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Name   INEFC (Institute for Physical Education of Catalonia)
Architects   BOFILL, RICARDO
Date   1990
Address   Barcelona, Spain
Floor Plan   20000 SQ.M.

The outcome of the design competition held for the various Olympic facilities resulted in the brief for the INEFC being awarded to the RBTA team. After several changes to the site and program, it was finally constructed on the western edge of Barcelona’s Olympic Ring. The building first served as the venue for various Olympic events, and afterwards as the base for a graduate and postgraduate centre for physical education teachers. INEFC’s proximity to the many other sports facilities located on the hill of Montjuïc contributes to the animated atmosphere created by students, spectators, and participants alike.

The building is austere and noble in appearance, befitting a university building and in keeping with the particular noucentista style which predominates in the area. The rectangular plan is composed of two squares, which frame the two main training tracks. These two tracks, which are laid out over two floors, are surrounded by various colonnades, creating a cloister effect.

The courtyards are used as multipurpose areas, and the adjacent buildings contain the lecture halls, libraries, and changing rooms. On the east and west sides, curtain walls provide a level of transparency to the axis between the main building and the structure located at the opposite end of the Olympic Ring, the remodelled stadium. The hall that separates the two cloisters forms the heart of the building and is reserved for social activities, acting as a place where people can meet with each other. The changing rooms and 17 classrooms rise up to the north and south of the cloisters over two floors. The hall’s lower floor accommodates the auditorium, a bar, and a restaurant. Access to the sports fields is by way of a door in the southern façade and an external flight of steps.

The envelope incorporates two types of façade. The first is a curtain wall that opens onto the interior courtyards and public spaces. The second is more solid, composed of pilasters and openings, serving as a frontier between the public and private spaces. These two types of façade are unified by two common elements: the basement, which follows the different levels of the surrounding terrain, and the frieze, which completes the building.

Despite the inherently large volume of the building, its proportions were designed in such a way that it’s absorbed into the overall garden–mountain context, as though it had been part of the scenery for a long time. They also lend it the feel of a definitively modern building located within the minimalist, classical tradition.

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