On the Town: Barcelona & LA

May 1, 2006


Structure: Mercat Santa Caterina
Architecture Firm: EMBT Arquitectes Associates SL
Cost: $17 million
Square Footage of New Roof: 59,200

Since its unveiling last fall, Barcelona's renovated Mercat de Santa Caterina, the city's oldest covered market, has become the newest obligatory stop for visitors and locals alike, the Mercat's most emblematic, showstopping element is its undulating roof, tiled with 325,000 multihued ceramic pieces. The colorful covering is an homage to nearby works by Antoni Gaudi, architect of the city's most recognizable treasures. Designed by the late Enric Miralles and his wife, Benedetta Tagliabue, the wood-and-metal structure virtually flies above the original market's 1845 walls. The roof's great beauty caught the attention of curators from New York's Museum of Modern Art, who featured a twelve-by-eighteen-foot photograph of the facility in MoMA's winter-spring 2006 exhibit "On-Site: New Architecture in Spain." Inside the multiuse building, visitors can take a peek through a glass floor at the remains of the medieval convent that was unearthed during excavations for the revamped structure. Stylishly uniting tradition with modernity, the market, with sixty vendor stalls, remains, as it has been for more than 150 years, a prime provider of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, cheese and olive oil for the community, while its chic Cuisines de Santa Caterina restaurant and Wi-Fi access throughout help it keep pace with the increasingly trendy El Born neighborhood close by. Particularly convenient for tourists, the Mercat de Santa Caterina is just steps (but light years) away from the city's historic Gothic Quarter.

16 Francesc Cambo
Tel. 011/34/93/319-5740

Los Angeles

Structure: ChoSun Galbee
Architecture Firm: Studio RCL
Cost: Figure withheld
Seats: 330

Until recently, aficionados of authentic Korean barbecue in Los Angeles had to resign themselves to dining in nondescript restaurants and visiting the dry cleaner after ach smoky, grill-your-own feast. Chosun Galbee, designed by local architect Richard Cutts Lundquist, changed that paradigm. Now aesthetes and foodies alike flock to this oasis of suave design in the city's Koreatown, filling the outdoor dining patio, which is framed by a steel pergola and bamboo screen walls and surrounded by lush greenery. Other patrons gather inside in banquette alcoves where stainless-steel ventilation hoods are suspended over the tables. Equally impressive is the cuisine, which includes a delicious array of banchan, or small appetizer plates, followed by the main event: bulgogi (thinly sliced beef), galbee (short ribs) and other fresh meats and vegetables, all cooked on grills inset in the tables. The result is one of high-tech meets homespun: a warm meal shared over an open fire.

330 West Olympic Boulevard
Tel. 323.734.3330

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