Saturday, September 24, 2011

Barcelona: Day 29 : Back to Normal .

So classes resumed as usual today, and we had our European cities class, where we presented an introduction to the public spaces that each group had begun to research. Ryan and I chose the space around the W-Hotel on the coast, also known as Hotel Vela. From the moment you fly into Barcelona, you see it outside the plane window, and it's visible literally from any point on the beach, like a big half moon slice poking up into the sky.

Apparently it's a bit of an eyesore for all the locals, and they can't stand that everyone immediately compares it to the hotel that looks similar in Dubai.
Personally, I think it's quite beautiful... but the space around it is designed terribly -- or rather, there is almost a lack of design altogether.

Ryan and I really wanted to be able to get inside, so when we visited the site we put on some snazzy clothes and basically just waltzed in and walked to the elevator as if we were patrons -- luckily it worked. Once in the elevator, the 25th (the top) floor seemed like a great idea, and let me tell you, wow was the view beautiful!

This was also a very interesting way to view the public space around the hotel, with a huge aerial view, which is technically the space that we are really supposed to focus on. Seeing the inside of the hotel was just an added bonus. It did, however, allow us to see some of the clientele that stayed there, and how the patrons operated within the given spaces inside in conjunction with those outside.

For the most part it seemed like mostly business people, dressed in their best, always being dropped off by taxi, never on public transportation. It had its own sort of private beach, which was not officially blocked off, but there was a guy standing there with a walkie-talkie to sort of look official and keep things the way they should be. On the side of the building was a really open concrete pad, with one long seating area and a gorgeous view to the beach. Despite the fact that there was literally no shade anywhere out here, it seemed like this space was much more used than the one towards the front of the building with benches amidst the palm trees that were standing there.

It also seemed as though there was quite a bit of the general public (as opposed to hotel users) that would just sort of come up here to check things out, maybe see what the hotel was all about. I can only guess that most people just stick their nose in the air when the hotel is mentioned, and have never really gotten a chance to go over there. But in some cases it seems their curiosity has gotten the better of them. Often these people are on skateboards, or riding their bikes, or rollerblading. Either way, it's interesting to see the general public come to use a public space that is so closely associated with a (more or less) private area.

I'm actually really looking forward to exploring this place more and seeing what it's all about. And of course, maybe sneaking in the hotel a few more times...

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