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See You Soon, Barcelona!

The aerial view of Barcelona's urban planning shows distinct octagonal intersections.


One of the first things that come to mind is Gaudi and his fantastic architecture. I am just as excited about seeing his work as anyone else, I promise. I also have every intention of seeing the "Top 10 Things to See in Barcelona" from every travel and architecture blogger I have found on pinterest. It just seems that every list shows the same things. I don't know about you, but I cover a lot more ground than 10 sites.

Here are the things (not including the things that typically fall onto "top 10" lists) that I can hardly wait to check out-- from the Barcelona Pavilion (van der Rohe) to Santa Caterina Market (EMBT Associates). Also, be sure to scroll to the bottom to see it all mapped out!

The Barcelona Pavilion

Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion for the International Exposition defines Modernism.

Photo of Barcelona Pavilion by Gili Merin

Every architecture student learns about Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion. The German pavilion was a display of Modernism for the rest of the world to see during the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. Unlike the other pavilions, this one was not intended to house art, artifacts, or other displays, it is itself, an inhabitable sculpture, and designed to be an escape from the bustle of the Exposition.

Santa Caterina Market

Barcelona based architecture firm, EMBT's renovation of the Santa Catarina Market

Photo of Santa Caterina Market by Barcelona Home

I am absolutely obsessed with this project by EMBT (Enric Miralles + Benedetta Tagliabue). Even if their work wasn't awesome, I'd still love them for being a husband and wife practice. They are known for their contextual awareness while still pushing limits to create the unexpected, ranking the firm as one of the top Spanish practices of the century. This renovation superimposes a new architecture onto, into, and through the existing market.


Photo of 22@Barcelona by Iwan Baan

22@Barcelona also known as Districte de la innovació (innovation district) is the city's technological and innovation district, a sort of "urban lab". It's a renewal of the once industrial district of Sant Mari, called Poblenou. It's basically the land of start-ups. There is still a juxtaposition of the old industrial alongside the new, one of the many beautiful results of densifying a city.

On the left-hand side of the photo above, you can see the Media-TIC by architects Enric Ruiz Geli. The building is designed for the digital information age we now live in. Using this technology, Enric Ruiz Geli used many strategies to create a sustainable building, including a double skin, sun shading, and self inflating ETFE "pillows" to name a few. The innovative use of materials triggered by sensors and digital means play to the urban lab of 22@Barcelona.

Photo of Media-TIC by Iwan Baan

Gaudi aside, I think these are the projects I am most looking forward to seeing on my Barcelona architectural pilgrimage. That being said, I also plan on seeing as many of the 10 billion other things I've mapped out below. I am so excited to depart, I can hardly stand it.



Samantha is an avid traveler and architecture addict. TRAC, the Travel Record of Architecture and Culture, came about when planning the next great adventure and she wanted to find a resource with modern and historic architecture in one place, mapped out. By day, she's living the dream, working at an architecture firm in downtown San Francisco.  

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