Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona

Plaça dels Àngels, 1
Barcelona, Spain

Contributed by Project for Public Spaces

This art museum is a terrifically successful skateboard park that draws skaters from all over Catalonia.

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Why It Doesn't Work

This was such a tragic missed opportunity. This art museum could be such a fantastic public gathering place for the diverse Raval community that surrounds it, an expression of contemporary art to add a special quality to a dense urban neighborhood, and a bringing together of people from all over the world for a combination of art, culture, and local residents. Instead, it is a terrifically successful skateboard park that draws skaters from all over Catalonia.

We liked the architecture and the exhibition spaces, although the art itself was lackluster enough that there were more people looking at the skateboarding outside than inside the entire museum. What could be a great example of a contemporary building fitting into an ancient walled city and contributing to its community life and culture is instead truly out of place.

As with so many buildings of this ilk, the main problems were few uses on the ground floor (to engage and attract pedestrians), and an insistence that the plaza design reflect the minimalist building design. A purely visual space invites only purely one-dimensional uses. Suburban buildings relish making a big design statement – and they have the space to do so (for better or worse). Urban buildings need to support dynamic human activity, and therefore need appropriate and sensitive design. Apparently, the architect did not understand that responsibility.

Contact Info:

Tel: 34-93-412-08-10

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