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Collection — ARCHIVE SERIES — 1

50th Anniversary Polytechnic University of Catalonia · BarcelonaTech — Beyond the ETSAB Archive 1875–2025


Awards Ceremony
Awards video


For the 50th anniversary of the UPC, the ARCHIVE SERIES prize proposes an exploration of the narrative limits of one of the best archives on architecture teaching in Europe since the eighteenth century: Barcelona School of Architecture’s (ETSAB) graphic collection. The organisation of a writing prize is designed to celebrate and make known part of the University’s wealth of heritage, and to construct a cultural exchange network with local institutions that protect their built legacy and some of the most prestigious international institutions that help to understand the circulation of ideas in architecture education.

Interpretations of the archive material come up against the paradox of the depth of thinking that is only about things, and among things. The records in which architects’ activity has been developed include many formats: plans, glass plates, negatives, notebooks, manuscripts, moulds, etc. from drawings to photographs and life-size replicas. A type of media archaeology that invites new transhistorical narratives based on the questions that are formed about this material from the present, interpreting and reviving the past with new methodological approaches.

The first edition of the ARCHIVE SERIES prize is focused on the graphic record of the drawing class of architect Josep M. Jujol (1879-1949). He graduated in architecture from the ETSAB (1906) and collaborated on many of Antoni Gaudí’s Catalan works. He joined the ETSAB as a temporary professor in 1909, where he taught the subject Flora and Fauna a year later. In 1913, he obtained the position of tenured professor of the subjects Copy of Details, Flora and Fauna and Modelling in Clay. In the first of these subjects, Jujol took his students to visit some of the buildings that constituted the best legacy of Romanesque and Gothic heritage of Barcelona, including the City Hall, the Provincial Council premises, San Pau del Camp, Santa Anna, the Cathedral of Barcelona, Santa María del Mar and the Hospital de la Santa Creu. He not only explained the history of these buildings, but also made the students understand the complexity of the construction systems and the value of the detail in them. The ETSAB Gaudí Chair archive preserves 393 digitised drawings from his classes, where the students’ work merges with the professor’s drawing, together with extensive photographic series that illustrate the exhibitions he organised in the classrooms of the Central University.

As the architect Enric Miralles (1955-2000) stated in the text that accompanies this call, in Jujol’s drawings there is no scale, everything seems to unfold in the space of the fortuitous meeting of ideas. The same occurs with his students’ drawings, which seem to unfold in a constant repetition that includes the deconstruction of their architecture through elements, including doors, windows and columns; the exploration of the grammar of the ornament, for example, a geometric study of ornamental surfaces; and the dissection of architecture as a living being, revealing its many anatomies. All of this is like “coded writing that is presented voluntarily in an archaic way”.