Mercat dels Encants Barcelona: Corrosion resistant market stalls made of ArcelorMittal steel

A landmark roof protects the new location of the historic Encants Vells market in Barcelona, where stalls and small shops are arranged on a continuous platform with various inclinations. The stalls are made of curved Hacierco® steel sheets with aluminium-zinc coating that ensures both unique aesthetics and the necessary corrosion protection.

Detailed information

The centenarian Encants Vells market in Barcelona is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe and, according to various sources, dates back to the XIV century. Throughout its history, it was traditionally an outdoor market with an informal organisation, where both new and second hand items of all kinds were sold. The market's most extraordinary characteristics are its public auctions where lots of different products like factory stock, furniture, clothing, shoes, etc. can be bought by anyone who has previously registered for the auction.

A new location

In 2008, the decision was made to provide the old market with a new, permanent location. The grounds designated for this project in Barcelona's Eixample district are situated close to the former location and other landmark buildings like the Torre Agbar. With only 8000 m2, the limited size of the new site was one of the project's biggest constraints as the market's commercial programme required almost twice this surface.

ArcelorMittal steel: an exclusive appearance with excellent corrosion protection

The market's stalls and shops are clad in steel. ArcelorMittal Construction Spain supplied a total of 2700 m2 of Araquil 1150 panels for the market's 479 stalls and 5600 m2 of curved Hacierco® sheets for the 266 small shops. 

Whereas the Araquil 1150 panels have a thickness of 35 mm and are coated with Hairplus® in the colour Opale, the 0.75mm thick, curved Hacierco® sheets are are made of purely metallic coated steel: Krystal® consists of 55% aluminium, 43.4 % zinc, and a touch of silicon, an alloy coating that ensures excellent corrosion protection, but also offers an exclusive appearance as far as aesthetics is concerned.

Design details

The new Encants Barcelona, designed by Fermín Vázquez of b720 architecture, maintains the atmosphere of a traditional outdoor market. Whereas a high canopy roof protects the commercial activities from the sun, the absence of facades creates a feeling of openness.

In order to avoid the arrangement in different levels like the model of a shopping mall while at the same time coping with the limited size of the new location, a continuous commercial platform with slightly inclined planes was conceived, generating an endless loop of intertwined aisles with stalls and small shops. This way, the visitor's experience is like a stroll in a pedestrian area.

The bending of the square deck compensates for the different levels of the surrouding streets and their entrances. Once inside the market, the levels of these entrances become unclear due to the continuous ups and downs of the commercial platform.

The great roof structure, with a height of almost 25 m, is suspended as a canopy and consists of various bands of different lengths. Its underside is made of stainless steel and presents different inclinations. It comes to life by reflecting the commercial activity below and the surrounding buildings. This way, the market is visually integrated into the city and, at the same time, the city is reflected in the market.

The market has two underground levels: one for the logistic needs of the market and the second offers a car park for the visitors.

Project information

  • Barcelona
  • Spain
  • Architect:
  • B720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos
  • 2013
  • Client:
    BIMSA - Mercats de Barcelona
  • Engineering firm:
    Strain Engineering
  • Photos:
    ©Encants Barcelona - Rafael Tirado