Friday, 13 February 2009

El Parc del Fòrum

El Parc del Fòrum was developed to stage the Universal Forum of Cultures in 2004, promoting diversity, sustainability and peace. However, the Fòrum - and more widely Barcelona city council's 22@ redevelopment of Poblenou - has been subject to much criticism. Emblematic of this controversy is the costly Edifici Fòrum, designed by the Swiss architects Jaques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. The sides of this water-topped blue triangle are aligned with Rambla de Prim, Ronda Litoral and Avinguda Diagonal, and it was from the latter that I approached on a cold morning in November. Walking about and underneath the building presents various angular apertures, sometimes directly onto the sky, sometimes onto one of its mirrored surfaces.

In addition to Herzog & de Meuron, the artificial landscape developing on the banks of the Besòs was designed by a number of architects: Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi (Parc dels Auditoris), Beth Gal (Zona de Banys), Jose Antonio Martinez-Lapeña and Elías Torres (Esplanada Forum i Pergola Fotovoltaica), Josep Lluís Mateo (Edifici d'oficines pel Consorci de la Zone France), Oscar Tusquets (Hotel Princess Barcelona), Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue (Parc de Diagonal Mar), Antoni Muntadas and Juan Herreros (coast park) collaborating with artist Albert Oehlen (fish pattern on the boardwalk)...

There were few people around when I was there. A man with diminutive BCNeta! van now and then stopping to take out brush and bucket and sweep. A cyclist, a jogger, a couple walking a dog. It almost rained.

The place is populated by various objects rooted to their positions in the tarmac, lamps and loudspeakers clustered irregularly on poles, a landscape unmoving except perhaps for an occasional mechanical rotation, unobserved. There is a gradual accumulation of wheel-marks, graffiti, other natural inscriptions and sediments.

By now my bones were cold and I briskly walked on, past some industrial buildings,

reaching a terminus looking south-west towards the city.

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