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Rogers completes Barcelona bullring overhaul

[Images + data + architect’s view] Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has completed its conversion of a former, 19th century bullring in Barcelona into a new mixed-use leisure, entertainment and office complex

The practice (then the Richard Rogers Partnership ) won the £63 million commission to revamp the Las Arenas landmark, back in 2003.

Floating over the project is a new 100-metre-diameter habitable ‘dish’ with a 76-metre-diameter domed roof which is ‘structurally independent’ from the mudéjar façade dubbed the ‘piazza in the sky’.

The scheme at the intersection of the Gran Via and Avenue Parallen includes a separate building – the ‘Eforum’ – next to the bullring, which provides retail and restaurants at ground and first-floor levels, with four levels of offices above.

The bullring fell largely into disuse during the 1970s due to the declining popularity of bull fighting in Catalonia.

The architect’s view

Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners said: We set out to re-establish Las Arenas – a late 19th century bullring – as a 21st century landmark for the city. 

‘This involved retaining the entire existing façade as well as re-integrating what had become an isolated traffic island into the city fabric. Our design includes a new leisure and retail development within this façade, as well as a completely new, adjacent office building which responds to the city’s historic street pattern. 

‘The project has also created significant areas of public realm both in the new dome structure – with its 360-degree roof terrace rising above the existing wall – and at the surrounding street level, which will help to revitalise this part of Barcelona.’

Project data

Location: Barcelona, Spain
Use: Cultural, Leisure & Office
Dates: 2000-2011
Areas: Gross internal area – 105,816m²; Bullring – 46,973m²; Eforum – 5,500m²; parking – 53,343m²
Number of floors above ground: 5
Client: Metrovacesa (from 2009)
Lead architect:
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Co-architect: Alonso Balaguer y Arquitectos Asociados
Structural engineer: Expedition Engineering and BOMA
Services engineers: BDSP and JG
Project & construction manager: Bovis
Main contractor: Dragados

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