The international competition for the remodeling of the Montjuïc exhibition center has aroused great interest in the architecture sector. Professionals of all kinds have shown curiosity from the first moment about the newly opened procedure to choose the projects that will begin the transformation of the centuries-old Fira de Barcelona palaces in Plaza Espanya.

Satisfaction was widespread at the explanatory meeting organized by the Col·legi d’Arquitectures de Catalunya (COAC) this week, once the rules of the international competition were published. Representatives of renowned multi-award-winning architects met there along with local studios.

The combination of both profiles is precisely what the organizers of the contest – the City Council and Fira de Barcelona – are looking for. “It is a very important space for the city, it is essential that all parties involved are aligned, and the subdivision into different lots opens up many possibilities,” highlights Maria Buhigas, the chief architect of Barcelona City Council.

There are three different lots into which the already launched project competition is divided. The first of them is the largest since it covers the current palaces 1, 3, 4 and 5, where a large exhibition space will be located facing Plaza Espanya, a new two-level multifunctional palace where the congress palace is now located and a new façade that opens the fairgrounds to the public between Paral·lel and Guàrdia Urbana street. The second lot, above the Font Màgica, corresponds to the palace of Alfonso XIII, which will be converted into the new Barcelona Congress Palace. The third and last of the lots affects the old Palacio del Vestido, where the ticket offices, the offices and a part of pavilion 8 that faces Plaza Espanya are now located.

The procedure will be divided into two clearly differentiated phases. Now the architects have five weeks to submit their applications to participate in the competition and then the jury will have three weeks to evaluate the candidates based on criteria of technical and economic solvency. By mid-July, five teams should be selected for each lot, which will have until mid-November to present their specific architectural proposals anonymously along with a model. The jury will have time to deliberate until the end of January next year, when the winning proposals will be chosen.

“It is a competition that marks a before and after,” celebrates the dean of architects, Guim Costa i Calsamiglia, who highlights the setting of fixed fees for the winners and finalists and the selection of a professional jury chaired by the architect Josep Lluís Mateo and with Maria Goula, Joan Lluís Zamora, Joan Olona and Maria Langarita as members. All of them will have at their disposal a technical commission made up of three members of the City Council and two from Fira de Barcelona whose mission will be to advise and respond to all questions raised at a technical level.

The jury will be the same for the different lots with the intention that “it takes into account the pairing of the three pieces and guarantees that there is coherence between the different projects,” according to Buhigas. For the general director of Fira de Barcelona, ​​Constantí Serrallonga, the objective is to light “a new urban fair space, integrated into its environment and unique in Europe for the next 100 years”, in which the interior of the palaces will be remodeled and They will open new public spaces while maintaining the historic facades.