Reign in Spain: Second Time Around

By Bob Borson, Associate Principal, Bernbaum Magadini Architects

I will be heading out of the country in less than 24 hours to participate in the 2011 Reign in Spain event with a very small handful of other architects, interior designers, and members of the media. As excited as I was to be selected, this is not my first time to Spain. It was exactly 20 years ago (when I was 22 years old and still in college) that I made my first trip to Spain.

It is a bit disappointing that so much time has passed between these trips, but that is one of the major contributors to me being excited. What I was able to experience and see in a country with the history and culture of Spain as a 22 year-old college kid will make this trip a comparison of extremes. Twenty years ago, I didn’t know anything about Spain, and I didn’t take the time to do any research or preparation work prior to arriving (unless you count working on my tan that summer as “preparation”).

This time around I have read volumes of information on the economy and the political environment, in addition to looking at historical and current architectural projects. I plan on experiencing a completely different Spain this time around–one not seen through train windows while traveling on Eurail passes. I plan on eating food served on a plate not prefaced with the word “paper,” and I won’t have to wonder if my pants can go another day without being washed.

The City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia, Spain

I plan on spending my time looking at different sorts of things this time around. Yes, you can probably make some safe assumptions of what garners the attention of a young college-aged male traveling in a foreign country (and you would be right), but I’ll save the stories about my discotheque experiences for my travel companions (or on second thought, maybe I won’t). This trip will put me in three cities I have never been to before: Zaragoza, Teruel, and Valencia.
My focus will be on Mudejar-style architecture and the world-class design and production of the tile of Spain. Now I am able to understand the craftsmanship and technical skill that goes into the tile manufactured in Spain. Seeing the products and attending Cevisama (the International Ceramic Tile show), coupled with my current knowledge of how to properly use them, will add a level of appreciation that was non-existent 20 years ago.

But I wonder what the statute of limitations is for parking on the dance floor?

Bob Borson is an associate principal at Bernbaum Magadini Architects in Dallas and maintains his own blog at He 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.

Photo credit: Flickr account, maxgiani