In 1999 the Xunta de Galicia called an International Architecture Competition to build the City of Culture of Galicia on Mount Gaiás in Santiago de Compostela. Twelve proposals by renowned national and international architects' studios were initially submitted to this competition for ideas. The architects who submitted their ideas for defining the architectural complex and its uses were Ricardo Bofill, Peter Eisenman, Manuel Gallego Jorreto, Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer, Steve Holl, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Jean Nouvel, Dominique Perrault, César Portela, and Santiago Calatrava (who later withdrew his project). Out of all these ideas, the final project to be selected for development was the design by Eisenman Architects, as - to quote the Jury - it was, “unique both in concept and plasticity, and exceptionally in tune with the site's location“. Located in Santiago de Compostela, a historic city that is an emblem of the European cultural tradition and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985, the City of Culture of Galicia stands on top of Mount Gaiás, a formidable architectural landmark for the new century. Conceived as a large-scale cultural hub devoted to hosting the best of cultural expressions of Galicia, Spain, Europe, Latin America and the World, this new “city” will contribute with its inclusive and pluralistic approach to meeting the challenges of the information and knowledge society. Its unique buildings, connected up by streets and plazas equipped with state-of-the-art technology, create a space of excellence for reflection, debate and actions oriented towards the preservation of heritage and memory, towards study, research, experimentation, production and dissemination in the field of literature and thinking, music, drama, dance, film, the visual arts, audiovisual creation and communication. This book invites readers to stroll around a new city where past, present, and future cultures coexist: “A new cultural Babylon will open its doors to readers.”
Maxwell L. Anderson is director of The Indiana University Melvin & Bren Simon Center and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Lawrence Chua is a professor at Cornell University. Peter Eisenman is an architect. Rachel Healy is director of performing arts of Sydney Opera House. Andrés Perea is an architect. Ramón Villares is president of Galician Culture Council. Ismail Serageldin is director of the Library of Alexandria.