Bridgette Meinhold

Barcelona's Brilliant Energy Efficient Flower Market

by , 04/15/09

barcelona flower market, mercarbarna flor, sustainable architecture, green building, energy efficient architecture, radiant heating, passive cooling, passive design, willy muller architects

Flowers markets are inspiring – the bright colors, the enchanting smells, and the hundreds of beautiful possibilities that can be created. And if you happen to come upon this new wholesale flower market in Barcelona you’ll surely agree that its architecture is every bit as beautiful as the flowers it contains. The recently completed Mercarbarna-Flor, by Barcelona-based Willy Müller Architects is a stunning structure designed specifically to store and sell wholesale flowers and accessories. Energy-efficient passive cooling and radiant heating systems keep all of the flowers at the perfect temperatures to help them last longer, while the striped multi-colored panels lining the edge of the roof allude to all of the colorful flowers found within.


barcelona flower market, mercarbarna flor, sustainable architecture, green building, energy efficient architecture, radiant heating, passive cooling, passive design, willy muller architects

The new flower market is a great example of efficient and beautiful design, and was created to become the principal market in Catalonia. The exterior of the market is a relatively traditional square warehouse design, although the roof line bends and folds to create entrances, loading areas and protected areas. Geometric patterns decorate the zinc roof and evoke fields of cultivated flowers as seen from above.

barcelona flower market, mercarbarna flor, sustainable architecture, green building, energy efficient architecture, radiant heating, passive cooling, passive design, willy muller architects

The building’s interior houses a variety of markets, and each one has specific conditioning requirements and logistics. The fresh cut flower market requires a temperature of 2-15 deg C, as the flowers have a shorter life span and must be sold within 3 days. The plant market acts as a greenhouse to grow potted plants and its climate is very carefully regulated with both radiant heating and passive cooling – one of the biggest systems of its kind. Passive cooling helps to introduce humidity and ensure that temperatures stay between 15 and 26 deg C. Meanwhile the radiant industrial floor ensures that the flowers have enough warmth to grow.

barcelona flower market, mercarbarna flor, sustainable architecture, green building, energy efficient architecture, radiant heating, passive cooling, passive design, willy muller architects

Another region of the market is reserved specifically for dried flowers, which are especially delicate and require a lot of storage space. Additionally, dried flowers are at high risk of catching on fire, so a special fire detection and extinguishing system was installed to protect them. The market also has enough parking for 500 cars, a number of loading zones, a restaurant, office space, two florist education centers and multi-purpose event rooms. It’s a spectacular project that was well designed to meet a specific need. We would love to walk around during one of the market days and be surrounded by flowers on all sides.

+ Willy Müller Architects

Via Dezeen

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2 Comments

  1. Bridgette Meinhold Bridgette Steffen April 15, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    We strive to provide all the information we can find on a project and sometimes, unfortunately, we don’t always get the details to the project. Even though Spain may be considered humid, flowers need very specific temperature and humidity controls. To the best of my knowledge the passive cooling system helps to make all that happen. I wish I had more details as to how it all works though, but it that info wasn’t provided. If I find out more, I’ll be sure to post it here in the comments. Thanks for your interest.

  2. ecoarchitect April 15, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Could you explain what kind of passive cooling system they’re using and how it works – “Passive cooling helps to introduce humidity and ensure that temperatures stay between 15 and 26 deg C” that statement doesn’t really make sense, as spain is in a humid climate and thus the introduction of water would further saturate the air, without cooling the temperature much, if at all. This seems to be a new trend of inhabitat-the posts used to explain the innovative systems these projects are utilizing, but lately the posts seem to just gloss over them and give very shallow and even misleading commentary. I appreciate the drive of inhabitat to bring to light these sustainable projects, but to truly be effective, the systems behind the projects need to be explored and defined….

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