Las Arenas Opens
Las Arenas, a refurbished former bullring in Barcelona formally reopened to the public on 25 March 2011 as a major new mixed-use leisure, entertainment and office complex. The historic bullring, built at the very end of the 19th century, has long been a visual landmark and gateway to the city but fell largely into disuse during the 1970s due to the declining popularity of bull fighting in Catalonia. The new development - using the most advanced architectural and engineering technologies - has preserved the striking neo-mudéjar façade of the original bullring, whilst providing a major new leisure and entertainment complex within the façade as well as an adjacent office building and telecommunications tower. New public spaces have been created around the base of the development, with connections to the existing metro station and neighbouring Parc Joan Miró. The design has also added a 100-metre-diameter habitable ‘dish’ with a 76-metre-diameter domed roof. This ‘plaza in the sky’ incorporates large terraces around the perimeter with space for cafés and restaurants offering stunning views over the city.
Richard Rogers commented: “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.”
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Alonso Balaguer y Arquitectos Asociados
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