El Parc del Forum Barcelona
The Forum Park as it is called in English is situated at the far north end of Barcelona in the neighborhood of Diagonal Mar. Depending on what brings you to the city, business or pleasure, you might have some reason to visit The Park, that is more like a mini-campus consisting of several indoor and outdoor spaces that play host to all kinds of events throughout the year.
Originally the location was constructed for the ‘’Universal Forum of Cultures’’ exhibition that took place in 2004. The main building that has become a city architectural landmark is the Forum Building designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Mueron.
The long triangular structure that stands 25 meters high, 180 meters wide on each side is unquestionably visually striking however its notoriety isn’t based on its aesthetic alone.
From the very start of project proposal there were many detractors of the design and questions were raised of its functionality that drove a fierce divide between residents and local politicians. Furthermore the 110,000,000€ construction was plagued with flaws and set-backs that the Spanish national press as well as foreign media covered throughout the whole process leading up to the controversial 2004 conference that was billed as the world’s first ‘’Cultural Olympics’’. Somehow the building was completed and opened its doors with an official inauguration by King Juan Carlos of Spain that came specifically to open the 5-month long cultural extravaganza.
It was reported that more than 5 million visitors, including leading world figures such as the Dalai Lama, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and other popular music and film stars attend, spoke or performed at the many events of the convention.
Today inside the Forum Building visitors can see the ‘’Barcelona Sensations’’ and ‘’Barcelona Project’’ displays in its permanent exhibition hall. The actual interior spaces of the structure are built around a large auditorium that has the capacity to hold 3200 people with below street-level seating. Now it used for large-scale events throughout the year.
The Bath Zone is an area totally unique to the Parc del Forum. It is a ‘’new beach concept’’ in that there is no sand to be seen but a slanted concrete promenade with steps that lead into the sea, which has been harnessed to create bathing areas protected from the surf. Large concrete platforms jut out into the calm sea that are perfecting for diving off of. Imagine sunbathers on the River Seine, if you may but the setting is more modern industrial than quaint Parisian. This picturesque location has been used for jazz concerts, private summer celebrations and is a common location for photo shoots too. When its not being rented, the swimming area is open to the public during the summer.
Another watery destination at the Parc del Forum is actually a boat marina, commonly called the Port Forum. This is a year around working port where private yacht owners come to store, dock and/or have repairs completed. Additionally there are yacht rental companies just in case you don’t own your own big boat. Furthermore, there is a private yacht club that can also be rented for special events upon request. However the Port Forum is actually its own private entity and is only associated with the Parc del Forum because of its location and name.
The Esplanade is an immense outdoor space with a concrete surface that has a spectacular view of the ‘’Bath Zone’’ area and the ‘’Forum Port’’. This section of The Forum is frequently used for trade fairs and music festivals that are ideal for an open-air setup. La Feria de Abril (a culture fair celebrating customs from Andalusia) and Primavera Sound (a major music festival), for example are two major festivals that year after year come to the Esplanade.
The other main outdoor concert space at El Parc del Forum is the Auditorium Park. The Grand Auditorium and Small Auditorium are two outdoor amphitheatres with stadium seating and grassy areas that many event organizers find inspiring to use for theatrical presentations, fairs and even open-air dinners.
In spite of its far out location, arriving to The Forum is easy with the metro, trams and buses that deliver you almost to its doorstep. Likewise, a novel way of traveling there is via the Golondorina ferry where you can board at the Plaza de Colon (located at the end of La Rambla). This will take you just about the same time (20 to 30 minutes) that it would commuting by bus or train from the center of town.
Visiting this area now that it has been completely gentrified with top rate hotels, a luxury high-rise penthouse buildings and fancy shopping mall, its hard to imagine it was once a run down water front and crime-ridden area that locals let alone visitors would steer clear of. With the help of $2.6 billion it’s a high-profile area for business conventions and congresses as well as tourism.
El Parc del Forum
Avenida Diagonal 1