Photographing Las Arenas de Barcelona


A large monumental archway and fabulous yellow structural trees raise the ‘piazza in the sky’ suspended floating over Barcelona in Las Arenas leisure and entertainment complex designed by the London firm of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

On assignment for Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Las Arenas renovation project leader James Leathem said about this photograph when interviewed by the magazine of the Royal Institute of British Architects: "This picture is exactly how we envisaged it". Precisely framing the XIXth century building main entrance arch at dusk allowed me to bring out all the simple and saturated colors that represent the firms' distinctive style marks.

The former Las Arenas bullring is a neomudejar building from the late nineteenth century in the Plaça d' Espanya on the limit of the dense urban fabric of the Eixample district: the decline in popularity of bullfighting in Catalonia deprived meaning to the building and imposed a renewal of its use in which one of the conditions of the new project was to preserve the facade.

With this in requirement mind, the office of Richard Rogers proposed and intervention in the building to create a new landmark in theBarcelona cityscape that had to implicate the use of the most advanced techniques of contemporary architecture and engineering.

The most spectacular of the proposals for the new shopping and entertainment venue is the creation of a ‘piazza in the sky’ 100 meters in diameter that crowns the building where cafes and restaurants surround the perimeter of the square to make it a great public balcony with unique panoramic views over the city.

David Cardelús