Step Right Up. Architectural Monumentality. Three Boxer Shorts for Only 6€.

Flea markets are normally found under bridges, in empty parking lots, or in old industrial sheds. This flea market (which I already reported on in an earlier post, while it was under construction) is in a purpose-designed, competition-winning, big-budget work of capital-A architecture. Step right up. A monumental flea market. Only in Barceloca.

The market, by b720 architects, consists of a ramped structure under a vast, very high folded roof plane supported by tall, slender columns. The underside of the roof structure is clad in highly reflective stainless steel, which in conjunction with the triangulated geometry and angled folds of the roof plane creates kaleidoscopic, dizzying reflections when looking up. The contrast between the architecture and the Made-in-China goods displayed within it is truly surreal.

While I walk around and become overwhelmed by the goods, the reflections, the hustlers and the endless crowd, an old song by Tom Waits starts ringing in my head: Step right up. Bargains galore. We need your business. We’re goin’ outta business. Fifty percent off original retail price skip the middle man. How do we do it? How do we do it? Step right up.

About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

I am an architect, writer and educator. rafagomo.com chronicles my architectural making, writing, teaching and curating activity, while criticalista.com is an archive of my writings as well as a platform for venting personal rants and observations. I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and at the Berlage Institute (the Netherlands). I direct the University of Calgary’s architecture term-abroad program in Barcelona and teach at CIEE, and have previously taught in the Metropolis Masters Program in Architecture and Urban Culture as well as at Carleton University and the University of Manitoba.

One comment

  1. Just as I imagined it. Asphalt. Angles. Mirrors. Cheap plastic crap. Stolen bikes. The big question is how does this stuff get approved.

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