Born Cultural Center – Enric Sòria and Rafael de Cáceres

architects_ Enric Soria and Rafael de Cáceres
location_Barcelona, Spain
completion date_ 2012
surface_ 8.000 sqm
photography_ Lluís Casals

from the architects_The Born Market, emblematic example of industrial architecture of the nineteenth century, was projected in 1874 and ended in 1876; it assumed the functions of central market of the city until 1977. In 1998, the initiative for the construction of the Barcelona’s Provincial Library entailed digging of the subsoil that exposed the remains of the city destroyed by the Succession War (1714). Later Patrimony decided to conserves this archeological site. Finally, in 2004 resolves became the old Born Market in a Cultural Center for the interpretation of the modern history of Barcelona.

To accomplish this task considers coexistence between the Market and the site like the addition of the different moment instances and historic events, the main objective of the intervention is the functional recovery of a complex organism maintains consistency with its historical and formal reality. So, the area inside the old focus on a covered square, a protected area that we can cross, being functional cultural offerings not like a nineteenth century market but like an agora of the twenty first century. The challenge of building closed enclosures within a building open that protects the remains of a city, that suggest the exchange of concepts ‘inside’, ‘outside’, ‘under’, ‘above’ and brand a strategy precise: to maintain the set visibly passable and physically permeable, providing for certain areas of comfort and performance features required to accommodate the cultural center (exhibitions, cultural and civic activities).


The project achieves these objectives by adapting its geometry, material and constructive essence to the criteria of existing architectural, avoiding any strange or aggressive formal characterization of spaces. In this sense, consistent with the old market structure, all the central spaces remains open and useable like an covert squared, wide viewpoint on the fourteenth to the eighteenth. The Cultural Center closed enclosures are located at four aisles, confined spaces such as independent Born casting structure. The new structure that shapes has been available in the formal order of market structure.

Although the activities derived from functional current, the building has the flexibility to adapt to different schedules that may arise during the Cultural Center life, allowing open and interact with the activity developed inside an enclosure with general space – indoor city either isolated from the outside world without grounds that this involves a physical mutilation or to the whole concept.