April 02, 2010

Greenwashing. The Forum Esplanade Barcelona.

The Forum Esplanade Barcelona (google maps link) and especially the photovoltaic power plant - developed on brownfield seafront land in 2004 as part of Fòrum Barcelona 2004 - is the poster child of green planning initiatives. The plant (by Martínez Lapeña - Torres Arquitectos) is said to be the largest urban solar structure in Europe, with a surface of 10.500 m².

Forum Barcelona
the photovoltaic power plant surrounded by grey asphalt

The area, however, is now a city of architectural ghosts, an abandoned site only in use for anual events like concerts and festivals. The Forum is less a park than a huge parking-space like concrete-desert - the antipode of green urban design: asphalt surfacse replace brownfield land.

Ironically, the site is the favored background of car campaigns: it makes car look green - without green.

Forum Barcelona
Auditorium Park at the Forum of International Cultures, Barcelona, 2004
Design: Foreign Office Architects, Who want to sit on these benches?

Forum Barcelona 2004
Postcard from the BMW shop at the BMW Welt München