The concept for the bullring is to use the most advanced architectural and engineering technologies in response to the brief, while respecting and celebrating the fabric of the historical bullring to create a visually striking new landmark for the city. The original 19th century bullring was raised above the levels of the surrounding streets with ramps and stairs within the surrounding plinth providing access. However, the redevelopment – which involved the excavation of the base of the façade and the insertion of composite arches to support the existing wall and create new spaces for shops and restaurants – re-establishes a new, open public realm around the base of the building providing level access to a wide range of retail facilities. In contrast, the Eforum building follows the typical, historic street alignment of the Pla Cerda grid pattern of streets which are typical of the 19th century Barcelona streetscape.
The approach for the bullring uses the most advanced architectural and engineering technologies in response to the brief, while respecting and celebrating the fabric of the historical bullring to re-establish the building as a visually striking landmark for the city. The most spectacular aspect of the intervention is the inclusion of a 100-metre-diameter habitable 'dish' with a 76-metre-diameter domed roof, floating over the façade of the bullring – and structurally independent from it – providing flexible, column-free spaces beneath the dome (as well as below on level 4). This covered 'plaza in the sky' incorporates large terraces around the perimeter with space for cafes and restaurants, providing stunning views over the city.
Four main access routes cut through the building at 90 degrees to each other, providing access from Plaça Espanya, Parc Joan Miró, Carrer Tarragona and Carrer Llancà and forming a cruciform system leading into the central atrium space. Within these zones, escalators are located to provide access to all levels including the rooftop plaza. Two large, partially-glazed passenger lifts are located on one side of the circular atrium serving the parking and retail (-1) levels; on the other side of the atrium, two fully-glazed, panoramic passenger lifts serves the upper floors.
In addition, there are two fully-glazed external lifts on Calle Llanca at the entrance to the Eforum office building and two panoramic passenger lifts (partially glazed) on the outside of the telecommunications tower facing Plaza d'Espana. This tower reinforces the presence of the bullring and – at its base – provides direct access from the metro station Espanya to the building. The multi-functional area within the dome and the restaurants around its perimeter can be accessed from this elevated public space.
Equally important is the resolution of the ground plane surrounding the bullring, where new plazas are created to provide connections with the existing metro station and neighbouring Parc Joan Miró. These large external areas at the base of the bullring are equipped with seating, fountains, sculpture and planting to create a comfortable and appropriately contextual setting for the new building. In addition, the development links strongly to the nearby Fira de Barcelona – a key European business exhibition venue attracting 3.5 million visitors – and the neighbouring districts of Eixample and Sants-Montjuic, one of Barcelona's fastest-growing and dynamic areas.
Strategically located at the foothill of Montjuic and the intersection of Gran Via and Avenue Parallel, the bullring will act as a major landmark and focal point for Placa Espanya. A clearly expressed circulation system, concentrated in the central atrium, allows easy access to all levels of the building.
Large external landscaped areas surrounding the bullring provide high-quality public open space that also serves to connect the building to the metro station and the adjacent park. The roof-top piazza and the viewing platforms provide additional public space with spectacular views over the city.
Copyright © 2013 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP. All rights reserved.