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The Forum Area

The Forum Area (100)

The 2004 Barcelona Forum was the first edition of the Universal Forum of Cultures and was jointly organized in Barcelona by the local city council, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Spanish Government and UNESCO.

The forum was based around three central subjects, namely sustainability, conditions for peace and cultural diversity. These subjects were dealt with by means of exhibitions, performances and conferences held in a 30-hectare enclosure built especially for the occasion. The event was attended by a total of 246 NGOs, including Save the Children, Manos Unidas and Intermón Oxfam, in addition to agencies of the United Nations, UNESCO and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The congresses and conferences featured over 2000 speakers, including Mijail Gorbachov, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Angelina Jolie, Rigoberta Menchú, José Saramago, Salman Rushdie, Lionel Jospin and Felipe González.

The enclosure stands partly on land reclaimed from the sea and consists of two large buildings, the Forum building, created by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, and the Barcelona International Convention Centre.

The Forum building is prism-shaped, with a 180-metre equilateral triangle base and a height of 25 metres. On top of the building there is a shallow pool that is used as a thermal insulator and the strips of glass that stand out from the indigo blue of the three façades simulate water overflowing from the roof. The building is suspended in the air by just 17 support points, thereby creating a covered street-level area for use by the general public. The Forum building is currently the headquarters of the Natural History Museum of Barcelona and is known as the Museu Blau, or Blue Museum. The permanent exhibition "Planet life" gives us an overall perspective of what planet Earth really is. In addition to the permanent exhibition the museum hosts many interesting and varied temporary exhibitions that are also highly recommended.

The buildings are located on a vast, 16-hectare plaza, the second largest in the world, set atop a purification plant and numerous service outlets. There is also a photovoltaic panel the size of a football field. All this led to the project being presented with an award for best work in the Hyper-Project section at the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The immense photovoltaic panel demonstrates the city's commitment to renewable energy. The panel covers 3600 square meters and includes 2668 individual solar energy panels that, at full capacity, are capable of producing the energy required for consumption in a thousand homes.

Today the enclosure aims to combine its congressional and business activities with those of recreation and tourism. Such as, for example, being the area chosen to accommodate festivals the likes of the now-famous Primavera Sound Barcelona, which attracts devotees of electronic music to the city in springtime.

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