chapter  2
15 Pages

An augury of collapse: Herzog and De Meuron’s CaixaForum in Madrid

WithAdam Sharr

This chapter is about the CaixaForum art gallery in Madrid, a product of one of the world’s most famous architecture brands: Herzog and De Meuron. Celebrated by the architectural media, the project was funded by – and bears the name of – Spain’s largest savings bank. It opened in February 2008, at a time when the so-called ‘credit crunch’ was causing chaos in global fi nancial markets. The CaixaForum was arguably the last major ‘signature’ project from the boom times to be completed before the recession hit in 2008, which many economists believe to have been the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.1 I will argue that the CaixaForum can be read, in retrospect, as an augury of collapse, as a curiously prescient anticipation of disaster.2