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2002 – CaixaForum, Barcelona

Architects: Roberto Luna, Robert Brufau, José Francisco Asarta, Arata Isozaki

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Built to house a factory in 1911 by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, this redbrick Art Nouveau fortress was opened in early 2002 as a center for art exhibits, concerts, lectures, and other cultural events. It comprises 12,000 square metres of floor space. The “La Caixa foundation” both restored and enlarged the building, adding 6,000 square meters under the original structure to create this multi-purpose cultural and social center.

One of the first things that captures your attention as you approach the CaixaForum, besides the beautifully restored brick building, is the enormous steel and glass structure marking the path to the main entrance below. Two magnificent trees, the work of the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, branch out to end under a canopy of clear glass. In the shade of these steel giants lie the escalators that convey you into the open white stone courtyard below. This courtyard conceals a garden where a fine sheet of water flows under perfectly aligned slabs of white stone. Though quite different from the modernist building, this multilevel courtyard, the work Isozaki, does not seem out of place and provides a smooth transition into the CaixaForum.