Herzog & de Meuron
Competition
2000
Project
2001-2002
Realization
2002-2004

When we started in January 2001 with the design for the building to house the Barcelona Forum 2004, the site was a so-called “terrain vague”, urbanistically speaking a “no-man’s land”, with industrial installations, a residual water treatment plant and a petrol station. While it had some elements of exterior design, such as a sculpture that functioned as a fountain and a small park, there was still a lot of open, vacant land. According to the established schedule, in a period of three years, this entire area was to become part of the architecturally organized and well-defined city. The aim was to convert the chosen zone into the most important and significant district of 21st century Barcelona.

The site is located at the very end of the Avenida Diagonal, where it meets the Mediterranean coast and connects to a newly created gigantic artificial platform, spanning over the Ronda Litoral.

Barcelona is a European metropolis that through its history, climate and the customs of its inhabitants, is predestined to make use of its exterior space, according to its respective configuration, as a living urban location of its social interrelations. For this reason, we decided instead of planning the building as an independent object within an open space, we would propose a building that generates and structures this open space.

To allow for the maximum combination of functions, maximum flexibility and spatial interaction, we also decided that the program, such as the auditorium with 3,200 seats, large exhibition areas, foyer spaces, small administration areas and the restaurant should be organized horizontally.

With these ideas, the elevated flat triangular body emerged almost spontaneously, because it maximizes the possible footprint by forming an extensive cover for the plaza and perfectly expresses the specific situation of the land it occupies between the branches of the right-angled Cerda Grid and the Avenida Diagonal.

The open public space that emerges under the triangular body is thought as a hybrid space, a mixture of several urban typologies. A series of courtyards that cut through the elevated volume as well as the artificial platform establish multiple relations between the street level and the other levels of the building, while always permitting new angles of vision and a changing play of light. The shape of these courtyards derived again from the juxtaposition of the two directions of the grid of Cerda and the cut of the Diagonal.

In order to generate and maintain vitality and interrelation, additional program units are included, such as an open market space with a large fountain, a place for relaxation and meditation around a dripping water courtyard, a small intimate chapel, a bar, a kiosk and other simple facilities that complement the conference and exhibition centre. The buildings satisfy the needs of all social levels: for tourists and also for the citizens of the city, for culture enthusiasts and also for conference attendees, for young people and for older people.

The interiors of the auditorium and the exhibition are designed as hybrid spaces, not only blurring the boundaries between exterior and interior, but which also easily adapt to the constantly changing program. The auditorium is neither a bare conference centre nor a philharmonic music hall; the exhibition area is neither a predictable convention centre nor a classical museum space. The atmosphere of these spaces will change with the program and the building will redefine itself accordingly.

The conception of a building with a coupling of interior and exterior space, as well as the flexibility of the program responds to the need for social durability from the collective point of view. The result is a building that is topography.

Herzog & de Meuron, 2004

190_CP_0400_AB
190_CP_0400_AB
190_CP_0410_700_YS
190_CP_0410_700_YS
190_CP_0405_719_DM
190_CP_0405_719_DM
190_CP_0405_749_DM
190_CP_0405_749_DM

Process

Light and shade of Moorish and Gothic archi­tecture, caves, water and leaves.

190_RFmt_003_Others
190_RFmt_003_Others
190_RFsb_ALHAMBR2
190_RFsb_ALHAMBR2
190_RFcl_526
190_RFcl_526
190_RFnl_516
190_RFnl_516
190_RFnl_001_Perforation
190_RFnl_001_Perforation
190_RFcl_530
190_RFcl_530
190_RFmt_075_Texture
190_RFmt_075_Texture
190_RFnl_509
190_RFnl_509
190_RFnl_042_Water
190_RFnl_042_Water

The Forum as anchor: a huge area on the seaward edge of the old town is under development.

190_SI_0304_300_SATELIT-CLI
190_SI_0304_300_SATELIT-CLI
190_SI_0209_503
190_SI_0209_503
190_SI_0106_007_B
190_SI_0106_007_B
190_SI_0206_010_B
190_SI_0206_010_B
190_SI_0206_008_B
190_SI_0206_008_B
190_SI_0106_508
190_SI_0106_508

This district where the Avenida Diagonal meets the Cerdà Plan is to be upgraded. Herzog & de Meuron had already designed a purification plant here in 1989 to form a park with access to the sea.

051_PA_8900_003
051_PA_8900_003

Sea view or plaza: sketches and models for a highrise and a lowrise building. The roof of the flat building is pierced by lightwells.

190_SK_0101_015
190_SK_0101_015
190_SK_0102_003
190_SK_0102_003
190_SK_0102_005
190_SK_0102_005
190_MO_0101_043
190_MO_0101_043
190_MO_0101_244
190_MO_0101_244
190_MO_0101_223
190_MO_0101_223
190_MO_0202_037
190_MO_0202_037
190_MO_0107_065
190_MO_0107_065
190_MO_0106_521
190_MO_0106_521
190_MO_0106_509
190_MO_0106_509

Models for lightwells, their forms distorted by a dual geometric alignment.

190_MO_0106_507
190_MO_0106_507
190_MO_0101_510
190_MO_0101_510
190_MO_0103_032
190_MO_0103_032
190_MO_0107_513
190_MO_0107_513
190_MO_0107_036
190_MO_0107_036
190_MO_0109_598_060_MOb
190_MO_0109_598_060_MOb
190_MO_0111_002
190_MO_0111_002
190_MO_0111_005
190_MO_0111_005
190_DR_0304_Patio06
190_DR_0304_Patio06
190_DR_0304_Patio08
190_DR_0304_Patio08

In this building, the architects have evoked the nearby sea, giving the blue-pigmented facade a coral-like surface texture.

190_SA_0311_012
190_SA_0311_012
190_SA_0309_037
190_SA_0309_037
190_SA_0208_003
190_SA_0208_003
190_MU_0301_026
190_MU_0301_026
190_SA_0301_018
190_SA_0301_018

The chrome cladding on the underside of the ceiling shows passers-by a foamy pattern.

190_SA_0301_703_DS_10764
190_SA_0301_703_DS_10764
190_MU_0302_006
190_MU_0302_006

The surface of the facade and the glazed inserts are tested in a 1:1 mock-up.

190_MU_0212_500
190_MU_0212_500
190_MU_0301_001
190_MU_0301_001
190_MU_0212_008
190_MU_0212_008
190_MU_0212_169
190_MU_0212_169

Floor plans with auditorium, plaza and roof; the distance between floor and ceiling varies.

190_DR_0209_511_UG
190_DR_0209_511_UG
190_DR_0209_521_1OG
190_DR_0209_521_1OG
190_DR_0407_022_PPC
190_DR_0407_022_PPC
190_DR_0209_525_roof
190_DR_0209_525_roof
190_DR_080811_S2_M1
190_DR_080811_S2_M1
190_DR_080811_S1_M1
190_DR_080811_S1_M1
190_DR_0209_544_section
190_DR_0209_544_section
190_DR_0209_552_elevation
190_DR_0209_552_elevation
190_DR_0209_554_elevation
190_DR_0209_554_elevation

A load­bearing bridge structure capable of a large span is used for the steel­framed building.

190_CO_0204_501_ILB
190_CO_0204_501_ILB
190_CO_0212_301_ILB
190_CO_0212_301_ILB
190_CO_0210_503
190_CO_0210_503
190_CO_0212_516
190_CO_0212_516
190_CO_0305_704_HS
190_CO_0305_704_HS
190_CO_0305_702_HS
190_CO_0305_702_HS
190_CO_0305_703_HS
190_CO_0305_703_HS
190_CO_0311_712_HS
190_CO_0311_712_HS
190_CO_030715_703_DS_13410
190_CO_030715_703_DS_13410
190_CO_0311_715_HS
190_CO_0311_715_HS
190_CO_0311_716_HS
190_CO_0311_716_HS
190_CO_030715_704_DS_Patio6
190_CO_030715_704_DS_Patio6
190_CO_031110_705_DS_Patio6
190_CO_031110_705_DS_Patio6

The Forum is a social hub for congress participants and locals alike.

190_CP_0407_723_HS_B
190_CP_0407_723_HS_B
190_CP_0406_353_IDLL
190_CP_0406_353_IDLL
190_CP_0405_707_DM
190_CP_0405_707_DM
190_CP_0405_713_MN
190_CP_0405_713_MN
190_CP_0405_701_DM
190_CP_0405_701_DM
190_CP_0405_507_CHB
190_CP_0405_507_CHB
190_CP_0405_717_DM
190_CP_0405_717_DM
190_CP_0405_720_DM_06-318
190_CP_0405_720_DM_06-318

Foyers, courtyards, auditorium and atriums that cut into the facade.

190_CP_0405_531_CHB
190_CP_0405_531_CHB
190_CP_0405_514_CHB
190_CP_0405_514_CHB
190_CP_0405_749_DM
190_CP_0405_749_DM
190_CP_0405_729_DM_41-318
190_CP_0405_729_DM_41-318
190_CP_0405_744_DM
190_CP_0405_744_DM
190_CP_0405_719_MN
190_CP_0405_719_MN
190_CP_0405_724_MN
190_CP_0405_724_MN
190_CP_0405_737_DM
190_CP_0405_737_DM

Drawings

190_DR_0209_511_UG
190_DR_0209_511_UG
190_DR_0209_521_1OG
190_DR_0209_521_1OG
190_DR_0407_022_PPC
190_DR_0407_022_PPC
190_DR_080811_S1_M1
190_DR_080811_S1_M1
190_DR_080811_S2_M1
190_DR_080811_S2_M1
190_DR_0209_544_section
190_DR_0209_544_section
190_DR_0209_552_elevation
190_DR_0209_552_elevation
190_DR_0209_554_elevation
190_DR_0209_554_elevation
190_DR_0304_Patio08
190_DR_0304_Patio08
190_DR_0304_Patio06
190_DR_0304_Patio06

Team

Facts

Client
Ayuntamiento de Barcelona (represented by Infrastructures del Llevant de Barcelona S.A), Barcelona, Spain
Planning
Construction Managment: Herzog & de Meuron SL, Barcelona, Spain
Construction Management (Technical Architect): Ibering, Barcelona, Spain
Structural Engineering: R. Brufau, Barcelona, Spain
Structural Engineering: WGG Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure, Basel, Switzerland
MEP Engineering: : JGA, Joan Gallostra, Barcelona, Spain
MEP Engineering: Waldhauser AG, Basel, Switzerland;
MEP Engineering: Francesc Labastida, Barcelona, Spain
Specialist / Consulting
Acoustic Consulting: Estudi Acústic H. Arau, Barcelona, Spain
Facade Consulting: Biosca & Botey, Barcelona, Spain; Mernie, S.A., Barcelona, Spain
Facade Consulting : Talleres Inox, Barcelona, Spain
Render Facade: Asoes Condal, Barcelona, Spain
Lighting Consulting: Isometrix, London, UK
Stainless Steel Ceiling (Manufacturer & Engineering): Detlef Schobert, Inox Color, Walldürn, Germany
Stainless Steel Ceiling (Installer): Lummel, Karlstadt, Germany
Construction Details: J.T. Ardèvol & Assoc., Barcelona, Spain
Building Data
Site Area: 172'222 sqft, 16'000 sqm
Gross floor area (GFA): 484'375 sqft, 45'000 sqm
Footprint: 172'222 sqft, 16'000 sqm
Gross volume (GV): 4'944'058 cbft, 140'000 cbm

Bibliography

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 1997-2001. The Complete Works. Volume 4.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2008. Vol. No. 4.

Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.): “Arquitectura Viva. Herzog & de Meuron 1978-2007.” 2nd rev. ed. Madrid, Arquitectura Viva, 2007.

Nobuyuki Yoshida (Ed.): “Architecture and Urbanism. Herzog & de Meuron 2002-2006.” Tokyo, A+U Publishing Co., Ltd., 08.2006.

Fernando Márquez Cecilia, Richard Levene (Eds.): “El Croquis. Herzog & de Meuron 2002-2006. Monumento e Intimidad. The Monumental and the Intimate.” Vol. No. 129/130, Madrid, El Croquis, 2006.

Jacques Herzog, Dirk Meyhöfer: “Im Gespräch: Jacques Herzog und Dirk Meyhöfer.” In: Bauverlag BV GmbH (Ed.). “Deutsche Bauzeitschrift. Forum Barcelona.” Vol. No. 9, Gütersloh, Bauverlag BV GmbH, 09.2004. no pages.

Matteo Poli, Mirko Zardini: “Barcelona Forum 2004.” In: Stefano Boeri (Ed.). “Domus. Rivista mensile di Architettura, Design, Arte e Informazione.” Vol. No. 866, Milan, Domus S.p.A., 01.2004. pp. 26-47.

Fernando Márquez Cecilia, Richard Levene (Eds.): “El Croquis. Herzog & de Meuron 1998-2002. La Naturaleza del Artificio. The Nature of Artifice.
Vol. No. 109/110, Madrid, El Croquis, 2002.

Location