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Provisional adaptation of the free spaces of the Can Batlló industrial site in Barcelona

Tactical urban planning action that allows to recover life in the old industrial area, opening it to the Bordeta neighborhood and maximizing the vegetation inside.

Parc de Can Batlló a Barcelona
Parc de Can Batlló a Barcelona

Can Batlló Park in Barcelona

The proposal manages to tear down the walls and open the area to the neighborhood in safe and accessible conditions, introducing vegetation in what was an inert place and providing it with the necessary service infrastructure to enable the use of warehouses and other spaces by citizens.

Authors

Batlleiroig Arquitectura. Enric Batlle Durany, Joan Roig i Duran, Iván Sánchez Fabra – Architect

Team

Mario Súñer Díaz – Architect / Dolors Feu – Agricultural engineer and landscape architect

Promoter

BIMSA – Barcelona d’Infraestructures Municipals

Construction company

Construcciones y Servicios Faus

Project status

Built

Start date

2012

Finish date

2015

Total area

18700 m2

Awards

V Premi Europeu d’Intervenció en el Patrimoni Arquitectònic – Urbanització provisional Can Batlló
An immediate solution, provisional but inexpensive and of quality. / © Antonio Navarro Wijkmark

REPROGRAMMING AN OBSOLETE INFRASTRUCTURE

With an area of ​​9 ha, the Can Batlló industrial site is located in the heart of the Sants-Montjuïc district, occupying a third of the area of ​​the Bordeta neighborhood. The textile industry, which at first was the economic engine of the area, ended up being its main problem due to the decline in its activity and the great barrier that is represented in the neighborhood’s connectivity.

In 2008, the planning and urbanization project was approved that should allow the new development of the sector (housing, equipment, park, etc.). The supervening real estate crisis slows the project indefinitely. Finally, 3 years later, on June 11, 2011, at 11:00 a.m., a neighborhood platform accessed the site and organized some recreational-protest days with the aim of starting, even if it was by its own means, the process of recovery of the sector towards the neighborhood.

© Antonio Navarro Wijkmark
© Antonio Navarro Wijkmark

PRIOR STATUS, OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE

The proposal is based on a municipal commission, a consequence of this citizen push and of defining the provisional actions that would allow the sector to be opened to the city. Develop a proposal for tactical urban planning, which even with the lack of economic means, would achieve a real and tangible change in the sector.

Despite the high heritage value of the complex, the previous state of the enclosure did not present the required security and accessibility conditions. Even so, the urbanization of the complex was not prepared or equipped, obviously, for the social and leisure use of the citizens.

The uncertainty of the times makes it possible to foresee that this action could last indefinitely and consequently, many of the decisions and strategies are designed to be durable, and even definitive, and may be completed with future complementary actions.

The purpose of the proposal is to define an alternative development model for the sector, adapted to the economic circumstances of the times and taking into consideration the transforming role of highly proactive neighborhood organizations and movements. Mario Súñer DíazArchitect / Landscape department Vice Director / Senior Associate

DEFINING THE NEW DEVELOPMENT MODEL

The definition of the new model starts from an initial decision not to act on the entire scope. A basic structure is defined, functionally finished, which can be supplemented later depending on the circumstances and needs.

This alternative model is based on:

– Propose a structure of routes based on the network of pre-existing streets. This is related and connected with the different aspects of the neighborhood, reusing the original doors of the factory, creating new ones and generating small squares at the entrances.

– Generate a system of parcels thanks to the mesh layout of the routes and the incorporation of new service networks. This system makes it possible to activate and reuse the warehouses and outdoor spaces, developing various initiatives to try to make up for the lack of equipment and free spaces during this transitory situation.

– Modify the dynamics of the water in this large area and highly impermeable sector. Enhancing infiltration to the ground thanks to the permeabilization of more than 10,000 m² (25% of the area). Low spots are converted into new biotopes through the construction of retention ditches and infiltration of runoff water.

– Renaturalize this highly inert industrial area in favor of an improvement of biodiversity by taking advantage of permeabilized spaces.

© Antonio Navarro Wijkmark
The bulk of the actions focus on pre-existing streets and access areas. The solutions used prioritize the use of low-tech, low-cost construction systems and promote the recycling of the waste generated. Mario Súñer DíazArchitect / Landscape department Vice Director / Senior Associate
© Antonio Navarro Wijkmark
The new development enhances the dynamics of water with sustainable drainage and begins the renaturation of the industrial site. / © Antonio Navarro Wijkmark