With a striking, reflective canopy, the Encants Barcelona Market project won the WAN Commercial Award for 2013.
The Encants Barcelona Market project, which incorporates a flea market and parking area designed by b720 Fermin Vazquexz Arquitectos, has won the World Architecture News (WAN) Commercial Award for 2013.
Traditionally an informal outdoor centenarian marketplace, the new design took into consideration the ancient roots of the original Els Encants market and maintained its open nature, but updated the space and changed the retail perspective. And this is what played into the jury’s favour.
Since one of the design objectives was to avoid multiple flooring that would remind of a shopping mall model, the biggest constraint was the limited size of the new location (8 000m²), which is about half of the former grounds.
The architects addressed this challenge by designing a continuous commercial area with slightly inclined planes intertwining and creating an endless loop, which links small shops and allows visitors to stroll from one stall to the next. By bending the square deck through the inclined walkways, the dissimilar levels of the streets around the market, and subsequently the different levels of the entrances, are also reconciled.
The almost 25m high ceiling structure is suspended as a canopy that protects shopkeepers and visitors from the sun. It also creates a prominent landmark that draws attention to the market. The canopy is arranged in variable width bands and its underside presents various inclinations that reflect images of the city into the market and vice versa.
The building further includes two underground levels. The first one is for the logistic needs of the market and the second one houses a public car park for the users.
When it comes to the commercial sector, the challenge for architects is to determine what is actually possible in design, since commercial buildings should make an impression, but essentially function as places where people can work.
The judging panel took into account the functionality of commercial building design and considered how each finished product addressed the client brief. They were especially impressed with the unusual design and development of this market space.
One of the judges, Kent Jackson, commented: “I thought the market was great from its impact to its surroundings – integrating saving something that may have been potentially lost. There are subtleties about it in its craft, with the mirrored ceiling reflecting the coloured clothes of people bouncing off the ceiling in the daylight demure.”
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to World Architecture News.com for the information given to write this article.