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The Catalan Government approves the Architecture Bill

© Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC)

The Architecture Bill establishes the public nature of architecture and develops measures for its promotion and dissemination, as well as for the fostering and encouragement of architectural quality. The Bill moves on to the Parliament, where we expect its proceedings during the upcoming term.

Read here the text approved on August 4, 2015.

As the Catalan Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Santi Vila, announced in February during an event at the COAC, the Executive Council of the Catalan Government has finally approved the Bill of Architecture. Thus, the Bill has now to overcome its parliamentary process.

Two years of intense work, with the support of the COAC

This legislative initiative originated two years ago when the Catalan Government, with the leadership of the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Santi Vila, and the support of the COAC, decided to start the drafting of the future Law of Architecture.

The COAC has worked closely with the Department of Territory and Sustainability during all the process, joining efforts in this common goal. The COAC participated in the workgroup that set the first guidelines and, afterwards, in the committee that elaborated the draft bill. All this work has been possible thanks to the support and implication of colleagues and associations such as Arquitectes per l’Arquitectura.

Content of the Bill

The Bill, based on the establishment of the value of architecture as a public good, develops measures to foster and promote architecture and to encourage and sponsor architectural quality, both in building construction and in public spaces and planning.

The text recognizes the social value of architecture and establishes measures for the promotion, fostering and teaching of architecture and its effect on our living conditions. In this regard, actions by the public administration through various instruments are foreseen, from the creation of the Catalan Council of Architectural Quality as a government advisory body, to fostering specific local policies.

In the field of public contracting, the Bill contains measures to guarantee that architectural quality gets a predominant role in assessment criteria. It also handles the continuity between architectural project and construction management, as well as the appropriate composition of juries and the establishment of guidelines for bidding values in public tenders. In addition, it seeks to promote that procedures will allow young graduates into the profession. 

At the European level

In recent years, the European Union has implemented directives and resolutions which highlight the contribution made by architecture in urban and rural environments, acknowledging its major role in public policies.

Accordingly, the EU has recommended the promotion of architectural quality by fostering its values ​​among the citizens and adopting exemplary policies of public construction. However, these directives have not yet been transposed in Spain and other European countries. Therefore, the new Catalan Architecture Bill becomes an international benchmark.

The COAC is confident that, once approved by the Catalan Parliament, the Law of Architecture will respond to the needs of society, architecture and architects of the present and the future, improving the knowledge and social awareness of the importance of architecture and the work made by architects.