The restoration of the Santa Caterina Market in the old centre of Barcelona is underpinned by strong commitments: to reconstitute a failing urban fabric, with its mix of residential and business functions, and mediate between old and new by developing architectural elements that reflect the aesthetic and symbolic values of an historic site but also accommodate modern technology.
The covered market with its stalls and shops abuts onto a series of apartments for the elderly. Three underground levels house services for the whole neighbourhood, namely a solid waste collection unit (level 3; 1.008 sqm), a two-storey car park, storage space for the market above and an area displaying the Gothic remains of the church of Santa Caterina (level -2; 4.498 sqm; level -1; 4.197 sqm). The ground level accommodates the market stalls (2.068 sqm), other commercial areas and the entrance to the apse. The 5-storey residential building covers a surface area of 3.749 sqm. The major feature and symbol of the whole area is, however, the 5.500 sqm, three-barrelled roof covered with a mosaic of 325.000 ceramic pieces in some 67 colours resting on a wooden under-structure and protected by transparent insulating and waterproofed over-layers.
The perimeter wall has been preserved on three sides and in part reconstructed (at the points marked out by upside down banisters.) The impressive structure is supported by metal pillars, two large longitudinal reinforced concrete beams (43 and 72 m), three transverse metal arches, longitudinal V-shaped metal beams, and parabolic arches in steel and laminated wood. Wooden trusses salvaged from the old roof have been restored and replaced.
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