Casa Gomis, also known as La Ricarda, in the Llobregat delta, was built between 1949 and 1963 by Antoni Bonet Castellana (1913-89) with the complicity of its owners. It is a sophisticated, experimental, organic, modular house, with a pragmatic beauty worthy of the great rationalist architects. This space was open to artists and supported avant-garde proposals during the dark years of the Franco regime. Even so, Iconic Houses, the international network of iconic houses from the 20th and 21st centuries, considers it to be an “icon at risk”. For years the family, aware of the heritage in its custody, has been seeking solutions with the authorities – for the moment, with no result – and they maintain the house with the income from visits, rental for filming and their personal contributions. La Ricarda could be a world-class cultural centre.
La Ricarda could be a world-class cultural center
California was fertile ground for the Mid-Century Modern design and architecture movement (the American reflection of the Bauhaus style, 1933-1965). Here, the initiatives to conserve and promote this heritage are mainly private or mixed. Two examples: Eames House, a landmark in residential architecture, was set up as a foundation in 2004, is advised by the Getty Conservation Institute, has a long-term strategic plan and a friends’ programme, and receives ten thousand visitors a year (half of them students); and James Goldstone House, by John Lautner, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, in 2016 the first house to be assigned in an inheritance to the LACMA, which in the long term intends to open it to the public and use it to organize exhibitions, conferences and fundraising events.
The initiatives to conserve the heritage are mainly private
The passage of time is unforgiving, and alarm bells are starting to ring in relation to emblematic houses of Catalonia from the sixties and seventies, whose state of degradation does not auger well. Despite the current situation not been favourable, the future of the architectural heritage of recent decades will have to find creative public-private formulae to protect and revitalize these unique, ground-breaking buildings, some of them exceptional like La Ricarda, which belong to history; they belong to us. Maybe the historical perspective does not yet help us, but it is our duty to play an active role in the conservation of heritage so that future generations can enjoy it. It will need protection from the authorities, good tax policies and a Patronage law, but above all dissemination and recognition.
We must play an active role in the conservancy of heritage
This article was originally write for La Vanguardia and published on February 12th, 2018 (download PDF).