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Global Architecture Platform

Holiday City

Bello Horizonte, Bahia, Jamaica, Madagascar, Maracaibo, Samoa, Habana, Caracas, Mexico I, La Paz, Cerdeña, Formentor, Corinto, Alexandria, Capri, Ischia, Athos, Malta – Capri, Flandria, Aneto, Chamonix, Atlas III, Tabarca, Capitol, Santa Fe, Florida, Puerto-Rico, Antibes, Malvinas, Alaska, Paradis, El Dorado, Atlantida

The above is a list of names from Adrià Goula’s photographic series Holiday City, featuring summer apartment buildings in Catalan coastal villages. These holiday home developments were built during the Spanish construction boom of the late sixties and seventies. They were planned as second homes for the middle-class population in big cities and, ultimately, for foreigners, who were beginning to be welcomed to Spain as Franco’s regime began its slow decline.


Belleplain, Brooklawn, Colonia, Colonia Manor, Fair Haven, Fair Lawn, Greenfields Village, Green Village, Plainsboro, Pleasant Grove, Pleasent Plains, Sunset Hill Garden, Garden City, Garden City Park, Greenlawn, Island Park, Levitown, Middleville, New City Park, Pine Lawn, Plainview, Plandome Manor, Pleasantside, Pleasantville

The above is a list of names in Dan Graham’s work Homes for America (1966-67). These names refer to large-scale housing developments built in California after the end of the Second World War. These new towns were designed and built using the “California Method” (1), based largely on standardisation and prefabrication, and were to spread throughout the country.


Sonata, Concerto, Overture, Ballet, Prelude, Serenade, Nocturne, Rhapsody – White, Moonstone Grey, Nickle, Seafoam Green, Bamboo, Coral Pink, Colonial Red

The above is a list of house models and colours in Cape Coral, a planned community founded in Florida in 1957 and one of Dan Graham’s examples illustrating Homes for America. The housing developments using the “California Method” contained a limited number of house models. In the case of Cape Coral, the combination of eight different house types and eight different colours gave rise to a controlled variability in the series.


Aria, Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Casino Royale, Circus Circus, Cosmopolitan, The Cromwell, Encore, Excalibur, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Linq, Lucky Dragon, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Palazzo, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Slots-a-Fun*, SLS, Stratosphere, Treasure Island, Tropicana, Venetian, Wynn

The above is a list of names of casinos on Las Vegas Strip. Its architecture was categorised by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown in 1968 (2) as an architecture of icons or signs. Since there are no longer any streets in Las Vegas, buildings need to stand out for themselves, and this is how neon lights, XL signs and figurative elements help to provide urban coordinates. Simulacrum therefore begins in the outer image of buildings.


Battle of Mons, Battle of the Frontiers, Togoland Campaign, Battle of Cer, Battle of Tannerberg, First Battle of the Marne, Battle of Drina, Siege of Antwerp, Battle of Ypres, Siege of Tsingtao, Battle of Kilimanjaro, Battle of Tanga, Battle of Kolubara, Battle of Limanowa, Battle of the Falklands Islands, First Battle of Champagne

The above is a list of First World War battles taking place only during the year 1914. In his book The Vanquished (3), Robert Gerwarth reviews a seemingly never-ending series of battles. Frontier lines on the map changed during the war, and towns and villages moved from one military control to another in a matter of hours. Although these names come straight from places where battles took place, they ultimately invoke the phenomena of destruction and death, as well as memory and exile, that crucially marked people’s lives. As a nihilistic phenomenon, war too erodes the toponymical coordinates from a given geography.


However, after the end of the Second World War, large-scale suburban developments were built in the context of post-war housing production in the United States. At that time, standardisation and prefabrication played a key role in the work of many architects and designers. Some, like Charles and Ray Eames, achieved excellent results in their search for a democratic, standardised, prefabricated design. Instead, other architects, city planners and developers solely attended real-estate market factors. In this latter case, place names cropped up in a different way ceasing to be associated with its own geography. These new names became the projection of a suburban lifestyle that would ultimately conquer the rest of the world. These new places of seduction called for names that would never recall wartime but just a beautiful place to live.

Like the buildings featured in Homes for America or the casinos in Las Vegas, the buildings in the Holiday City series were given names that had no relationship whatsoever with their geographic context or cultural environment. Adrià Goula’s photographs highlight the problematic place created by postmodernism, where traditional representation capitulated, where models ceased to be real and images take ground in the context of the media. In this way, representation will stem from other forms of representation and copies will be born from other copies. The real, the original, the unique or the aura have almost disappeared, replaced by the consumption of beautiful simulacra. If printing houses killed architecture, as Victor Hugo stated (4), the technical reproduction of images might have killed places. At least as we used to look at them.


See Dan Graham, “Homes for America”, Arts Magazine, December 1966 – January 1967: “[…] This “California Method” consisted simply of determining in advance the exact amount and lenghts of pieces of lumber required and multiplying them by the number of standardized houses to be built […]”.


Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, “A Significance for A&P Parking Lots, or Learning from Las Vegas”, in Architectural Forum, March 1968.


Gerwarth, Robert, The Vanquished. Why the First World War Failed to End, 1917-1923 (London: Penguin, 2017).


Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris (Paris: Charles Gosselin, 1831).

26.Jul.2018 2247 views
Adrià Goula Adrià Goula

Adrià Goula is an architect and architectural photographer. He graduated from the ETSAB-UPC Barcelona in 2000, worked in the offices of Miralles Tagliabue (EMBT) and Yves Lion, and began his professional career as an architectural photographer in 2004. His work has been published in numerous publications such as Frame, Mark, Arquitectura Viva, C3, Blueprit, Dwell, Detail, AIT, among others. He currently lectures at Elisava, Barcelona. His work has been exhibited in different art galleries in France and Spain, and his photographic series Re-Edificatoria was part of the Spanish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale.
26.Jul.2018 2247 views
Enric Llorach Enric Llorach

Enric Llorach (Barcelona, 1974) is an architect, artist and writer. In 2007 he earned his PhD at ETSAB-UPC Barcelona. He teaches at ETSAB-UPC and CEA-University of New Haven. He published the book En el filo de la navaja. Arte, arquitectura y anacronismo (Madrid: Ediciones Asimétricas, 2017) and has developed a contemporary dance piece for the Mies van der Rohe Foundation in Barcelona «Dona a contrallum» (2018).

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