Barceloneta Market by MiAS Architects

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Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

Curving metal forms frame the glass facade of this market hall in Barcelona by Spanish firm MiAS Architects.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

Wrapping around a bomb-damaged nineteenth century structure, the suspended metal shapes give the Barceloneta Market a new profile.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

Containing restaurants and shops, the market faces onto a large public square.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

More stories about markets on Dezeen »

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

Photography is by Adrià Goula.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

The following text is from the architects:


The Market in a Neighbourhood called l'Òstia

When I was a student at the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB), Barceloneta was the subject of much conversation. Restaurants on the beach which later disappeared... narrow streets, cramped flats, the clothes hanging out on the balconies, the shops, the artisans' workshops... and its people, who talked, and still talk, fast and loud.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

The project meant a chance to go back to the neighbourhood in an interested manner; it was no longer a trip down there for fun, to discover its people, its bars, its smell... but rather a survey of the place with the object of identifying what would enable us to reveal its qualities and to describe it accurately for the purposes of a project.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

An attempt, ultimately, to explain a reality, to offer a new and fuller meaning to an architectural project, beyond resolving a programme or commission.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

As early as the competition stage we did a collage with some of César Manrique's fantastic fish, drawings for children we hoped might embody and express the joy of these people: their liveliness, their energy, their enthusiasm in the face of frequent hardship.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

In fact the Market has always been an element of social cohesion in the neighbourhood, a landmark, sometimes almost secret and visible only to its inhabitants.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

This condition of density that the market has in relation to the city should be a condition of the project, so that the building and its immediate surroundings actually become a clear point of reference in this corner of the city of Barcelona.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

It is surprising to see now the photos we made of the market during construction, when the pieces, the bones, of this huge animal were being carried through the streets to their final place. 
This animal is now a prisoner in a military-imposed town plan, this neighbourhood, with no chance of escape.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

I think it's nice to think of the memory of these very streets of each of these transported parts; each neighbour, witness alike to the construction, or at least some fragment of the market. 
And it is surprising even now, to recall that building process, which we shared with neighbours, with workers... the final construction done in parts, little pieces of a greater reality; the assembly of these pieces, these fragments, previously cut up in the factory, to facilitate transport, and their passage through the narrow streets to the space allocated for the market.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

The market seeks to form part of the neighbourhood, its urban fabric, and is redirected toward the squares front and rear – formerly no square existed, and the bays that made up the market crossed.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

The new metal figures create new market spaces, not touching the ground, but suspended from the old structure, not a in real manner, since the two structures, the old and new, never really overlap structurally, rather they do so in a false equilibrium.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

The imprisoned, tamed building writhes within this space, a certain violence in its rebuilt form, acquiring a reality that lies between the memory of its former self and its new ambition. It uncurls, curls back up, and offers a succession of new spaces to discover.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

Click above for larger image

I think we have succeeded in making the market belong to the neighbourhood again naturally: from inside, the windows of neighbouring buildings overlay our enclosure, and vice versa. It is a market that can be understood as an extension of the city, of the neighbourhood, of its shops, of its bars, with a day-to-day continuity. And it can be crossed as one does a pedestrian crossing, hardly looking from side to side. Halls, restaurants, shops, spaces of and for the neighbourhood, ultimately... and a sense of necessarily belonging to a place, of identifying with it, and participating in its energy.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

Click above for larger image

I would like the building to be, beyond its market, a part of the neighbourhood's impudence, to match the gutsy character of this neighbourhood ― so special, so vital ― of Barcelona that they call, for some reason, l'Òstia.

Barceloneta Market by Mias Architects

Click above for larger image

  • Jon K

    Loving the cultivation of each facade, the face of each strongly communicating a distinct external relationship and attitude.

  • cacas

    sorry but this is a mess.

  • http://individual.cl/ æon

    The impression I get is of an exploration of various forms and covers made with metal. I find nice to watch the diversity obtained, the composition; it makes me think on recycling.

    • carsten

      it makes me think on recycling too,
      I would like to see this project recycled – it's a mess.

  • ustubru

    Something between miralles and ghery, pushing the worst of both…

  • Theo

    Touch of Lebbeus Woods' Radical Reconstruction here…

  • kes

    It looks like somebody put a bomb on the eiffel tower and the pieces fell in Barcelona :-)

  • Mario De Vries

    Wow! Surprising use of shapes. Old industrial archetypes in a contemporary atmosphere. Well done!

  • edward44

    The project is foreign to the communal memory of the area. It is an imposition by foreigners. Haven forbid some sensitivity to context would be shown for what is a utilitarian function.

    • barceloneta

      I refer you to my comment, down the page.

  • Francisco

    The argument is really weak and the sucession of its parts really disconnected. That fits with the overall impression!

  • lexluz

    whoa. this reminds me of EMBT's santa caterina market… with a large dose of steroids.

  • thedesigner

    I think very interesting project, love to see for real,good industrial and organic shapes, think gaudi,think guggenhaim in bilbao,also I think quite match with its neighbourhood

  • thedesigner

    Seems like flipping book pages

  • barceloneta

    It's sad that the description fails to point out the main point of this market, which I'll try to explain. It gets a bit long so bear with me:

    This neighbourhood was planned by the military in the eighteenth century after a particularly traumatic defeat which ended with the clearing of 1/3 of the old town of Barcelona to make room for a citadel which was to survey the city.

    The plan itself is as non-contextual as it gets: built on reclaimed land that did not previously exist, outside what were the city walls and with a relationship with the old town (or the rest of the city) that to this day remains tenuous at best (good thing that the rail tracks don't sever this neighbourhood from the rest of the city anymore), the main design tool for the plan was a simple grid based on the "vara de Burgos", a military measurement. The blocks were oriented with the short end facing the citadel and the long ends facing north and south: a purely functionalist scheme.

    But! Later on some military barracks were built on the neighbourhood that contradicted the strict functionalist geometry of the design: they ignored the grid and weren't even based in this "vara de Burgos" measurement. When part of this became the market, the mess resulted in the original main façades of the market (before the intervention) absurdly facing the long end of blocks and it being twisted 90º in respect to the logic of the neighbourhood…

    So this project tried to address that and, independently of its formal tropes, does so very successfully. It's main argument, despite what it may look like, is to tie an irregular piece to a very regular urban fabric.

    Also, the inside of the market is a quite beautiful space. The photos don't do it justice (it's way darker and the light is quite different) and they don't even show what's interesting about it (for example, these added-on shapes you see on the outside do house various rooms which form a quasi-constructivist industrial scape on the ceiling of the market, quite well coordinated with the original shapes of the roof and the feeling that there's a "tall darkness" where your gaze gets lost.) Shame on you, Adrià Gouda.

    There are criticisms to be made about the market, but I think they're not really about the building itself – but about what the city government thinks they have to do with markets (this one, like most new and renovated ones, now houses a supermarket, a car parking and a slightly fancy restaurant besides the stalls, and I think that's a dubious choice.)

    People these days are too quick to jump on funky shapes just because they're so unfashionable after the times of starchitecture, but sit down and think.

  • barceloneta

    (also: this used to be a hardcore industrial area where amongst other things 9 year olds worked in steel plants making ships, and where a very old gas factory stood etc.

    After the Olympics the city government carefully erased all traces of it, so it's nice to have a building that draws so heavily on the industrial vernacular of the late XIXth century, although of course the damage is already done.)

  • justin

    A great early Miralles / Pinos project…20 years too late.

  • rock

    you should all know that josep mias worked for miralles, (including on the santa catarina mercat project, + scottish parlament, to name but two) hence the direct inspiration + influence.
    it's a good project + works well, although too much structure + too much roof for me. the crashing wave metaphor roof porch in front of the market is too heavy, too literal in its symbolism.
    it really is an important facility of the neighbourhood, + la barceloneta is l'òstia!