Barcelona is accustomed to outlandish buildings dividing opinion. After all, this is the city where construction of Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral has been underway for over 130 years.
While many regard it as an Art Noveau masterpiece, others believe the project to complete it is a misguided waste of money. In his 1938 Spanish Civil War memoir, Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell describes it as the most hideous building in the world and complains the anarchists displayed bad taste in not blowing it up when they had the chance.
Still, it has become an instantly recognisable symbol of the city and attracts tourists from across the world to the tops of its precarious looking towers. Given this long history it’s perhaps ironic that a twenty-first century planning application is currently provoking outrage in the Catalan capital.
The application in question is for a 984 ft hotel which US based Mobilona hopes to build on an artificial island off the coast. If permission is granted the building will be Europe’s tallest hotel and will be aimed at guests who ‘wish they could travel to distant galaxies.’
Mobilona, which already operates two space hotels in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, says the project will offer guests an out of this world experience through state-of-the-art immersive technology. The hotel’s 2,000 rooms will all be equipped with transparent glass displays providing views of the universe that can be operated with a push of a button.
More bizarre innovations include a vertical wind tunnel for weightlessness training and the world’s first ‘zero-gravity spa.’
However, the proposal has already provoked the opposition of Barcelona mayor, Xavier Trias, who has described the plans as ‘not in keeping’ with his vision of the city.
“We have no need or desire to take on projects of this nature,” the Telegraph reports him saying.
“We are a city of culture, knowledge, of creativity and of innovation and our project will follow a different path.
“We have no intention of turning Barcelona into a spectacle.”
Jerome Bottari, global CEO of Mobilona, says the hotel – designed by Barcelona-based architect Erik Morvan – is part of a commitment to the city that will create well-paid technology jobs.
“Barcelona is one of the greatest cities in the world and we welcome everyone to work with us to turn Barcelona Island into Europe’s new hotspot,” he said.
An official at the city planning department remarked that the proposal appeared to be more suitable for a location like Dubai and any plans for Barcelona must be in line with the current model. The application could be a drawn-out process.
Meanwhile, according to the latest estimates, the Sagrada Familia is due for completion ‘sometime in the first third of the twenty first century.’
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