Introduction to Architectural Projects

The aim of this subject is to provide students with an initial idea of what their career as an architect will be like.

In this first approach, the student begin to discover the working methodology of architects.

The exercise consist in designing an apart-hotel, about 20 floors and 70 meters high, in the Eixample district of Barcelona, specifically in the block where the Monumental bull ring is located. The apart-hotel should get along with the existing structure, keeping its character and volumes, but not its use, adding one or more volumes for the required apartments program.

As it is important to work on a real plot of Barcelona and especially for a first year student of architecture, this exercise has several objectives:

  • Approach the city planning and in particular the Eixample district.
  • Access to photographic reports and carry out a field study.
  • The opportunity to introduce the symbolic, historical and architectural project values to enrich the projective process.
  • To work on a building site with a history and a very peculiar morphology: The Plaza de Toros Monumental.

The Bullring arena was opened in 1914 and immediately expanded and renamed in 1916 under the name of Monumental. It is located at the confluence of the Gran Vía and Marina street in the Eixample district of Barcelona. Built in a neo Moorish and Byzantine style, it has a capacity of 19,582 locations. There are 26 rows of lines, boxes and stands on the first floor and a covered upper barrage that surrounds the building.

La Monumental, 1930

The two bullrings of the city: Arenas and Monumental, are objects of study in schools of architecture, until 2011, when the first one became a major commercial center, designed by British architect, Richard Rogers. The future of the Monumental is unclear; although at this time, it still offers concerts and circuses show. It also keeps the museum of bullfighting, quite visited by tourists on their way to Sagrada Familia from the Olympic Port.

Las arenas, Barcelona

The bullring occupies an entire block of the Eixample with a cylindrical shape that leaves some very interesting residual areas around, to establish the boundaries between public, semi-public and private spaces. Its central location, next to Plaza de las Glorias, the Auditorium, the National Theatre of Catalonia and the axis of the Marina street makes it a very special spot touristic and recreational use. It is an ideal project to start with for a student that will need to understand the different levels of complexity of an architectural project. Thanks to its urban character symbols involved, the controversy of the building height, the habitable module, etc. this project is an appropriate challenge for a first course in architecture.

La Monumental, Barcelona

The course is presented as the continuity of “Analysis of the Forms” subject by emphasizing the geometry and formal values of the project and adding a scale program to the requirements of the models.


Manuel Arenas, architect.
Jonathan Arnabat, architect.
Octavio Pérez, architect.

Alexandre Llapart, UIC Barcelona School of Architecture.

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