Barcelona Rock: Bringing the mountain to the city

Barcelona Rock is a proposed new landmark on the Spanish city's skyline made from the rock of Montserrat. If you can't bring Mohammed to the mountain...

Just as the old city of Barcelona was created from the rock of Montserrat mountain range, so Polish architecture firm UGO were inspired to propose the same for their latest design, Barcelona Rock.

The structure is a concept hostel whose design was submitted to the 2011 Bohemian Hostel for Backpackers international competition. A veritable skyscraper made from local mountainous rock, the hostel would attract tourists and locals alike, providing a place to stay, a range of activities and an unrivalled lookout point from which to survey the city.

The 100-metre-tall tower is created from 4-metre slabs of rock, a material that ensures the interior is kept cool in the heat of the day, while radiating heat at night. The slabs are separated by slits that allow light and air to filter through, and which simultaneously provide hostel guests with a magnificent panoramic view.

The hostel's exterior imitates a cliff face, covered in greenery and forming a natural habitat for bird-life. This outer wall would also provide visitors with the opportunity to rock-climb or abseil in natural terrain, right in the hub of the city. The more adventurous guests could also camp on the ‘mountain top’ for a lodging experience like no other.

The building’s interior houses 50 rooms, a spa, gym, cinema, pub, beginners' climbing wall and shops.

Sitting comfortably among such architectural giants as Sagrada Familia, Torre Agbar or the nearby Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona Rock would surely become a tourist destination and iconic landmark in the thriving metropolis. And in reuniting the old with the new and the natural with the urban, it would stand as a fitting symbol of the global milieu.