Museu Blau

Address: Avinguda Diagonal 1 | BARCELONA | Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 41.4111, 2.22061

After the Olympic Games in 1992, the Catalan capital presented a cultural Olympiad: Forum Barcelona 2004. Some 200 hectares were made available for this project in the north of the city. Herzog & de Meuron designed the congress center: “From a distance, it resembles a blue wedge of cake, but as you get closer you see that the building s skin is bumpy like a 1970s plastered wall. Because of the “bites” that have been taken from the sides and the vertical holes in the triangle (which houses the building s heart and the “light piazza”) it looks a little like a piece of Swiss Emmental cheese”.

Coastal skyline

The site was a so-called terrain vague, urbanistically speaking a “no-mans land” and is located at the end of the Avenida Diagonal where it meets the Mediterranean coast. From the perspective of urban planning, the project envisions a striking culmination of this grand historic avenue and its connection with the new coastal skyline.

Public space

Herzog & de Meuron: Instead of planning the building as an independent object in an open public space, we decided to design a structure that would both generate and articulate this public space. These considerations almost inevitably led to the proposal of an elevated, flat triangular form. Not only does this form correspond ideally to the project perimeter, covering the entire area within, it is also a perfect expression of the specific location of this site between the peripheral streets of the city s orthogonal Cerda grid and the Avenida Diagonal.


The flat triangular body houses an auditorium, exhibition areas, conference rooms, restaurants and foyer spaces. The covered area beneath the triangular volume is to be a hybrid space offering a combination of urban typologies. A series of courtyards that intersect the elevated structure establish a complex interaction between the covered open spaces and the various levels of the Forum building, constantly creating new viewing angles and changing light effects.

⇒ Architecture Guide to BARCELONA