Courtyard of Sant Jaume and Sant Maties

The set of Royal Colleges, together with the Church of Sant Domènec are one of the most important Renaissance complexes in the whole Catalonia. Their architecture has a fairly simple facade. In the central part there is a gateway where the imperial coat of arms of its founder, Charles I, is represented. The figures of Saint Jaume and Saint Maties, patrons of the college, appear in niches crowned by an angel figure, the Guardian Angel, patron saint of the city.

The structure of the courtyard, entirely Italian, is the work of the sculptor Francisco Montehermoso and displays a rich iconography that exalts the monarchy. In the second gallery we can find a frieze sculpted with the effigies and coats of arms of the royal couples of the Crown of Aragon, from Ramon Berenguer IV and Petronilla of Aragon to Philip III and Margaret of Austria.

In the spandrels of the first gallery we can find busts of those who appear to be Jews and Moors, and in those of the second, we can find the effigies of prophets and apostles inside medallions. The symbols of the evangelists are represented on the ground floor of the courtyard, while in the second gallery, on the outside, and taking up the corners, we can find four masks that personify the winds.

The building, also called Col·legi de dalt (Upper School), was originally devoted to the instruction of the children of converts as part of the strategy designed by the Crown of Aragon to evangelise and culturally assimilate the Moors. It currently houses the Baix Ebre Regional Archive.

Location: Carrer Sant Domènec, 21-23

Promoter: Philip II

Author: Joan Anglès (attributed)

Year: 1544

Architectural style: Renaissance

Current use: Baix Ebre Regional Archive

Covered courtyard area: 193 m2

Uncovered courtyard area: 123 m2


Space sponsored by URV’s Campus Extens in Tortosa

“GOLD DIGGER” is an installation that explores the world of curiosity and our desire for discovery. 

The intervention includes a large curtain covering the Sant Jaume and Sant Maties courtyard, composed of thermal blankets that have been joined together. The installation uses the intrinsic property of the material, having two different faces, to create a duality between two spaces: hot/cold, light/shadow, gold/silver, inside/outside. The gold side faces the courtyard and the silver side faces the building, creating a colour difference between the entrance area and the upper courtyard. The curtain is perforated at specific points with circular holes so that light can enter and the user is curious to find out what is hidden behind the curtain. The user’s curiosity makes them go through the curtain and enter a different world, from the silver darkness of the entrance to the golden light of the courtyard.

The architects Nicola Baldassarre, Salvatore Dentamaro, Francesco Di Salvo and Ilyass Erraklaouy met in an architectural studio in Barcelona. Each of them has followed a different path in the world of architecture but their friendship has reunited them to participate in the A Cel Obert competition.

Ilyass, from Tortosa, is a graduate of the Barcelona School of Architecture and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in BIM management at the UPC School. He worked for a number of different types of architectural firms before becoming an architect specialising in BIM in the office where he currently works in Barcelona.

Nicola specialised in ephemeral architecture with a Master’s degree from the IUAV University of Venice.

Salvatore specialised in sustainable architecture with a Master’s degree from La Sapienza University in Rome.

Salvatore and Nicola are co-founders of the Arcipelago collective, a team of 5 Italian architects who have participated in different competitions, winning awards such as Europan 13 and creating different ephemeral installations in Italy and Portugal.

Francesco has a degree in architecture from Politecnico di Bari. He has specialised in 3D graphic visualisation in Rome and works in the fields of architectural visualisation and ephemeral installations. He currently collaborates with various firms in Italy and Spain and is dedicated to the study of photography.