Last week we had the opportunity to discover a little bit more of our city, on a guided tour through The New Architecture with Barcelona Guide Bureau. It is maybe the less known part of Barcelona, but incredibly interesting and undoubfully a must for architecture and design fans.
Our guide was Wendy, a very kind Dutch woman who has been living in Barcelona for years and she was perfectly fluent in Catalan and Spanish, although the tour is in English so everyone can follow her explanations.
We started at 3.30pm at Plaza Catalunya, and went down by Via Laietana on a modern, fast, aircon coach towards Santa Caterina Market, one example of how past and future converge in Barcelona’s architecture. The building that used to be a convent on middle ages is nowadays a top-design building with a sinuous colored roof reminiscent of Gaudí style. Market stands inside offer wide range of fruits, meats and fish on a fresh, light and welcoming atmosphere designed by Catalan architect Enric Miralles.
We continued our tour to the sea, the new façade of the city, were we could visit the Hospital del Mar entrance, an indoors-outdoors space much distant from the claustrophobic traditional waiting area of the medical facilities from the past. From there, we had a wonderful view of the coastal line of Barcelona and its many landmarks, such as the Sail Building, the two twin towers with Frank Gehry’s fish and the Forum resort, our next stop.
Located were Diagonal, the longest avenue in Barcelona, meets the sea, the Forum building by Herzog & de Meuron is a triangular building measuring 180 meters each side and 25 meters tall. Inside, we found the biggest model we have ever seen of Barcelona, with perfect miniatures of all the buildings of the city. A perfect place were to learn more about the transformation the city has been experiencing since the Olympic Games 1992.
Next to the Forum, a new residential area occupies what used to be the industrial grounds of Barcelona. A beautiful transformation that changed old warehouses and factories into crystal skyscrapers and parks, thanks to the creativeness of Enric Miralles.
The tour, after having followed the sea line, returns to the city center by Diagonal avenue, to Glories. There we visited two works by Jean Nouvel: the famous Agbar tower and the Poblenou Park. Although we have seen the Agbar tower many times, it is always impressing and amazing, as its figures are: 4400 windows and 4500 LEDs that can generate 16million colors to the façade.
Our last stop was an original work by Ricard Bofill, who has also signed the new Terminal 1 at Barcelona Airport. The National Theater is a tribute to the Classical temples, with its columns and the reminiscent of the Greek tradition. For those who know the old Barcelona Airport, the conceptual connection is clear both on the columns and on the use of glass.
At the end of the tour, we had the feeling of having discovered a new city, and realized that Barcelona is still growing and changing, as it has always been since its foundation by the Roman more than 2000 years ago.
Barcelona Guide Bureau is a tour operator founded in 1990 by a group of local expert guides. BGB specializes in guided tours in and around Barcelona and we are known for our quality service and reliability. All guides are local licensed experts and are friendly, interesting and considerate people who will make sure you have the best possible tour. BGB also has an interesting blog about Barcelona history and highlights. Núñez i Navarro Hotels can assist you in booking tours to explore Barcelona. Ask for more information when making your hotel reservation, or at Front Desk once you are checked in.