The Barcelona Superblocks programme starts to take shape. During this term of office, Barcelona City Council will begin transforming the public space of the Eixample with a series of priority actions that will turn the streets of Consell de Cent, Rocafort, Comte Borrell and Girona into green hubs. In addition, four large squares will also be created. Each square, of about 2,000 m2, will be located at the intersection between two green hubs, occupying space that was previously reserved for vehicles: Consell de Cent with Rocafort, Comte Borrell, Enric Granados and Girona.
With the aim of encouraging a technical and professional debate on this new public space model, the City Council held two design competitions, one for squares and one for green hubs. The goal was to find an innovative response to the need for a new type of public space that would really put people first and integrate natural processes, greenery and biodiversity, optimising resources, with simple and rational solutions. Detailed below are the winning proposals chosen by the jury of the competition from among all the entries submitted (40 for the green hub competition and 46 for the squares).
It is also worth noting that, in the case of the green hub competition, the winning proposals are not definitive. The four winning teams will now have to work together to draw up the Green Hub Public Space Model Document. In addition, in all cases the teams will be told the results of the participatory process currently in progress, including the contributions made by both entities and local residents, aimed at improving each project.
The plan is to have the eight final projects ready by February next year, with the goal of commencing the works in June 2022 and completing them in the first quarter of 2023.
Results of the square design competition
Consell de Cent / Rocafort Square
El parlament de les espècies [The Parliament of Species]
Estudi08014. Arquitectura, ciutat, territori, S.C.P.P.
The jury saw this as a strong proposal that will create a large square-shaped natural space in the centre, measuring 1,000 m2 , with a concentric arrangement based on the uses to which the square may be put at any given time.
The floor of this permeable central space is made of gravel, and it contains a pleasant area for relaxation and a green area both on the surface (flower beds) and in terms of trees. Around the central area is a concrete slab, with thoroughfares emerging around it.
The ecological restoration strategy is based on a good approach, as it provides for permeable floors with plants and shade forming a general area aimed at reducing temperatures and reducing pollution.
‘El parlament de les espècies’ is the winning proposal for this square. The jury was also impressed by the proposal ‘De.Encreuament.A.RETROBAMENT’ , in second place, and ‘Més Cerdà’ , in third place.
Consell de Cent / Comte Borrell Square
L’illa de les illes [The Block of Blocks]
UTE Clara Solà-Morales + Albert Casas Álvarez + Frederic Villagrasa Álvarez
The proposal consists of a square with a concentric arrangement and a permeable and naturalised square in the middle containing a relaxation area with 16 trees that create a pleasant atmosphere. An area is made available around it for the local uses and activities that are already carried out at this location.
It is a very clean and transparent proposal from a visual point of view, and its composition makes it very flexible in terms of its ability to accommodate the various uses to be carried out in it.
‘L'illa de les illes’ is the winning proposal for this square. The jury was also impressed by the proposal ‘Topos 2’, in second place, and ‘2021’ , in third place.
Consell de Cent / Enric Granados Square
Jardín ILLA [BLOCK Garden]
UTE GPO Ingeniería y Arquitectura, S.L.U. + LAND LAB, laboratorio de paisajes, S.L.
The proposal involves the creation of a large garden in this already fairly traffic-free area currently used for commercial purposes, boosting neighbourhood life with play and relaxation areas and, above all, much more greenery.
The design takes advantage of the fact that one of the façades on the square is the seminary building, which already has a garden, which it imitates by creating an asymmetrical proposal that finally provides a pleasant, larger and more natural space. This will be part of a series of green spaces and biodiversity running from the university gardens to Plaça de Letamendi, through the seminary and this new square.
‘Jardín ILLA’ is the winning proposal for this square. The jury was also impressed by the proposal ‘Reconciliar’, in second place, and ‘El verd sota els panots’, in third place.
Consell de Cent / Girona Square
Superescocell [Super Tree Pit]
UTE Under Project Lab, S.C.P. + BOPBA Arquitectura, S.L.P.
Based on the idea that tree pits are the smallest natural unit of the Eixample, the project magnifies this element as a metabolic ecosystem that needs to be boosted, and it adds it wherever it can all over the square, always taking into account that there is a Metro station underneath. For this reason, it puts more of the green and permeable part on the mountain side, an arrangement with good results in terms of sunshine. Furthermore, this makes it possible to provide for other uses, such as relaxing or playing in the areas with fewer plants.
It defines the greenery very well and proposes abundant plant life, although the square can be crossed on foot. It also envisages a good relationship with ground floor uses.
‘Superescocell’ is the winning proposal for this square. The jury was also impressed by the proposal ‘Recollir, infiltrar, integrar’, in second place, and ‘Cercle Cívic’ , in third place.
Results of the green hub design competition
The jury of the Barcelona Superblock green hub competition has chosen from among all the proposals submitted the four projects that can best represent what 21st-century streets should look like. However, the proposals submitted by these teams are not definitive. The winner of the first place will now be responsible for drafting, in collaboration with the other winners chosen by the jury and under the coordination of the Barcelona Superblock Technical Office, the Green Hub Public Space Model Document, which will lay down the terms for the development and execution of future green hub projects.
Once the Green Hub Public Space Model Document is ready, and based on its content, each team will draw up the project for the green hub assigned to it: Consell de Cent for the winner, Carrer Girona for the team in second place, Carrer Rocafort for the third place, and Carrer Comte Borrell for the fourth-place team. In order to make all new green hubs consistent with each other and ensure they provide continuity in terms of urban planning, future redevelopment projects will be bound by the content of the model document.
Premises for the new street / green hub model
The new green hubs for the 21st century involve reclaiming the streets for people: more family life and local shopping, and less noise and pollution. These are the premises on which the new green hub model must be based:
- An absolute focus on pedestrians: Ensuring straight and uninterrupted routes. Private vehicles will only be allowed in for access, and at a maximum speed of 10 km/h. (In the case of Consell de Cent, the large green hub to be added to the Eixample will link Parc Joan Miró linearly and directly to Passeig de Sant Joan.)
- Streets that ensure accessibility for everyone: Single-level streets from building to building and along the entire length of the section.
- Tarmac will disappear: Road surfaces will be made from recycled materials, helping us move towards carbon neutrality.
- An explosion of greenery: Particularly in those places where it can have the greatest effect: chamfers and squares.
- A place that encourages neighbourhood life: Relaxation and children’s play areas where families and local residents can meet.
- A street that encourages local shopping: Ensuring a friendly space, loading and unloading zones and waste management areas.
- A new sustainable street model: Using rainwater and installing solar energy systems to provide the power needed for street lighting.