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AT #22


Arquitectes de Tarragona

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AT #22


Arquitectes de Tarragona

This issue of the AT magazine is dedicated to the connections between nature and city and the relevance of the debate regarding urban development in the natural world and nature in an urban context. We look at projects within the area covered by the Tarragona Office of the Catalan Architects’ Association (COAC) and other similar-sized projects in nearby areas to open a debate that goes beyond local features to look at global challenges. These projects tackle the issue of how to define the boundary between natural and artificial environments and, in some cases, transfer the features of a natural environment to an urban setting. They all pay special attention to the capacity of a given project to transform, improve, preserve, and develop the possibilities of an area. To this end, in these articles we look at both the circumstances prior to the project’s development (‘present state’) and the finished work (‘final state’) to show how the transformation comes about as a result of a careful and precise study of the actual situation. The projects demonstrate the operational capacity of proposals which are fearlessly committed to going beyond the usual, almost automatic, responses to a need.

All the projects compare and combine territorial, urban, and architectural scales. This means aspects of scale which are not always well integrated in a project are taken into account here, giving a synoptic vision of the connections between the three scales rather than focusing on one and losing touch with the others. All three scales are enriched as the landscape and sociocultural identities of the territorial context intertwine. In this issue of the magazine we look at the different scales of projects from ‘large scale’ (territorial), through ‘medium scale’ (urban context) to ‘small scale’ (architectural) aspects.

The three different but connected scales of projects are combined through theoretical and practical deliberations. In her article, architect and landscape architect Maria Viñé draws our attention to the capacity of nature for reclaiming disused urban areas or sites with certain conditions.

We have also included extracts from Patrick Geddes’ book ‘Cities in evolution’ (1915) because of its current relevance and the visionary character of his thoughts on the links between urban centres and boundaries. A biologist, sociologist, and geographer, Geddes developed theories and practical proposals for urban planning faced with the unstoppable ‘progress’ sparked off by the industrial revolution. He also pointed out the reversibility of the link between nature and city as he saw it thanks to his multi-disciplinary vocation, bringing a critical and constructive spirit to the debate based on a complex analysis of reality.

Our epilogue takes a look at what we call a ‘non research project’ and a truly sublime garden. Firstly, ‘Caminho da Cidade’ stresses the relevance of getting to know a place before making any kind of decision. The collective ground work carried out involved an extremely close study or biopsy of the natural surroundings of Guimarães, constructing an alternative and truly solid ‘proposal tool’.

Last but by no means least, Jardin de Cactus designed by César Manrique is a masterful work of landscaping and architecture. This impressive garden of lush vegetation exemplifies the importance of the key decision behind its success – the decision of where to locate it. Transforming a dry barren area into a unique and unrepeatable landscape is possible, in part when the meeting place between city and nature is not a well-defined line, or even a boundary at all.


COAC Tarragona


Editorial directors: Ferran Grau, Nuria Casais


Isabella Pintani


Graphic design: Laura Meseguer

Translation (CAT) and editing: Marta Rojals

Translation (ENG): Brian Cutts, Sílvia Panisello Cabrera

Printing: Rabassa, arts gràfiques

Use type


Builded surface










MAY - 05.2020

Lecture by Ferran Grau: Sports Architecture. Projectes VI Tarda. Etsab

APRIL - 04.2020

Cosmetics Techniques, Quaderns 272, ready for printing

MARCH - 05.2020

Ferran Grau collaborates in the catalogue of the exhibition “Perdurar” - COAC, with the article “no todo estaba por hacer en Burkina”.

FEBRUARY - 20.2020

Presentation of the AT architectural journal (n. 22) by its directors Nuria Casais and Ferran Grau. “Nature and city” seeks to underline the relevance of the debate around the urban development in the natural environment and viceversa.

FEBRUARY - 18.2020

ATRIA Healthcare Home awarded with the Architecture Baumit Prize 2019.

JANUARY - 16. 2020

The article “Puertas, ventanas, muros y otros elementos: reflexiones sobre categorías posmodernas contemporáneas” written by Nuria Casais and Ferran Grau pubished in LIMAQ journal (n.5), edited by Universidad de Lima.

JANUARY - 14.2020

Ferran Grau participates in the debate “UNFINISHED: Ideas, images and projects of the Spanish Pavilion at the XV Biennale di Architettura di Venecia” (Cooperativa d’arquitectes Jordi Capell, Barcelona).

DECEMBER - 10.2019

“Habitat store”, project selected for the Catalan Architecture Archives that is fostered by COAC.

SEPTEMBER - 30.2019

2nd Prize. Competition for the Refurbishment of the Sport Facility in La Clota, Barcelona.

SEPTEMBER - 03.2019

The exhibition XI Bienal Alejandro de la Sota opening, with the Residencia ATRIA (awarded project), L’Hospitalet de l’Infant (Tarragona).

APRIL - 26.2019

Residencia ATRIA awarded at XI Biennal Alejandro de la Sota.

APRIL - 04.2019

The exhibition of the XIV Spanish Biennial of Archiecture and Urbanism “Más habitar, más humanizar” includes the Residencia ATRIA, and it opens at Convento de Santa María de los Reyes, Sevilla.

MARCH – 10.2019

The exhibition “Arquitectures en el paisatge. 2000-2017” in the COAC (Vic) includes the project “Habitat Store”. Open till April 8th.

MARCH –06.2019

“ATRIA Home” published in IoARCH magazine (number 80).

JANUARY – 22.2019

Opening of the exhibition XIV Bienal Espanyola d’Arquitectura i Urbanismo “Más habitar, más humanizar” at La Arquería de Nuevos Ministerios a Madrid. The exhibition includes the project “ATRIA Home” that was finalist at the XIV BEAU.

NOVEMBER – 19.2018

Nuria Casais will participate as jury member in the Trabajos Final de Màster presentation, Màster “Diseño de espacios urbanos, arquitectura y movilidad.»

OCTOBER - 18.2018

Opening of the exhibition “Import WB Export Bcn Re-activate the city”. Ferran Grau contributes in the catalogue with the essay “Una arquitectura activa”(An active architecture). The exhibition is part of Cities Connection Projects and is edited by DPR Barcelona.

SEPTEMBER – 19.2018

Ferran Grau and Nuria Casais will be at EURAU 18 symposium, in Alicante, presenting “TILIBFOP. A research on the European architectural identity” and “NAC: A new regional estructure” respectively.

AUGUST – 01.2018

Nuria Casais appointed as Teaching Assistant at Arkitektskolen Aarhus in Denmark.

JULY – 19.2018

ATRIA Home project is shortlisted in the XIV Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo “Más habitar, más humanizar”. The opening of the XIV BEAU exhibition will take place in Santander (Spain).

JUNE – 14.2018

“Home where is home?”, Nuria Casais and Ferran Grau will lecture at Instituto Cervantes in Sidney.

FEBRUARY – 01.2018

Ferran Grau, Nuria Casais y Rafa Mateo, selected to direct the number 273 of Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme, published by COAC and Polígrafa editorial.

NOVEMBER – 01.2017

Nuria Casais is appointed to teach at ESDesign – Escuela Superior de Diseño de Barcelona in the Master “Diseño de espacios urbanos, arquitectura y movilidad”.

OCTOBER - 18.2017

Ferran Grau will lecture in “Puig I Cadafalch, arquitecte de Catalunya” presenting “Josep Puig I Cadafalch, una actitud arquitectònica vigent”.

SEPTEMBER - 29.2017

GRAUCASAIS awarded with the second prize in the open competition for the LLAR RESIDÈNCIA Casa Bloc, Barcelona.

MAY – 26.2016

The Habitat store project, shortlisted in the «Unfinished,” Pabellón Español for the Bienal de Arquitectura de Venecia. Catalogue edited by the Fundación Arquia and Ministerio de Fomento, 2016.