The new Encants market is a public facility for auctions and the sale of second-hand and surplus goods. The building, which replaces an old run-down and insufficient structure, now stands on a new site alongside Plaza de les Glòries, where it acts as a mediating device between the revived square, its built-up environs and Avenida Meridiana, one of Barcelona’s main entrance roads.
The design consists of a continuous platform or square built on several levels, an ideal environment for all these sales activities. The different levels of the surrounding streets are reconciled by bending the floors, and the perception of the street grade is blurred throughout the interior. The sense of being above ground is neither direct, immediate nor contained by the different levels. The space takes the form of a large open-sided roofed square. All the components of the programme are infused with diligence as it dips. On each platform, the random configuration and open fabric of the stalls and shops give a sense of order to the visitors’ itineraries and meeting points. As a result, this market seems to transform into a single uninterrupted deck that encourages the shoppers’ curiosity. Architectural barriers are removed as a way of encouraging adaptability and the appeal of exchanges at the stalls.
The roof is the market’s striking identity mark. This large canopy, open on all sides, is almost 25 metres high, with a faceted geometry and an underside resembling a huge golden mirror. It cantilevers out to the edges of the surrounding pavements, sheltering the market stalls, announcing the presence of the market to the city and multiplying the daily hustle and bustle in its kaleidoscopic reflections.