Mugak, the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial

Architecture is at the same time a language of art and of reason. A meeting of science and artifice. Historically, it has been fortified by the nutrients that germinate in the limits.

It inhabits the crossroads between different cultures and identities; the intersection between nature and landscape, with the human sense of order; the blurred boundaries between reality and dreams; the threshold questioning the internal and the external; constantly investigating form as a response to function, without renouncing the ideal of beauty.

Nowadays, architecture is at a difficult juncture, trying to address the challenges of a new technological and multicultural modernity which has become extremely difficult to understand and manage.

At the start of the 21st Century, inequality has proven to be a new pandemic. The recent socio-economic crisis has shown its gloomiest face with corrosive trails of poverty and exclusion, shifting the boundaries of what is socially acceptable and humanly desirable to truly unanticipated extremes. It is a problem that is seriously jeopardising the essential pillars of our civic identity at the present time.

Elaborate? Adapt? Rethink? Start anew? Urbanism and architecture are still powerful instruments capable of healing wounds and, from an intellectual standpoint, of contributing to redefine the balance required between individual and collective well-being, in the essential pursuit of the virtue of the common good.

They must help to rethink and redefine new paths enabling the design of common spaces that materialise the collective yearning to live in a society and in cities that are fairer and more balanced.

Second edition
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2019

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2019

The second edition of Mugak, the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial will be held during 2019. The project is organised by the Ministry for Environment, Land Planning and Housing of the Basque Government through its Housing Department, and in collaboration with the Regional Council of Gipuzkoa and the City Council of San Sebastian.

Mugak intends to remain addressed to all citizens, thus fulfilling one of the Housing Department’s priorities, which is “to promote architecture”, trying to bring it closer to the whole of society.

In recent words of Thomas Vonier, President of the UIA (International Union of Architects) during the celebration of the World Architecture Day in 2018, (01.10.2018):

“Architecture can make our world better, for all people. Through design, we can help meet the staggering global scale of human need, much of it concentrated in our largest cities.

The world’s architects -now numbering some 3.2 million in all- share a commitment to providing basic services for all people; to making our cities cleaner and stronger; to helping people in need; and to providing safer, more accessible public spaces for everyone.”

Mugak still maintains its objective of being a crossroads, a meeting point with a plural, transversal and multicultural character; of promoting and reactivating dialogue, discussion and reflection in order to undertake new strategies and solutions that help to redefine together new boundaries and shape a more ethical, fair and balanced society.

This approach intends to keep its internationality without losing sight of another of its main objectives, which is being the Biennial of the Basque Country. That is why this edition will programme and hold events in the other two main cities of the Basque Autonomous Community besides Donostia, main headquarters of the Biennial: Bilbao and Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the idea of expanding the Biennial over the whole territory of the Autonomous Community.

Therefore, the invitation to all citizens to participate in the celebration of Architecture represented by Mugak constitutes an attempt to reduce the distance that often separates Architecture from the society it must serve.