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Benedetta Tagliabue: beginning with context to create better places

Barcelona-based studio EMBT is the focus of the 27th episode of The Architects Series. This will be the final instalment for 2022 of this documentary and lecture series, curated by THE PLAN for Iris Ceramica Group, before it returns next year

Benedetta Tagliabue EMBT

Benedetta Tagliabue The Architects Series
By Redazione The Plan -

“When I was a child, I imagined gathering together in beautiful places with my friends where we could build our homes and life would be perfect.” For Benedetta Tagliabue, head architect at EMBT, the choice of architecture as a profession dates from a childhood dream. Graduating from IUAV University in Venice in 1989, Benedetta Tagliabue currently teaches at the Catalonia Polytechnic University and directs Barcelona-based studio EMBT, which she cofounded in 1994 with Enric Miralles, her partner in life and work. The studio is distinguished by its openness to experimentation and high levels of conceptual insight – an approach that, beginning with the context, changes the environment by observing and respecting the site, its history, and its culture. Nowadays, EMBT has offices in Shanghai and Paris, and operates all over the world. Since the death of her husband in 2000, Tagliabue has been alone at the helm of the company. In 2020, she won the Piranesi Prix de Rome for career achievement.

Benedetta Tagliabue – EMBT Architects is the focus of the 27th episode of The Architects Series. This will be the final instalment for 2022 of this documentary and lecture series, curated by THE PLAN for Iris Ceramica Group, before it returns next year. The documentary was presented at Iris Ceramica Group’s flagship store in Barcelona on December 1, followed by a lecture by Benedetta Tagliabue. The event will concentrate on four projects in particular: Clichy-Montfermeil Station on Paris Métro Line 16, Central Station on Naples Underground Line 1, the Kálida Sant Pau Centre, and the San Giacomo Apostolo Church and Parish Complex.

>>> View every previous episode of The Architects Series


Clichy-Montfermeil Métro Station

The project for the Clichy-Montfermeil station in Paris, currently under construction, won an international competition in 2014. The station will be on Line 16 of the Grand Paris Express and therefore part of a larger infrastructure project. The underlying idea was to give a new identity to this overlooked place on the boundary between the suburbs of Clichy-sous-bois and Montfermeil, transforming it into a vibrant, colorful meeting place. Organized around a central space with a system of escalators, the station is also connected to a plaza covered by a large pergola that not only accommodates the station entrance, but also numerous other facilities, including a market.


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Naples Underground Central Station

Art, architecture, and archeology come together in the project for Naples Underground Central Station, whose setting is within a complex of 1970s skyscrapers designed by Kenzo Tange. The studio’s concept envisages a large, arching wooden roof, which both lets in natural light and creates large shaded areas for people to take a pause, while the surrounding green areas will help control the temperature. The new station, currently under construction, redevelops the public space it occupies, creating relationships between interiors and exteriors, as well as the city’s past and present.


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Kálida Sant Pau Centre

“Beauty heals” was the principle that inspired the Kálida San Pau Centre, a structure located in the Sant Pau hospital complex in Barcelona and part of the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Center network. Conceived to support cancer patients and their families, the center is designed as a garden pavilion with organic shapes that integrates into its modernist surroundings through, for example, its green ceramic roof tiles and glazed ceramic inserts on its brick façades. The project creates a continuity with the art nouveau buildings of the hospital, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.


>>> The Century Square redevelopment project on East Nanjing Road, Shanghai, was awarded an honorable mention in the Public Space category of THE PLAN Award 2022


San Giacomo Apostolo Church and Parish Complex

Located in Ferrara, the San Giacomo Apostolo Church and Parish Complex won an invitational competition organized in 2011 by the Italian Episcopal Conference and was inaugurated in 2021. The heart of the project is the church, built with traditional local materials, including brick, wood, and exposed reinforced concrete. The building is characterized by the soft shapes of it sectional roof, which seems to float in midair like the hot air balloons that inspired it. The design sits harmoniously in its natural surroundings, while simultaneously addressing the historical context and creating an atmosphere of freedom, intimacy, and familiarity.


>>> Read more about the San Giacomo Apostolo Church and Parish Complex in Ferrara in THE PLAN 135


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