Saturday, November 19, 2011

48 Hour Open House Barcelona - Day 2

Day 2 of the 48 Hour Open House Barcelona (48H) started out a bit earlier than Day 1 because we wanted to see even more buildings if possible. At about 11am we were out in front of the Antiga Fabrica de Estrella Damm (Old Estrella Damm Factory) where they used to brew Estrella Damm beer before moving production to a more modern facility. The buildings now seem to mostly serve as offices and an on-site museum.

I've been to a ton of different factories all over the world and I love visiting them. The Damm factory was built in 1905 and is brick on the outside with traditional Catalan architectural features inside. The highlight of the building is just inside the main entry area where they have some of the old stills on display. It reminds me of the whiskey factories I've visited in Scotland and Ireland. Oh, and yes, that's Vladimir with a "sample" 11:30am. Gotta' love drinking on Sunday mornings!!!

The area under the stills has been turned into an industrial-themed museum and visitors' center. They've left the plumbing in place that was used in the brewing process, which is very cool to see.

One of my favorite parts of the museum is an area where they have the original artwork for their old advertisements. The ads are from waaaay before the days of computers and you can see the pen and ink work of the artists along with the pre-production (camera ready) cut-and-paste artwork. By far my favorite ad was this one with some Castellers drinking Estrella Damm while watching other Castellers building a human castle. The ad says "The beer of our land".

On the way out of the Damm factory, I spotted this beer-bottle chandelier hanging in one of the rooms. For some reason, it reminded of when I was a kid and my dad had a hat that was made from pieces of Budweiser beer cans that were crocheted together (sorry, no picture). The 70s must have been a crazy time!

Our next stop was at Casa Perez Samanillo, which is also known as the Circulo Ecuestre (Equestrian Circle club). Originally built in 1910 as a single-family home, it was converted into a businessman's social club in 1948. It's a combination of French and Modernist architectural styles and is impressive especially when viewed from Avinguda Diagonal. If you look at the photo closely, you'll see a very large mushroom shaped window on the first floor of the left side of the building, which is probably its signature feature.

Inside, the original rooms off the living room have been turned into a bar/cafe, meeting rooms, and a couple of libraries. Everything is ornate and highly detailed.

There are lots of interesting architectural details on the inside but the most striking are the grand curved staircase and a large stained-glass window, both shown in the photo below (although I couldn't manage to get the lighting right to be able to see the stained glass).

The Perez Samanillo house is an example of one of the buildings open during the 48H that's not normally open to the public during the rest of the year. The line to get in was a little over an hour long but it was worth it. We ran into Pau's parents in the line who were going to let us cut in with them but we were afraid that we'd get strung up by the 150 potentially angry Catalans behind them so we politely declined and went to the back of the line...and waited...and waited... One last photo shows the former living room taken from the top of the winding stair case.

Diana headed back to the house after we left the Perez Samanillo house and Vladimir and I decided to make our last stop of the tour the Parc De Recerca Biomedica De Barcelona (PRBB - Barcelona Biomedical Research Park). This modern steel research building is notable for its Pac-Man shape and its wooden facade. Seen from the side, it reminds me a little of the Jawa transport vehicle from Star Wars.

The tour covered only the exterior of the building since the inside is an active R&D center. It's designed to make use of lots of natural light and to have spaces to gather outside. There's even an outdoor conference "room" area at the end of one of the floors complete with tables, chairs, and a whiteboard.

While we were there, Vladimir borrowed my camera to take some photos of the architectural details of the building. I was checking out the views when he got this photo unbeknownst to me. I'm going to include it as part of my modeling portfolio! :-D

The whole building is very impressive and I like the way that they've taken advantage the building's location (right next to the Mediterranean) by having the center "hallway", complete with a large reflecting pool, open towards the sea. The bonus of getting to see a rainbow while there was just icing on the cake for a great weekend of architectural site seeing.

The tours and the event overall were a lot of fun. I've already made a mental list of the buildings I want to visit next year. Thanks to Pau for the heads up and to Diana and Vladimir for humoring me by going along!

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