AN URBAN LIBRARY
by Joan-Anton Benach editor in chief
the cover, an image of the Mies Pavilion - "the most beautiful
architectural show in the world" - discussed inside in article
by Ignasi de Solà-Morales. It contained the first Monograph,
focussing on the urban renewal of Ciutat Vella. Miquel Siguán
wrote on the subject of schools and awareness of the urban environment,
and Josep Martí Gómez interviewed Antoni Clavé.
Outstanding among the other reports and articles was one on Collserola,
a park - as it said - for three million people. Marta Pessarrodona
delved into the secrets of Francesc Català Roca's photographic
view of the world. These were some of the subjects dealt with
in the first issue of Barcelona. Metròpolis Mediterrània.
It is appropriate to recall them now because they are a small
reminder of the effort that the magazine has dedicated from the
start to selecting its material, subjects and contributors with
That first issue was published in the spring of 1986, when the
city was diligently and enthusiastically, i.e. unspectacularly,
readying itself to be worthy of the Olympic Games. Fifty issues
have been published since then, although this is not an especially
impressive number, but one that in fact has its merits, if we
consider that every issue during the first phase of the magazine's
existence ran to over two hundred pages. With B.MM construction
of what has been called a library of urban culture began, a body
of work that, within a comprehensive framework of contemplation
and debate, has often provided a point of reference for understanding
the changes that Barcelona has undergone in connection with the
impetus of 1992. Nevertheless, we also intend to make it a point
of reference for the changes that the city will undergo during
the first decade of the new millennium, before and after 2004.
B.MM's history, however, has not been either uneventful or straightforward.
In the brief but inevitable backwash of the Olympic Games, the
magazine disappeared from view for a time. A good thing it was,
too, since other institutional periodicals, affected by less drastic
circumstances, have disappeared off the publishing map altogether.
For eighteen months - from autumn 1993 to spring 1995 - B.MM went
unpublished, and when it reappeared, it did so with a new look
and format and, it is true, with fewer pages, although it compensated
by being published more frequently. Its reappearance, which was
very well received by the media at large, was the unequivocal
expression of the will to keep the medium for communication, documentation
and exchange of opinion that the magazine had created open, above
and beyond the merely circumstantial or instrumental function
that anyone making an overly superficial analysis might attribute
to it. In this respect, we owe a vote of thanks to all of our
colleagues who, on the basis of their thorough familiarity with
the local world of periodicals, have stressed the unique personality
of the magazine, which has always focussed and will continue to
focus on the city, with all of its creative energy.
So, with an eye to continuity, it seems fitting to dwell somewhat
on the event of the publication of the magazine's fiftieth issue.
Along with the regular sections, it contains a survey of a small
group of professionals, artists and intellectuals on Barcelona's
cultural development in the past ten years, with a generally rather
critical regard; as a sort of prelude to what the "City of
Knowledge" ought to be, there are two conceptually and descriptively
fundamental articles; and since town planning and architecture
have played key roles in the new Barcelona, there is a comprehensive
rundown of the work now being exported by our professionals in
these areas. The occasion also called for the updating and publication
of a complete index for the magazine: it is our pleasure to offer
this material to all who have followed B.MM's biography to date.