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Barcelona's elegant and light-filled Hivernacle, the modernista wintergarden structure in the Parc de la Ciutadella has reopened this Monday after 14 years of closure, with the completion of a renovation that began in August 2022. The renovation involved an investment of nearly two million euros, and has made it possible to restore the three naves that make up the Hivernacle, the central nave and the two side naves, known as the Picasso nave and Magnòlias nave. Hivernacle is simply the Catalan word for greenhouse, but this building is so much more, and as city mayor Jaume Collboni highlighted at the opening, it's going to become more still: the rebuilt Hivernacle is the first piece of what will become the Ciutadella del Coneixement - the Ciutadella Knowledge Hub - a project to turn the Ciutadella park into a benchmark research and innovation space, and which will include five strategic projects, most of which are already underway. "It will be the most important hub of knowledge and innovation in southern Europe", said mayor Collboni.

Sixteen months of restoration

The restoration work, which was supposed to start in July 2022, finally started on August 31st. It was supposed to last 12 months but ended up taking 16. Finally, this Monday, the new Hivernacle was presented with the completion of the works that allowed the building to be rehabilitated, both inside and outside, and solve the structural typologies that were detected in 2015, when refurbishing works had to be stopped shortly after they started because the construction company went bankrupt. The previous partial reform dates from 2009, when the most urgent actions were prioritized. Since then the city's elegant greenhouse has been closed to the public. The current reform of the Hivernacle has also included the installation of subtropical plants that will be irrigated with groundwater, a monitored ventilation system and humidifiers.

Interior de l'Hivernacle de la Ciutadella després de la remodelació
Interior of the Ciutadella wintergarden after remodeling


Legacy of the 1888 Exhibition

The Hivernacle at the Parc de la Ciutadella is a modernista design which covers nearly 1,000 square metres, thoroughly emblematic, and characterized by its tall arched windows and glazed roof. It is listed as a Cultural Element of National Interest. The building was built to plans drawn up by architect Josep Amargós i Samaranch (1883-1887) on the occasion of the Barcelona Universal Exhibition of 1888. The space formed part of a museum and scientific project designed by another architect, Josep Fontserè i Mestres, which also included the nearby Umbracle and the Martorell Museum with its neo-classical façade.

A complex of 5 projects for €290 million

The Ciutadella Knowledge Hub includes the three research buildings of the old Mercat del Peix - the old fish market site located at the bottom end of Carrer Wellington - with work already underway; the Biosciences Centre of the CSIC (expected completion in 2027); the rehabilitation of the Castle of the Three Dragons and the Umbracle (both by the end of 2026); the Martorell Exhibition Centre (to be opened immediately); the new Central Library (planned for 2029), and the new Zoo (which is already implementing its new strategic plan). The complex will have around 45,000 m² and includes an underground car park. The total associated investment is 290 million euros, 75 million of which was contributed by Barcelona city council, which wants all projects, with the exception of the library, to be completed during this mandate.