Barcelona is always in constant evolution and reinvention. Especially since the Olympic Games of 1992, which promoted the great renovation of the city, lots of spaces and buildings have been transformed and redefined. ShBarcelona offers you a selection of 5 renovated spaces that you can’t miss in your time in Barcelona.
- Palo Alto
Palo Alto was an old factory saved from demolition at the end of the 80’s in the Poble Nou district. The factory dates back to 1875 and changed hands until the 1950’s, when it started its decay. It was threatened by demolition during the renovation process for the Olympic Games of 1992, but the artist Javier Mariscal saved it and turned into his studio. He reconverted the space into studios and offices and kept and fixed the exuberant garden. The space was in a very critical situation in 2014, when Mariscal decided to close down his studio and open the space to other companies and projects, like the famous vintage market that takes place one weekend a month. The Palo Alto vintage market is a good opportunity to marvel at the spaces and the gardens, but if you prefer to visit it calmly, you can access Palo Alto to go to the canteen from Monday to Friday, they have a good and accessible menu and you will be free to explore the garden!
Palo Alto: Carrer dels Pellaires 30
2. Las Arenas
Las Arenas bullring opened in 1900 to host bullfighting events in a large venue. The building was completed in Neo-mudejar style (Moorish Revival architecture, typical of some Modernist buildings) and was also the place for speeches, shows, boxing events or even the Republican headquarters during the Spanish Civil War. The last bullfight event took place in 1977, and Las Arenas was almost demolished in the 80’s to build a pavilion for the Barcelona fair. It was finally preserved and bought in 1999 for the Sacresa group to build a shopping centre. The construction work was stopped and continued several times, until 2011, when the shopping centre opened. The architects preserved the façade and had to lift it with a big structure. They also added a dome with a deck and an adjacent building.
Las Arenas contains shops and restaurants, cinemas, a gym and it also hosts the Rock Museum. The most interesting thing to do in Las Arenas, apart from admiring the historical façade, is to go up to the deck and enjoy the panoramic views of the area. A piece of advice: don’t pay for the lift, you can access the deck through the escalator inside the shopping centre!
Las Arenas: Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 373-385
3. The Moritz Factory
In Ronda Sant Antoni, near the old University building, you can find a very interesting renovated space: The Moritz Factory. It hosts the Moritz beer brewery, a bar and a restaurant, the M-Store, a museum and a terrace.
Moritz is a historical beer in Barcelona. Louis Moritz arrived from Alsace in 1851 and started producing his own beer in the Raval area. In 1864, he bought the building and opened the brewery in Ronda Sant Antoni. He died in 1920 leaving the company to the family, who continued with the business and ran it during the 50’s and 60’s. The company dissolved in 1978, but after some legal issues returned in 2004 and it’s now very present all over the city. The Sant Antoni brewery underwent a transformation conceived by the famous architect Jean Nouvel. It took 10 years and 30 million euros, but the factory finally reopened in 2011. The architect kept the 150 years old walls and the cement tanks from the 20’s, and integrated them into the new design, combining the old elements with modern ones (like glass walls). A tip: don’t miss the toilets, in the basement!
Moritz Factory: Ronda de Sant Antoni, 39 – 41
4. El Clot Park
It’s obvious that parks are the heart and soul of a big city like Barcelona. Some are really popular, some pass unnoticed, and some, like this one, have a very different past and an interesting story behind. The Clot Park, very near the Glòries square (where a huge new park is in progress) was a former train workshop. Planned in 1986, the park kept some of the walls of the workshop and the chimney, combining them with natural spaces and play and sport areas. The park also contains some sculptures (like the Pineapple, by Bryan Hunt) and even an aqueduct
made with the old arches of the workshop.
El Clot Park: Carrer dels Escultors Claperós
5. Born Centre Cultural
In the heart of the popular Born area, this cultural centre is a magnificent two layers History lesson. The old market dates back to 1876, and it was the first iron architecture building in the city. In 2002, during the renovation of the building to host a library, remains of houses of the Ribera district from the 13th to the 18th century were found in the site. This part of the district had been demolished in 1714 after the defeat of Catalonia in the War of Succession. This part of the city was demolished to build the Ciutadella military structure (now part of the Ciutadella park). The Government decided to host here a cultural and memory centre, which opened its doors in 2013. The space can be visited for free (not the different exhibitions though), and the remains can be seen from the top. There are guided tours to the site every day, from Tuesday to Sunday.
Born CC: Plaça Comercial 12
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