MAS Context presents the exhibition La Ricarda: An Architectural and Cultural Project. The exhibition will be on display October 12, October 19, and October 26, 2019, at Lawrence & Clark (4755 N. Clark St. Chicago 60640, USA).
About the exhibition
La Ricarda or Casa Gomis, completed in 1963, is one of the key midcentury buildings in Spain. Located by the Mediterranean Sea in El Prat de Llobregat, a town 10 miles southwest of Barcelona, the house was commissioned by Ricardo Gomis and Inés Bertrand in 1949. Barcelona-born architect Antonio Bonet Castellana, who had trained with Le Corbusier and Josep Lluís Sert, designed the house while living in Buenos Aires, where he had emigrated from Paris after the start of the Spanish Civil War. Working closely with the clients via letters, Bonet designed every aspect of the building, from the overall organization to the materials, interior details, and furniture. The result was a spacious and harmonious house defined by an 8.8m x 8.8m grid of thin metal pillars and vaults, with connected but distinct areas for the different uses. The house was also designed with its natural surroundings in mind, blurring inside and outside, and paying special attention to the nearby pines, dunes, and water.
Besides its architectural merit, the house is also remarkable for the critical cultural role it played in Catalonia since its completion. The Gomis Bertrand family supported and welcomed to the house intellectuals and artists during Franco’s dictatorship in Spain. Organized by Club 49, a private association that promoted avant-garde cultural activities, which Ricardo Gomis belonged to, the house hosted many cultural activities, from concerts that benefited from its state-of-the-art sound system to dance performances and theater shows. It was a haven for artistic experimentation.
Today, the house is still owned by the Gomis Bertrand family who has diligently preserved it in its original state, including its furniture, with the help of local architects Fernando Álvarez and Jordi Roig. Seventy years after it was commissioned, the house continues to be a must-see destination for architecture students and professionals from around the world. However, the future of Casa Gomis is uncertain. The passage of time, the humid climate and proximity to the sea, as well as the nearby Barcelona airport (its third runway is less than 1,500 feet away) put into question its long-term future. Now is the time to define the legal framework and secure the funds to ensure the maintenance and conservation of a key architectural and cultural project.
Through photographs—historic and current—as well as drawings, this exhibition, curated by Iker Gil, will convey the design and construction of the house, the cultural activities it hosted, its relevance more than five decades after it was built, and the efforts (and challenges) to preserve this historic house.
Besides attending the opening of the exhibition on Saturday, October 12, Marita Gomis, one of the six siblings who grew up in Casa Gomis, will give a public lecture on Monday, October 14:
La Ricarda: An Architectural and Cultural Project has been generously supported by Chuck Thurow, and is a partner program of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial.
About Lawrence & Clark
Lawrence & Clark is a collection-based gallery run by Jason Pickleman. The collection spans more than 1000 works in all media. The storefront gallery is an opportunity to exhibit privately held artwork in a public setting. The gallery is open every Saturday from 1pm until 5pm and by appointment. For more information, please visit: lawrenceandclark.com.