Reign in Spain: Design by Train

By Scott D.Q. Knudson, AIA, LEED AP

Anticipation too often bests its successor, actuation. But the excitement of Reign in Spain 2011 is mounting fast: We received our detailed itineraries on Friday. With only a week to go, I am beginning to feel the pinch of preparation and last-minute Spanish studying. The fervor is heightened as the pace at work quickens, launching several projects that will strengthen sustainable communities with quality affordable housing, innovative master plans that reverse deteriorating patterns, and inspirational community spaces. It is the perfect time to reinforce the benefits of ceramics in creating beautiful, durable, quality places.

I am thrilled to be so lucky to get to go! I thrive in the privilege of representing you, the American A&D community. I look forward in particular to traveling on the high-speed rail, AVE. (Doesn’t it look like a wicked snake?) We’ll see if it’s worth spending billions in the USA for the same.

In Zaragoza, I am sure we won’t be able to miss Zaha Hadid’s bridge. While it seems a bit over-the-top, I suppose its primary function is symbolic, and it is nothing if not expressive and dynamic. By contrast, the Pabellon de Espana by Mangado Architects, also built for the 2008 Expo, seems to proffer more restraint and delicacy. I welcome the comparison, and can’t wait to learn more about using ceramic as a structural material.

Moving from these icons of modern Spain to Teruel, we will expand our horizons to learn about the cultural and architectural blends and contrasts that created Mudejar architecture. It promises to be rich in detail and inviting in texture.
Then, it’s on to Valencia to revel in the industry of the hour. We will embark upon learning opportunities at Cevisama 2011 – which looks like it will be quite a crowd scene, with amazing new products and applications. We will wrap up with (probably more than) a taste of Calatrava’s dyamic genius (and surely to be as invigorating as the perfect dessert).

Despite all of those marvelous upcoming destinations and events, I say, with very little trepidation of being proven wrong, that I am excited about the group of not-s0-strangers who will be my traveling companions and promise to be future friends of quality and depth. Come along with us!

Scott Knudson is Vice President of Design at Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners, creating sustainable designs that reinvigorate communities. Knudson was selected by Tile of Spain in December 2010 as a Reign in Spain finalist. From Feb. 4-12, 2011, he will join a group of journalists and other members of the A&D community in a junket that will travel to the cities of Zaragoza, Teruel, and Valencia, taking in Spanish architecture, culture, culinary temptations, and Cevisama, the International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishings Show.

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