Let me tell you when to look up.

Architecture can easily be missed when you don’t know when to look up.

We tend to walk along streets ignoring the sky above and the buildings surrounding us. Now we have found a website and app called Open Buildings containing thousands of architectural icons and hidden gems around the world. If you use the app, it will let you know when there is a building nearby, that is worth looking at. But not only does Open Buildings contain built projects, but also concepts, competition entries and buildings under construction.

We found that for Barcelona the list of buildings and projects is still relatively short, so we should all bit by bit upload more recommended sites. Because if there is something Barcelona has a lot of, it is architecture.

Still, here some of the recommended places in our city that we think are interesting:


The palm grove in the Parc de la Ciutadella is a small 1500sqm garden made up of a wide collection of palm trees of different heights and a thick tropical bush vegetation. It has always been used as an habitat for the macaws. Its remote location and the noisy and colorful presence of the birds turn it into an exotic oasis inside the park and a unique place inside the city. The design of the cage was developed following the instructions of the Zoo’s technicians. The total surface of each unit is 21.5sqm, from which 14.40sqm can be seen by the general public. The rest is divided in 5.20sqm of “sleeping area` and 4.90sqm of maintenance corridor. The main structure of the cage is made up with several leaning metal tubes that bend and close on the top like a “metal wheat sheaf`. The project focused on the cage design, which is complex enough to arrange the garden through the path of the visitor by its repetition. The main criterion was arranging the cages in an apparently random way making them always offer different perspectives, creating a system than can be perceived as a picturesque system lacking of any rule and continuously surprising. Its immersion into the palm grove looks for coexistence, respecting its hidden nature and increasing its exoticism. Situation: Palm grove in the Barcelona Zoo, Parc de la Ciutadella Authors: Enric Batlle and Joan Roig, Architects Year: 2008 Program: 13 cages and the garden’s urbanization Developer: Foment de Ciutat Vella, S.A / Barcelona Serveis Municipals Building Firm: COPISA Area: 1375 sqm Budget: 345.000 € Collaborators: Francesc Puig, Architect Helena Mostazo, Agronomist

Diagonal Mar Park

EMBT A Garden of a House

“If the park has a scale comparable to the grand gardens of Barcelona its design and situation obliges it to increase in scale because of its connection with La Avinguda Diagonal, Carrer Taulat and above all a direct connection with the beach, it is difficult to imagine scale is its best quality…

… It is a large park which stretches out forwards to the adjacent avenues.…Its design favours an interaction with the city. It is ordered by following a series of paths which, similar to the branches of a tree, spread out in all directions… A type of Rambla, a main throroughfase, connects La Diagonal directly to the nearby beach crossing the Litoral ring by means of a pedestrian bridge. and it transforms itself into a series of recreational tracks: To stroll, for skating, cycling… etc… Walking…… A large area of water in which there are various fountains, the leap of water and the vegetation on its edges oxygenates the water. A recreational place, small boats, water games…

The presence of the water characterises the vegetation of the zone…
And the vegetation spreads following the character of shores near the sea and the lake.
Growing taller and denser until it reaches the adjacent streets.

Small places on the edges of the park.
Places where a series of large ceramic vases join with the existing vegetation, similar to the garden of a house…benches, pérgolas, tiled floors….” – Enric Miralles


Velòdrom d’Horta

Velòdrom d’Horta is a velodrome in Barcelona, Spain that was the track cycling venue for the 1992 Summer Olympics. It was also the venue for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 1984.

The velodrome, designed by Esteve Bonell and Francesc Rius, was built in 1984 as the first of Barcelona’s construction projects in preparation for the bid for the 1992 Summer Olympics in 1986. It was the first velodrome built to new FIAC rules permitting a 250 m (270 yd) track if surfaced with wood. The building won the FAD architecture prize in 1985.

It was the last permanent open-air velodrome used for Olympic Track Cycling events (Atlanta’s velodrome at Stone Mountain in 1996 was temporary). Olympic velodromes have been built with a roof since 2000.


  • 1992 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 2. pp. 234-8.
The building is also known as the ´German Pavilion´ or ‘Mies van der Rohe Pavilion’

The Barcelona Pavilion building is for many architects their favourite building in the World. It’s architecture is pure poetry, simple honest planes of stone with slim, graceful polished steel cruciform columns. The integration of water through two shallow pools brings calmness and reflection to the pavilion.

The architect Mies van der Rohe was interested in developing free flowing space and this is done using walls as planes in isolation, joined by sliding elements or glass. Thus the wall is expressed as a single element with space flowing around it. The majority of the building is constructed out of (cream-coloured) travertine which gives the building a luxurious feel and aids the perception of spaciousness.