Place and Culture: Barcelona (and more)

This past week we walked to some interesting projects as part of one of our classes called “Place and Culture.” Basically it’s just an excuse to look at cool buildings. The first one we visited was called the Center of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona (CCCB). The location of the building in the fabric of the old city makes it a really interesting urban condition. The new building occupies the fourth side of a large courtyard. The facade of the building folds out over the plaza at the two uppermost floors. As a result of the facade being entirely glass, you get a glimpse of the city scape out to the water in the reflection of the glass from the uppermost floors. It’s pretty cool. I’ve included a quick sketch to illustrate this. The is the plan of the buildings around the plaza (the un-hatched portion to the right of the courtyard is the area of the new building. Below the plan is the section, with the new building on the right side:

Here are some pictures of what that looks like:

You enter the building from the opposite side of the courtyard, via a ramp that takes you underground. You transverse underneath the entire courtyard before reaching the new building, where you are thrust into a towering atrium behind the glass facade:

Opposite the glass, giant escalators take you directly from below ground to the third floor. It’s an amazing experience because as you rise, you come into plane with the level of the exterior courtyard, and then begin to rise above it. The glass facade allows you to see into the entire courtyard. You get to experience the entire courtyard from a perspective that is essentially outside of it – something that you rarely get to experience because courtyard by nature are closed off on all 4 sides. It’s a pretty unique experience.

The current exhibition inside the center was dedicated to labyrinths. It was a really cool exhibit that had history, examples, puzzles, videos, and installations all about labyrinths. Not knowing what we would be seeing here, it turned out to be a pretty successful visit.

Labyrinth of mirros – the whole thing was contained in a room that was maybe 20’x20′, however it was done so well that we spent a good 15 minutes in it. Maybe more:

Another building was saw was the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB). It’s a very new research park that is situated right near the beach next to one of Barcelona’s main hospitals. It function similarly to the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA – top researchers from around the world come to collaborate on current biomedical issues with cutting edge technology and facilities. The building itself is oval-shaped, with a large rectangular subtraction through the middle of it, effectively making the building somewhat of  a “C” shape. The exterior of the building is clad with horizontal wood slates while the interior courtyard around the subtraction zone is like with glass and walkways.

Here are few other things we visited also, some as part of the class, and some on our own.

Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum (MABCA) by Richard Meier (if you can’t tell…):

The docks at the marina:

Reflection off the Maremagnum, the shopping mall floating out in the marina:

Park by the marina with a submarine and Montjuic in the background:

Gas Natural headquarters, by Miralles Tagliabue (they have done some really great projects, I recommend visiting anything by them):

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One Response to Place and Culture: Barcelona (and more)

  1. arianne says:

    Loved the plan & section analysis. That science research building is beautiful! Miralles did the new parliament building in Edinburgh, but I didn’t love it, too much going on. If you make it up there, I’ll be curious on your take It was the last project Enric was involved in. Perhaps the firm is actually getting stronger post Enric….

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