The innovative, modern spirit that has always been a feature of Fira de Barcelona is not only reflected in the portfolio of shows and in the contents of each event, but also in its infrastructures. The best example is the modern Gran Via venue designed by Toyo Ito that has established itself as a transgressive architectural landmark, one which has several precedents, in this case, at the historical Montjuïc venue.
One of them is the hotel designed in 1970 by the architects Enrique Hernández de Avilés and Manuel Torres, who had already worked at Fira in 1961. The structure was to be built where the box office and the Communications area in Montjuïc’s Hall 8 now stand. The architectural proposal was bold and aimed to build the city’s biggest skyscraper with 36 storeys –plus 3 underground floors- and standing over 125 metres tall. If it had been built, it would have been the tallest building in Barcelona of that period and the highest until the construction of the Hotel Artes en 1992.
However, the size was not the project’s only ground-breaking aspect. The list of planned facilities included various terminals for a variety of airlines in which travellers could get their tickets and check in luggage. With this service, the hotel would have been able to make the arrival and departure of exhibitors and visitors to Fira’s shows and congresses much smoother and more comfortable.
According to the project report, signed by the architects in March 1970, the cost of building the skyscraper was estimated to be 513.030.000 pesetas (a little over 3 million Euros).