Plaza de les Glories2001
Barcelona has a unique urban identity, due to its position as a port and its role as the capital of the Cataluña region. Different areas in the city have traditionally been organized around open spaces, like squares and plazas. These “public spaces” have already been used by Barcelona’s residents for commercial and social activities. But although the city is next to the cost, as the waterfront was an industrial area.
The ground rages from hilly to mountainous and the city is built on a number of different gradients. The many slopes of the city and the pedestrian nature of many neighbourhoods (recognised by Cerda in his urban plan for Barcelona in the 1900) gave the city a very distinctive infrastructure.
Roads became a priority in the city planning. This has had a significant effect on most of the neighbourhoods of Barcelona. During the 1920’s Plaza las Glorias was one of the last public spaces to be developed as part of Cerda’s Masterplan, opening much of the site to cars. Partly as a result of this, people migrated away from the site area, bringing a process of degradation that is still going on.
The design intent was to creat a third system, (after the first system of Cerda’s plan and the second system emphasising the car) to throw over the very rigid urban order of this site. The purpose of this third system is to reconnect urban centres around and through the site.
This would be achieved by enhancing pedestrian flow through the site; from North West to south east, picking up the flow of passengers that emerge from the metro station. Integrating new retail spaces, the flow of people would be redirected around market spaces increasing the through movement of people. The intention is to use form and surface to change the existing balance of axes in the site, enhancing the Av. Diagonal in the hierarchy of form at the site, and so pulling the focus of the site down, towards the waterfront, along the Av. Diagonal. The proposal manipulates the ground contours to shape space above and through the site, extending it to the new development of the site. This malleable surface that in some ways is stretched over the space creating floors and ceilings that effortlessly connects different levels of the site.
This new topography, echoing a landscape in the city corresponds to the mountains and hills of the city. The visual definition of the streets shaped by these new, artificial hills will open up the diagonal to pedestrians all the way to the waterfront.