7 May 2018 – Eje Prime
Albert Blanch and Merche Conca founded BCA in 1994 without a portfolio of clients and working from the living room at home. 25 years later, the architecture studio is a leading player in Barcelona, where it has carried out projects with Socimis and funds such as Colonial, Lar and Blackstone, and has generated an assembly line in which thirty of its own professionals work on 45 projects each year. That number is the average that Blanch likes working with – “fifteen projects coming in, fifteen underway and fifteen being completed”, says the architect – who, from his office in the Sant Gervasi-Galvany neighbourhood, confirms to Eje Prime that, “when projects don’t come to your door, you have to go and look for them”. It was this approach that enabled BCA to overcome the crisis without leaving Barcelona and to grow its turnover by 200% over the last few years.
Proof of this is its presence in the 22@ district, the new fashionable neighbourhood for the tertiary sector in Barcelona. In the so-called technological hub of the Catalan capital, a melting pot for large office projects being developed in the city, BCA has worked on fifteen jobs, including the Cornerstone building, the UA1 property and Torre Pujades (…).
But in order to handle this volume of buildings in the most rapidly growing prime area of Barcelona, BCA has had to win the trust of various real estate players over the last two decades. Once again, Blanch refers to his motto of not waiting for the opportunities to come to you. In this way, he and Conca launched their studio with clients that were “very important but with very small projects, including several in the banking sector”, says the architect. Leading entities in Cataluña such as La Caixa and Banco Sabadell backed their firm, which started out designing bank branches, “a product that its very limited from an architectural point of view but for which there was a lot of demand at that time and that guaranteed us income to allow us to survive”, adds Blanch.
That specialisation carried out by BCA also boosted the growth of the studio. Heads of the banks that they worked with recommended Blanch and Conca to their superiors for most high-profile projects such as entire buildings and regional offices, but “combining these larger jobs with the bank branches, that was our formula for success”, says the architect.
The remodelling of Vía Augusta, 21 for Colonial launched them into the office sector
The next success story came with the complete remodelling of a building owned by Colonial on the corner of Vía Augusta and Diagonal, in the heart of Barcelona. That project, which was completed in 2000, “really put us on the map in the office sector”, says Blanch. More than one property developer and fund called at BCA’s door after that and allowed the firm to participate in larger projects (…).
Following the building on Vía Augusta 21, many more projects emerged, mainly in Cataluña but also in Madrid, the Community of Valencia, Navarra, Murcia, the Canary Islands and Aragón. And BCA does not only survive on offices. The studio also carries out projects in the residential, hotel, facilities and urban planning sectors (…).
Like many other large architecture studios, BCA has also undertaken work at airports. The firm won a public tender to expand Terminal C at El Prat (…).
Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)
Translation: Carmel Drake