Good news from Spain and Germany

Can there be good news from both these countries? Given the economic crisis, and the fact that what will rescue one will be, at the least, unpopular in the other. Well it seems that there can, at least in the world of architecture.

Spain is to get its first significant building by Renzo Piano, an arts centre in Santander. I admit that my heart sank when I first read about this, thinking, oh no another museum that they can’t afford and can’t afford to run. But this one will be entirely funded privately, by the Botin Foundation which is putting up the money not just for the building but also for running it.  And the building should not only be a glory in itself (a modest, visually floating structure), but also involves landscaping and the reconnection of a cut-off part of the city.

What more could one want? What a lot of people want is a civilised, well-designed and affordable place to stay when they are travelling. That is what Generator Hostels aims to do, using cutting edge design and art works while still providing beds at between 17 and 37 Euro a night. It just announced its latest development, in Hamburg, as part of a 200 million Euro expansion plan. So, in very different ways, these are two types of affordable, well-designed developments. The staycation may be under pressure in the next few years.





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