The building that we know today as the Palau de Mar is the former General Stores, the sole building of Barcelona's Old Port still standing. The Stores were designed in 1881 by the engineer Maurici Garrán, the first director of the Barcelona Port Board of Works, and were intended for use as trading depots.
The General Stores building is an example of the conceptually most innovative construction techniques of the period from the late 19th century to the early 20th. The Stores have a double structure. The interior structure consists of a rolled steel framework while the exterior structure is brickwork. The interior structure is highly effective in spaces that need to be both open and bear heavy loads, while the brickwork exterior provides excellent protection for the goods against bad weather, fire and theft.
The increased use of metal structures over a century ago coincided with the emergence of the flat roof, both of which are used to good advantage in the construction of the Stores. Mechanised casting made it possible not only to save material but also to more closely adapt the form to the function. Flat roofs are lightweight, resistant and ribbed, and dry-bond perfectly to the base and other components without the need for mortar.
Two types of support are used in the Stores: cast-iron columns and rolled steel columns. Pins are the most commonly used linking component. Both the columns and the beams were made in the workshop. Once on site, these large components were assembled and joined together using cold-threaded bolts.
The building was refurbished in 1992 by the architects Josep Benedito and Augustí Mateos, resulting a major transformation of the Stores, blending the port tradition with the dynamism of contemporary architecture and establishing a dialogue between the old and the new. Firstly, a large open space was created in the centre of the building to make it seem lighter and at the same time to allow for vertical circulation within it. Secondly, a new floor was added in order to allow access to the rooftop, which has been acclaimed as a great success as it enables visitors to enjoy fabulous views of the port and the city.
4,00 / 3,00 EUR
Free admission: first sundays of the month / Entrada gratuita: primer domingo de mes.