Josep Lluís Mateo has recently completed the remodelling of El Ninot market in Barcelona, a key market in the city’s food distribution network known for its well communicated central location.
The architect’s intervention centres on four key points: maintaining the impressive existing structure, improving approaches, redesigning the façades and roofs, and exploiting the subsoil.
One of Mateo’s first decisions in this process was to maintain the market’s characteristic metal structure comprising three volumes, the central taller than the ones either side, to encourage ventilation and the entry of daylight.
The approaches have been reorganized, adapting the floor to the differing levels in order to eliminate the existing unevenness, and bringing together the approaches in a unified space in the main foyer. The foyer offers users an overview of the market and access to the lower floor.
The façades and roof have been redesigned to let natural light shine in while controlling direct solar radiation which could harm the produce.
This is achieved by a system of perforated slats that regulates the entry of natural light.
Further, the side façades now integrate the outdoor stalls, which no longer extend out over much of the surrounding pavement.
To adapt the market to the present-day needs of logistics and installations, it was decided to excavate the subsoil, creating two underground floors that house the car park, a supermarket, loading bays and storage space. With the creation of this new space, the structure is raised, requiring work on the foundations.