The proposal presented by ZGF Architects, MIRAG and Double Twist studios is the competition winner for the UPF and IBE buildings at the Mercat del Peix site

Experiential scale that will unite the buildings of the UPF and the IBEExperiential scale that will unite the buildings of the UPF and the IBE

The jury of the architectural competition for the UPF and Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) buildings at the Mercat del Peix complex [site of the former Fish Market] has proposed the entry presented by the team formed by the Californian studio ZGF Architects and the Barcelona firms MIRAG and Double Twist as the winning one.

The jury of the architectural competition for the UPF and Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) buildings at the Mercat del Peix complex [site of the former Fish Market] has proposed the entry presented by the team formed by the Californian studio ZGF Architects and the Barcelona firms MIRAG and Double Twist as the winning one.

The competition envisages two buildings. The first of these two buildings, which will be at the UPF, shall be three stories high, have a total floor area of 7,300 square meters, and be dedicated to research on and innovation for planetary well-being. The goal is to make it a meeting point for researchers drawn from the experimental sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, with a view to carrying out interdisciplinary projects in areas such as: Planetary Health; Complex Systems; Data Science; Artificial Intelligence; Climate Change Economics and Governance; Biodiversity Loss; Global Law and Governance.

The second building will have a total floor area of 6,500 square meters - split over five floors - and host the headquarters of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) , a joint research centre created in 2008 by the UPF and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The IBE will site all its research staff at its new Mercat del Peix facilities, where it will consolidate and expand its research project on Evolution and Biodiversity, with the goal of consolidating its position as a leading international research centre.

"The Mercat del Peix project will be a leading world hub in research fostering planetary well-being. This project once again places the UPF and the universities involved in the project among the world’s leaders in top-level scientific research and in the transfer of knowledge serving society at large"

Both buildings will form part of the new Mercat del Peix research space, next to UPF’s Ciutadella campus, together with the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology ( BIST ) building. The BIST building, covering 24,700 square meters, will be based on the project drawn up by the Barozzi Veiga studio. It will be dedicated to multidisciplinary research in Precision Medicine.

The competition jury, presided over by Jaume Casals , UPF’s Rector between 2013 and 2021, was made up of: two CSIC representatives; the Chief Architect of Barcelona City Council; the Head of INCAS“L [Catalan Land Institute]; two architects appointed by the College of Architects of Catalonia; an engineer appointed by the College of Industrial Engineers of Catalonia.

The Jury President stated that the project proposed as the competition winner "optimally combines ingenuity in meeting the needs of users and a good grasp of the basic idea of the project from an intellectual standpoint". The Jury President also stressed that the project achieves "urban balance and an overall understanding of the area, which extends from the DipÚsit de les AigŁes university library to Hospital del Mar [hospital], and brings the brightness and boldness of style that a project of this nature so richly deserves given that it is destined play a vital role in both the city’s and country’s social development".

From a conceptual point of view, Casals stated that "The Mercat del Peix project is key to unlocking the urban, academic and scientific potential of the new Ciutadella area for fostering planetary well-being and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) challenging Mankind".

UPF’s Rector, Oriol Amat , noted that "The Mercat del Peix project will be a leading world hub in research fostering planetary well-being". The Rector also stated, "This project once again places the UPF and the universities involved in the project among the world’s leaders in top-level scientific research and in the transfer of knowledge serving society at large".

A total of 41 teams from 10 countries entered the competition, which was called in June 2021. This participation reveals the great architectural and urban interest of this unique project in the sector. From these 41 teams, the jury applied the competition criteria to short-list five teams that were then asked to draw up specific proposal for the buildings promoting the UPF and the CSIC.

In addition to the winning team, comprising ZFG Architects, MIRAG and Double Twist, the other four teams competing in the second round of the competition were: the Girona Office of Camps Felip Arquitectura together with the Irish studio Allies & Morrison Ltd; the Japanese studio Kengo Kuma & Associates together with the office BCQ Arquitectura Barcelona; the temporary union of the Barcelona offices of Miba architects and DATAAE; and the Madrid office Moneo Brock associated with the Catalan studios BAAS and Casa Solo Arquitectos.

The Mercat del Peix complex, covering a total of some 46,000 square meters, will be built on land that until a few days ago was used as a car park for the UPF’s Ciutadella campus. When the complex is fully operational, around 1,200 people will work there, most of them researchers. The research buildings will be completed with a new mobility services hub, promoted by Barcelona Municipal Services (BSM). The works will start in January 2023.

The Mercat del Peix is an initiative that stems from institutional agreements formalized among Generalitat de Catalunya [Catalan Government], Barcelona City Council, UPF, UB [University of Barcelona], the CSIC and BIST [Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology]. It is a decisive step towards materializing Ciutadella del Coneixement [Ciutadella Knowledge Hub], which aims to replace obsolete spaces and equipment with great nodes of scientific knowledge, research innovation, and higher education in Catalonia.