One of the most vital places in a Mediterranean city is its market. There are almost 40 of them in Barcelona. Each district has its own, and in some of the most populated neighborhoods there may be even more than one. In today’s article we talk about one of them, the Santa Caterina Market.
A catalog of historical architecture
Located very close to the cathedral, the Santa Caterina Market is also an example of how something as common as buying food mixes with historic architecture.
And it is that Barcelona, with a history of almost 2,000 years, conserves architecture of different times. Sometimes even in the same building. And this is what happens in the Santa Caterina market.
The market was built in 1848, on the remains of what was once one of the most important convents of Barcelona, the Dominican friars, founded in the s. XIII. But also, in the same space, remains of the Bronze Age and a Roman necropolis of the 4th century AD were discovered in the basement. Mixed with all this, the remodeling made between 1998 and 2003 also makes it a must when talking about contemporary architecture.
Contemporary architecture for shopping
The last intervention was performed by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue. Their project they proposed allows an overlap between the old and the new, a dialogue between different periods.
The old market lot was larger than the current lot.
Miralles and Tagliabue reduced the number of shops to build connections between the surrounding streets that did not exist before, making the market more accessible and dynamic. In addition, the leftover land was used to make 59 apartments for the elderly. Distributed in 2 buildings, which only have between 36 and 55 m2, they have common areas as a multipurpose room on the first floor and premises for community use.
But the most attractive part of the market is its roof.
It is a metal structure that weighs 604 tons and is the element that stands out for its colorful, composed of 200,000 15-centimeter ceramic hexagons, done by Toni Comella. These hexagons have 67 different colors that are the colors that result from pixelating a photo from a fruit shop.
Also the doors to the market remind us of what is sold inside: they have the shape, color and texture of the boxes where the fruit is transported.
Also noteworthy are the large master beams that cross the entire central part of the market and the 109 variable geometry arches that support the roof.
At the back of the building there was a space reserved for the remains of the old convent of Santa Caterina.
We can take a short break to enjoy the Santa Caterina market on our tour of the Gothic Quarter.