Specific modification of the General Metropolitan Plan in the block around the Cercanías station

A mixed use transit oriented development.

Ordenació de l’illa Gallina Blanca a Sant Joan Despí
Ordenació de l’illa Gallina Blanca a Sant Joan Despí

Gallina Blanca Block planning in Sant Joan Despí

The new development takes advantage of its location next to the Cercanías station to create a new center of tertiary and housing centrality, reconnecting the center of the town to its neighborhoods.


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


Abel Porcar Badal – Architect and urban planner / Ronda Quetglas Aragay – Architect



Project status

Initially approved

Start date


Main use

Residential / Tertiary / Hotels

Total area

48.895 m2

Roof area

91.584 m2

Dwellings number



As in other centers of the Baix Llobregat, the route of the railway between Barcelona and Molins de Rei (1854) and, more specifically, the placement of the new station, was going to mean sooner or later for Sant Joan Despí the displacement of its center.

If until that moment the urban nucleus had been developing along the Camino Real from Madrid to Barcelona, ​​integrated as the main street, the railway line was drawn parallel to this road and on the outskirts of the town.

The station square met all the conditions to be configured as a new urban center, linked to the old one through the Canalies promenade. Identifying the strategic importance of this privileged location due to its maximum accessibility and visibility, Gallina Blanca chose the closest point on the other side of the road to place its facilities (1955).

The Gallina Blanca factory, the first to cross the train line. / © ICGC


However, the axis of activity represented by the railway also meant a barrier in the territory and pushed urban growth in other directions. Assuming this situation, the Regional Plan of 1953 assigned the lands of the Fontsanta, to the east of the road, industrial use. Neither the subsequent urban growth of this part of the city, between 1960 and 1990, which gave rise to the neighborhoods of Les Planes, Pla del Vent-Torreblanca, and Sant Joan (where TV3 is located), managed to resolve this issue. and they were completely cut off from the center.

Although for years the Fontsanta industrial estate, headed by the Gallina Blanca factory, constituted an important economic engine, the lack of direct connection to the station made the estate grow with its back to the train, relegating it to the background and converting the block Gallina Blanca in a residual space.

Despite everything, the place maintains the virtues that it had at the time of the implantation of the factory, reinforced now by the growth of the municipality and the metropolis, and the transformation of the Gallina Blanca block through a Modification of the General Metropolitan Plan you must turn them into opportunity.

The new intermodal station and the configuration of the new central square across the tracks reinforce the connection between the center and the neighborhoods. / © SBDA


The transformation of the Gallina Blanca block implies the creation of a new passage to street level under the railway line from the station square and the opening of this closed area of ​​about 50 hectares, to turn it into a permeable space that gives continuity to neighboring fabrics, thus establishing a natural connection between Paseo Canalies and Avenida Barcelona or, in other words, between the center and the neighborhoods on the other side of the road.

The new axis is specified within the area in the form of a large equipped public space -the new central station square-, generously sized and receiving the main pedestrian routes from the eastern neighborhoods. This square structures around it a mixed-use arrangement that, overcoming the current monofunctional model of industrial use, mixes free and protected housing, community facilities, hotel use, commerce, offices, and other economic activities, with the new Agrolimen headquarters as a locomotive.

The new passage under the railway line constitutes a natural extension of the Canalies promenade and links the center with the eastern neighborhoods. / © SBDA


This new mixed-use activity pole must be supported by an intermodal station that integrates the existing Cercanías lines, tram, bus, and the future arrival of metro line 3, and prioritizes direct access for pedestrians and bicycles from both sides of the railway line. The reform of the Cercanías station, placing it adjacent to the underpass and in a symmetrical position with respect to the tracks, will eliminate its current face and back condition, improve its accessibility and reinforce the connectivity of the new crossing.

The proposal culminates an already existing attempt by the City Council to reconnect the center and the neighborhoods of Les Planes and Sant Joan using the axis of Barcelona avenue and the Fontsanta park, turning the avenue into a civic axis through the implantation of housing, tertiary and equipment. Although this strategy has begun to generate a connection between Sant Joan Despí and its neighborhoods, it is only now, with the creation of a powerful axis that extends the Canalies promenade, incorporates the Cercanías station, and turns it into the nucleus of a hub of activity, that this axis will be able to sew the urban structure of the city and consolidate its new center.

The project takes as reference experiences developed in other cities that have transformed fixed infrastructure public transport stations into activity centers, around which densification is promoted with mixed urban growths that allow minimizing motorized displacements, concentrating activities in strategic points from the cities and make the most of the public transport infrastructure that gives quick access to the rest of the metropolis.

The new station square, a natural extension of the Canalies promenade through the planned passage under the tracks. / © SBDA