From fish market to biomedical and planetary research complex

If you take the tube at Ciutadella Vila Olímpica metro station in Barcelona these days, chances are you will have seen the pictures above (in the same location where you could enjoy a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition a while back).

They are from the exhibition titled ‘L’Antic Mercat del Peix. Passat i futur (The Old Fish Market. Past and Future), on display until October 31, and which marks the 40th anniversary of the relocation of Mercat del Peix from Wellington Street to Mercabarna in 1983 and the current construction of a future biomedical research complex. 

The exhibition features nine large panels showcasing the history of the old Mercat del Peix and its future as a research hub on precision medicine, biodiversity, and planetary well-being, with BIST, Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF), and UPF conducting research at the new complex, estimated to be completed by 2026. 

A new building to join all the IBE labs 

The new complex, which will be about 45,000m2, will consist of three buildings, which will accommodate over 1,200 people

The new IBE building will bring together labs that are currently at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) with others that are at the neighbouring building, the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC).  

In July 2023, the initial phase of the IBE and UPF buildings at “Mercat del Peix” was completed, and architects from ZFG Arquitects, MIRAG, and Double Twist have begun working on the executive project.  

The IBE and UPF buildings are designed to be open and shareable, featuring glass structures and spaces for scientific outreach, such as an educational laboratory for school visits and workshops. Sustainability is a key focus, with the aim of achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification.  

Comments (1)

  • Tarhib IT  ·  

    The Mercat de Peix was built in 1897 and was once one of the largest and busiest fish markets in Europe. However, the market declined in the late 20th century as a result of changes in consumer habits and the rise of large supermarkets. In 2007, the market was closed and the building was slated for demolition. Your blog was incredibly helpful; I learned a lot.

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