An architecture lover's guide to Barcelona

A man and a woman chatting on a sofa.

Soho House member, co-founder of Openhouse Magazine and designer Andrew Trotter shares his favourite haunts around the city

By Kate Lough   Tuesday 10 April, 2019

Andrew Trotter had been living in Barcelona for a year with his now business partner Mari Luz Vidal when they decided to open up their flat as a creative space. At first it functioned as a photography gallery, but then, together with their Japanese flatmate Nobu, it became the venue for everything from sushi parties to talks and concerts. Over the course of three years, their home was opened to more than 4,500 people.

It was these events – and connecting digitally with other people around the world who were creating similar projects – that prompted Trotter and Luz Vidal to bring their openhouse project into the print realm. And so Openhouse Magazine, a bi-annual, multi-lingual publication was born in 2014, featuring creatives who open up their homes and spaces to ‘share cultural activities and experience life together’.

Trotter, who now lives in a house just a few minutes’ walk from Soho House Barcelona, and Luz Vidal continue to put on events. On May 25-26, they will turn Barcelona’s Pavilion Mies van der Rohe into a home. Trotter explains, ’we will have architects and designers coming to talk and a large dinner in the evening, while we present our next issue. This will be the first time that the Mies Pavilion will look like a home.’

A Barcelona local for seven years now, Trotter is a natural admiral of its design and architecture scene.‘The Spanish are not afraid of new architecture and like to try new things,’ he says. ‘Barcelona is a vibrant city, full of life, and a young population that are setting up creative businesses.’

Here, he shares the architecture and design spaces in Barcelona that inspire him the most:
A modernist building.
The Pavilion Mies van der Rohe
The Pavilion is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. It is a simple expression of perfect architecture – there is nothing you can fault. It is the perfect place to spend 30 minutes to quietly contemplate life. The Barcelona Pavilion was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich as the German Pavilion for the Barcelona International Exhibition, held on Montjuïc.

A woman sitting on a bench in a gallery looking at artwork.
The Fundació Joan Miró by Sert
Josep Lluís Ser was a great Catalan architect, building forms, that bring light into the building, a perfect backdrop of Miró’s work. Sert was a close friend of Joan Miró and an exponent of avant-garde architecture in Catalonia. The foundation is located in Montjuic, with incredible views of the city.

A building surrounded by trees next to water.
La Ricarda
La Ricarda is one of the most beautiful houses in the world. By Antonio Bonet, it was built to house the Gomis family just outside of Barcelona, as a place to host cultural activities and talk about art at a time when ideas like this were prohibited in Spain. The light and acoustics are brilliant, and all the furniture was built especially for the house.
An angular, modern, glass building.
Natural Science Museum by Herzog and de Meuron
A large heavy triangle of blue concrete that seems to float above the pavement, the Museu Blau was designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. An architect’s dream, it now holds the Museum of Science and Natural History. Located in the Forum area by the sea, it makes for a nice walk on a Sunday afternoon.

A large solar panel.
Park del Fórum
The large solar panel can be seen from any beach in Barcelona, a great place to hang out and watch the skateboarders.

The exterior of a concrete building surrounded by trees.
Home and office of Ricardo Bofill
Ricardo Bofill built his home and office in a disused cement factory in the 70s in the Sant Just area just outside of Barcelona. A cathedral-like palace with with cyprus growing through cracks and from the turrets on the roof, this building is mesmerising from the outside – and the inside, if you get a chance. Ricardo Bofill is one of the most widely known architects of Barcelona, designing both terminals of the airport, the W Hotel, and many projects throughout Europe and Japan.

Next to Bofill’s home, he built a housing complex called Walden 7. A fantastic postmodern structure that you can tour by appointmen, with one of the residents – this is a must to see for any architecture enthusiast.

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