The Ciutadella Knowledge Hub takes shape with the reopening of the Greenhouse

18/12/2023 - 15:08 h - Science Ajuntament de Barcelona

The Ciutadella Knowledge Hub begins to take shape with the reopening of the Greenhouse after fifteen months of works. Barcelona City Council today presented the strategy to turn the Ciutadella Park into a great research and innovation complex, a project that is already becoming a reality with different works underway and with the first piece completed, the Greenhouse. In a solemn ceremony, the city of Barcelona today reaffirmed its scientific capital status and its commitment to promoting a scientific and urban planning project that will turn the Ciutadella Park and its surroundings into a leading node of knowledge, dissemination, research and innovation in Europe.

Mayor Jaume Collboni presented today at the Greenhouse the progress of the Ciutadella Knowledge Hub strategy to consolidate a top-level scientific ecosystem and make it accessible and open to the public. This strategy recognises the centrality and history of the park, linked to the International Exhibition of 1888 and the innovative vocation and scientific dissemination that it had at that time, and to value the assets that exist around the park, such as universities, museums, research centres, foundations and companies that offer an engine of transformation through science, research and culture.

Therefore, on the one hand, the existing vocation for research in the area is reinforced by refurbishing different buildings in the park and adapting them to new scientific and informative uses, as is the case of the Greenhouse. On the other hand, new spaces are being created to facilitate and encourage new scientific and cultural projects in addition to the existing ones. All this with the aim of consolidating a top-level scientific ecosystem and making it accessible and open to the public.

The Ciutadella Knowledge Hub is a project led by Barcelona City Council in collaboration with the Government of Catalonia, the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the University of Barcelona (UB), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, the Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) and the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).

Five strategic projects

The Ciutadella Knowledge Hub includes five strategic projects with an associated global investment of 290 M€. These are the new research complex in the former Mercat del Peix, with 3 buildings under construction, the construction of a CSIC Biosciences centre on the site of the former State Mobile Park, the consolidation of an axis formed by four facilities of high heritage and scientific value, the construction of the Central Library of Barcelona and the promotion and reinforcement of the scientific and informative activity of the Zoo.

The forecast is that 80% of the project will see the light of day this term of office and that in ten years’ time the Ciutadella Knowledge Hub as a whole will be a reality of international dimension that will bring together around 2,000 seekers.

  • Mercat del Peix. Work underway to create a new 45,000 m2 research and innovation complex, focusing on biomedicine, biodiversity and planetary wellbeing, to be located on the land formerly occupied by the Mercat del Peix. Three new buildings: BIST, Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF) and UPF.
  • CSIC bioscience pole. Agreement for the creation of a new CSIC bioscience centre on the site of the Parc Mòbil building, which will bring together the different CSIC biomedicine research units in Catalonia. Overall, this centre will bring together some 300 researchers and 40 research groups.
  • Heritage and scientific hub. Consolidation of an axis of facilities of high heritage and scientific value formed by the Martorell Museum, the Castle of the Tres Dragons, the Greenhouse and the Umbracle.
  • Central Urban Library. Construction of the Central Library next to the Estació de França with a metropolitan vocation.

Reopening of the Greenhouse

The Ciutadella Greenhouse is a publicly owned building listed as a Cultural Asset of Local Interest (BCIL). The building was constructed by Josep Amargós i Samaranch 135 years ago, during the Universal Exhibition of 1888. In 2021, the Municipal Institute of Parks and Gardens commissioned a project to finish the rehabilitation of this piece of heritage that had been interrupted on different occasions. This work began in September 2022 and lasted 15 months with two main objectives. On the one hand, to recover the original image of the Greenhouse  and, on the other, to resolve the pathologies that had appeared over the years.

During the works it was possible to recover the decorative panels by Alexandre de Riquer, halfway between stucco and painting, which have become the protagonists of this restoration. The Greenhouse has also recovered a collection of plants, most of which are subtropical or tropical, selected on the basis of criteria such as their ability to adapt to greenhouse conditions, their history and their botanical interest.

From now on, the new opening hours of the Greenhouse will be from 10 a.m. to dusk. In order to highlight the heritage value of the Greenhouse, the new uses planned for the space should promote the dissemination of the natural, cultural, scientific and historical heritage of the city and, therefore, some activities will be programmed along these lines. Small-format activities related to greenery and biodiversity and it could also become an exhibition space with the same objectives, turning it into a space for experimentation and dissemination recovered by the city within the framework of the Ciutadella Knowledge Hub.

In 2024 the Ciutadella Greenhouse will host the exhibition Climatic Machine, a historical review of the Ciutadella Greenhouse that shows the evolution of several greenhouses over time and makes a prospective on a future line, the implementation of greenhouses to produce food in consolidated urban areas.