the year 2001, the market for the 21st century
the year 2001, the market for the 21st century will be unrecognisable.
The doors of the Boqueria will open in the first months of the
year 2001, to reveal a totally rejuvenated market. Barcelonans
visiting it will discover a structure that will have been restored
from top to bottom, which will have gained in natural light and
which will be easier to move around in and find what you are looking
for. "It will be spectacular", promises Joan Bonastre, the Market's
director, "the Market will have opened up to the street." Barcelona's
great Market was in urgent need of refurbishment. More than eighty
years had elapsed since the last serious effort to give it a facelift
in 1914, when the present roofing was installed. Since then, absolutely
lack of maintenance, the ageing of the building and facilities,
new shopping patterns, all demanded an in-depth change. (…)
best opportunity of going ahead with the oft-adjourned project
was to present itself in 1998. The fact that the market was included
within the city's architectural heritage enabled it to obtain
a grant of 500 million pesetas from the European Feder fund. Barcelona
City Hall ran an open competition for design ideas, and four designs
were entered. A amply represented panel selected the design presented
by Lluís Clotet and Ignacio Paricio as most closely meeting the
established requirements. The architects themselves were to direct
the work. (…)
renovation work will conclude with the fitting of a new metallic
covering which will be positioned over the present asbestos one.
A totally new building will house the market management and administration
offices, lighting and services. (…)
to its privileged position, its prestige and the loyalty of its
clients, the Boqueria was in a position to be able to put off
the urgently overdue renovation without losing economic ground.
Joan Bonastre himself admits, "Time has moved slowly here." Despite
the years, a visit to the Boqueria continues to be a guarantee
of finding just about any product. Bonastre claims "Any restaurant,
no matter what its category, from one serving set meals at less
than 800 pesetas a head right up to the highest standards, can
find everything its kitchen needs in this market without having
to go elsewhere". (…)
once said that the Boqueria is the most referred to market of
the western world, and I am convinced that nowhere else can there
be a commercial platform to match it, and with its renovation
it will gain in dignity and yet retain its ability to give consumers
a wide choice. The greatest underlying reason for the traditional
market is its ability to supply fresh produce, and this will continue
to be true.
Boqueria offers quality, variety, professionalism and human contact",
Manager of the Market speaks of two categories of client: the
traditional shopper, usually female and somewhat advanced in years,
and secondly, the younger shopper who "has recovered the pleasure
pleasure of shopping? "In a market, the seller tells you about
the product that you are buying and provides advice on how best
to prepare it, there is direct human contact. Unfortunately, in
our daily lives we are in too much of a hurry as we try to make
the best use of the scarce available time. However, shopping can
be an enriching experience, especially in a traditional market.
It takes more time? True, but other forms of shopping, all of
which have their own virtues, cannot compete with the markets
in this respect. Nowadays, there is space for the small specialised
shop, the traditional market and the large surface shopping area.
Each is justified on the grounds of different specific demands.
Some people prefer the anonymous shopping found at the supermarket,
though if we were to question restaurant owners we would find
that the vast majority of them prefer the market. (…)
by Lluís Clotet architect
something we like and something liked by those who come from far
away is a delicate matter. There is a certain awe involved in
touching those places so shrouded in history which are the basis
of our collective and individual memory.
a radically conservative approach would, paradoxically, lead to
our letting the admired countryside, building or object die a
is evident that the main protagonist is the wealth and variety
of these elements, infinitely more complex than those of the Eixample
or the surrounding suburbs. The Rambla, the streets, squares,
the enclosed gardens... the interrelationship between all of these,
make up an exuberant sequence of infinite variety, which we must
strive to understand, conserve and continue.
Parallel to this, the architecture itself, that untouched compact
mass, is wisely discreet and always ready to serve our priority
to define and qualify what is public. From this view of the neighbourhood,
we can understand the strategies now beginning to be put forward
for redesign of the Plaça de la Gardunya.
Another consideration which has been fundamental to the design
is our conception of the Boqueria Market not so much as a building
but as a roof.
few buildings exploit this, but one of the few that does is located
near the Boqueria, and we can imagine that Elies Rogent, its architect,
considered these issues when he came shopping to the market. His
Universitat Central building has marvellous lines running from
the exterior to the seat of the great hall, lines of a rich complexity,
unfortunately all too rarely found. This noble place then was
the setting for the present-day Market of Saint Joseph, more commonly
known as the Boqueria. The market was covered with a metal structure,
with the result that ever since it has been an impediment preventing
a clear view of the magnificent architecture.
In addition, the present Plaça de la Gardunya will have to be
reconceived as a single, indivisible unit, both in formal and
functional terms, along with the Boqueria Market.
For it to cease being a merely residual, ill-defined space, it
is necessary firstly that the Market no longer turn its back to
the Plaça as it does at present, and it must become the natural
and only access for vehicles and goods.
obsession with the permeability of the facade provides the key
to understanding the building which will house the new uses demanded
by the programme. A new building of small surface area (12.6 x
12.6 m) and some 20 m tall will take the place of the old one
which has recently been removed. The small surface area taken
up and its central position with relation to the overall area
are this building's main virtues. On each floor, a central core
of accesses with an elevator occupies the area closest to the
present-day market. The remaining free floor space measures 90
m. The Restaurant de la Gardunya will occupy the ground floor
and loft. The other floors will house the various administrative
offices. The public lavatories will be located in the basement.
The building, completely of glass, will be protected by a series
of metal laths where it emerges to the exterior by the side and
above the roofing. Its industrial language is in keeping with
that employed for the Market itself, alongside which it will form
a unified whole.
the overall design of the Plaça de la Gardunya, the problem of
general accessibility for goods will be resolved, as will that
of rubbish removal. This will mean a change of position for the
present-day rubbish shredder and will increase the permeability
of the set of vertical accesses in the underground refrigeration
chambers or perhaps allow them to be done away with entirely.
In this way, the new facade along Carrer Jerusalem will help to
contribute meaning to the La Gardunya void and will balance the
interior flow of the Market which is now totally lopsided due
to the overwhelming importance of the pedestrian entrance from
will be another important change in the redesigned Market. At
present, the confusing relationship between the metal structures
and the architecture means that when the Market closes, large
areas of the surrounding zone cannot be used for any other purposes.
After the refurbishment work, all the magnificent premises located
in the ground floors of the perimeter buildings will be able to
continue functioning even when the Market is closed, and this
will help to bring life to this up-to-now rather lifeless area.
overall design has been carried out with a view to ensuring that
the Market does not lose its essential character, which comes
from this orderly metal shelter structure generously covering
the complex web of stalls yet remaining within the strict delimitation's
of large-scale architecture. For this reason, all the intervention
has been as light-handed as possible, virtually imperceptible
and steering clear of any attempts to convert the Market into
a standard, closed-in, modern shopping area.
The market today. The refurbished design
by Gabriel Pernau
is the market of Barcelona. This was true in the past, when it
was the city's only market and it still is true today for the
thousands of visitors who visit it and photograph it every year,
and also for the inhabitants of the districts of Barcelona who
do their daily shopping there or go there in for special purchases.
is the Barcelona market par excellence. The Boqueria market was
the first, and today it is still a landmark for the streams of
tourists flowing down the Rambla.
There was a time when supermarkets or large surface shopping areas
did not exist, there was a time even before the small grocery
stores came into being. People exchanged goods and services on
the public highway, or in the few open areas found in the ancient
Roman, Arab or medieval cities. The trading places became a meeting
point and gradually developed into what we know as the market
place. It was the place where, every morning or once a week, country
folk and craftsmen came to offer their produce and goods.
Strictly speaking, the Boqueria market has a history going back
164 years. This is the time that has passed since it was officially
located on the site of the old Monastery of Saint Joseph. Its
roots however go back much further than that. The first documented
reference to it dates from 1217. According to Josep Maria Carandell's
account, the document stipulates that "a representative of the
king has granted an individual the ownership of a table on which
to chop meat."
small area set aside for exchange on the Rambla was Barcelona's
market of the 13th century. There, under tarpaulin covers, on
the widest street of the city, the country folk and traders from
outlying towns and villages crowded together to sell their lettuces
the following centuries, the city was to grow dramatically in
density. America was discovered and from the other side of the
Atlantic there began to arrive new foodstuffs which ended up on
Barcelona's tables. However, the city had not yet knocked down
its walls. While around the year 1700, the city had a population
of some 30,000 inhabitants, by the beginning of the 19th century
this number had risen to 130,000. The concentration of activity
into the main urban throughway became excessive. It became necessary
to free up the Rambla and the quickest way to achieve this was
by restoring the area taken up by the numerous monasteries and
churches to public use.
1823, the first attempt was made to demolish the convent and church
of Saint Joseph, which belonged to the order of the Discalced
Carmelites, and the Boqueria Market was established on the site,
though briefly. However, the effort to recover the area for public
use failed due to the strength of what historian Ramon Grau, in
a special publication issued to mark the market's 150th anniversary,
referred to as the "absolutist reaction". The second effort twelve
years later succeeded however, and on Saint James' Day of 1835,
the 16th century building was burnt in a disturbance and was later
confiscated and demolished.
This was the beginning of the Boqueria Market as we know it today.
are many possible explanations for its name: a boquer is a net
or chord used to trap rabbits; a boquera is a head of the furrow
where irrigation waters enter a vegetable plot; boqueres are coloured
formations found on the bills of young birds; Caseria la Boquera
is an area within the municipality of Romana de Tarafa, and is
located just right of the town rambla.
the origin of the name, on 28 March 1836, with the convent demolished
and the site cleared, the sellers began to take possession of
the area. As the stalls began to occupy the new market place,
the City Hall granted permits for work on the site. "Having overcome
the obstacles" Barcelona achieved "a market place which was equipped
for the sale of consumer goods and worthy of the good taste of
the Barcelonans", similar to the other Catalan cities at that
free of the 340 stalls and the dung heap which developed around
them, the face of the Rambla changed dramatically. For this reason,
it is not surprising that such happiness greeted the placing of
the first stone of the new market building on 19 March 1840 "with
all the due pomp and glory" in a ceremony which "will go down
in the annals of Barcelona" and which, with the hindsight of history,
we can consider to be the opening ceremony which the market place
never received. (…)
Grau tells us that the initial design of the municipal Master
Builder, Josep Mas i Vila, included permanent shops with an upper
floor serving as housing for the sellers. However, the definitive
design employed was that of Josep Oriol Mestres, who unlike Mas
was in possession of the required academic qualification. In the
following years, Mestres built up a name for himself as a city
architect. He won a prize in the competition for a design for
renovation of the Plaça Reial (1848), he directed building work
on the Gran Teatre del Liceu (1847) and he was the author of the
first building in the Eixample (1861) and of the monument to Antoni
López (1883), among others. The main distinctive feature of the
market place was the arcade delimiting its outer perimeter. However,
in 1850 just when three of the planned four rows of columns had
been completed, the first criticisms appeared; both sellers and
buyers demanded a covered enclosure like the Santa Caterina market,
which had opened in 1842.
With this adjustment, the market acquired its present-day dimensions.
Ever since its birth, the market had never ceased growing, although
this growth was at a pace which was slower than what the city
demanded. As best as it could, the Boqueria had clawed out small
scale patches of land from its surroundings. However, at the close
of the 19th century, this growth had reached its limits.
from small, isolated renovation jobs, improvements and work on
upgrading services, the 1914 market is the one we see today with
all its limitations and shortcomings.