This book is not just a book of architecture. Of course it contains plans, sketches, models, etc. But, at the same, you can almost smell the meticulous work that went into converting a former cooperative in the Poblenou district of Barcelona into a performing arts creation factory and social space for debate and reflection. You will hear voices, discover memories and experience the exciting developments the new building underwent. With some excellent architectural, cultural and social reflections, and spectacular images of all the work. A book that enables the reader to follow a construction project that preserved the ghosts of the former cooperative within the building, ensuring they gave a pleasant welcome to the new occupants and their stories.
"In the new Sala Beckett, the ruins found by Flores & Prats are assigned civic and moral values that, through the redemption of usage value, have been transformed into truth. Let's remember one very important aspect here: the building of the old workers' cooperative Pau i Justícia that has become the new Sala Beckett was not classified as protected heritage. The architects could have demolished it to create an empty lot on which to build a totally new theater. Neither the architects nor the theater management were obliged to conserve anything, not even the memory of the place. Yet they have done just that, making an important design decision in ideological terms: this extraordinary project begins with that decision."
Juan José Lahuerta
The workers' cooperative Pau i Justícia in Poblenou, very active for much of the twentieth century, closed its doors in the late 1990s and left the building abandoned and in an advanced state of ruin.
The Sala Beckett, one of the driving forces of the Catalan theater since its foundation in the late 1980s as the headquarters of El Teatro Fronterizo by José Sanchis Sinisterra, and directed by Toni Casares since 1997, was left without its home in the Gràcia neighborhood in the mid-2000s.
Following a public competition in 2011, the Sala Beckett team and the Flores & Prats undertook a process of rehabilitation of this former workers' cooperative to covert it into the new Sala Beckett / Internacional Drama Center. The building, abandoned for more than twenty years, was still very present in the memory of the neighbors living around it, so the project became the recovery of a social heritage as well a physical heritage. The final result contains the era of the cooperative, the era of abandonment, and the era of the new Sala Beckett.
The new Sala Beckett was awarded the City of Barcelona Prize for Architecture and Urbanism 2016.