.

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