menuclose
Pedestrian connection through the Turó de Vallbona between the neighborhoods of Vallbona and Can Sant Joan in Barcelona

A safer, healthier, and more comfortable connection between two municipalities, an example of the paradigm shift towards healthy urban mobility that promotes door-to-door.

Connexió per a vianants entre Barcelona i Montcada i Reixac
Connexió per a vianants entre Barcelona i Montcada i Reixac

Pedestrian connection between Barcelona and Montcada

The project tackles an interstitial space between municipalities, at the convergence of the Collserola and Marina ranges, besides the Rec Comtal and Besós natural spaces. The project’s area has historically been the rear side of both municipalities becoming a space degraded by illegal thrash dumping carried out over the years, generating the disengagement of the citizens with the area. The goal of the project is to consolidate and improve a pedestrian connection, currently inaccessible and insecure, between Vallbona and Can Sant Joan.

Authors

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

Team

Clara Terradellas Rosell, Marta Sanz Cuso, Laura Florentín Aragón – Architect / Clàudia Amías Roget – Architect and landscape architect / Elisabeth Torregrosa Avilés – Building engineer / Yago Cavaller Galí – Agricultural engineer and environmentalist / Dolors Feu – Agricultural engineer and landscape architect

Collaborators

SBS Simón i Blanco – Engineering

Promoter

Consorci del Besòs

Construction company

Copcisa

Project status

Built

Start date

2019

Finish date

2020

Total area

7.608 m2

Outdoor surface

7.608 m2

Awards

XV Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo – Montcada

Budget

922.831,14€
Bird’s eye view of the promenade and its unique views. / © Jordi Surroca

A SIMPLE SOLUTION FOR A COMPLEX PROJECT

The trace and slope of the existing path are regularized to solve the lack of connection between nearby neighborhoods Committing boldly for soft mobility and a new Biophilic city; healthy, cleaner, and accessible for people. The new 175-meter long passage has gentle slopes for pedestrians in a renaturalized environment acting as a vantage point over Besós. The path links the pedestrian urban network with the metropolitan free–space system through one of the shortest connections between Barcelona and Montcada.

By establishing a typical section and selecting a reduced material palette we are able to solve a complex project in a simple manner.
The project responds to the characteristics of the site and adapts to each place maintaining vegetation and the existing gradients in the most respectful manner possible. The esplanade next to the Primer de Maig square is also arranged with fruit trees, creating an urban door with an insect hotel.

The project solves the complicated orography with a simple solution. / © Jordi Surroca

CONNECTING CITIES

The site is reassessed by generating a common space between both municipalities, adapting to pre-existing geological and morphological traits, increasing the involvement of citizens and local municipalities.

Three main goals are set in this new and recovered pedestrian connection:

Consolidation of a small path on the eastern slope of the Vallbona hill improves the connectivity of the Metropolis, bringing nature closer to citizens.

In spite of the site’s stark orography, an accessible path is built. When the train tracks are buried, it will be the only connection between Montcada and Barcelona along the Besos river.

A bench anchored to the structure of the walkway creates spaces for rest. / © Jordi Surroca

RESPECTING NATURE AND MANAGING WATER

The dock–style gangway on stilts maintains the site’s dynamics allowing for the crossing of fauna and keeping continuity with water along with the natural runoff. The 2-meter wide path avoids moving large quantities of earth keeping the site’s orography and respecting the existing pine trees.

In the areas closer to the urban fabric, where the orography is more favorable, the path becomes dam–like with a stone gabion wall to retain and laminate superficial runoff water favoring the sliding stability. The slope is made up of loose slate strata and illegal trash dumping.

The path also acts as a viewpoint over the renaturalized environment of Besòs and Rec Comtal. / © Jordi Surroca

MEETING SPACES BETWEEN THE TWO NEIGHBORHOODS

n the paradigm shift towards more sustainable mobility encouraged by the Door to Door philosophy, this new path becomes a key connecting site between both municipalities. A space destined for metropolitan mobility but also a meeting point between two previously detached neighborhoods. A new bench anchored on the gangway’s structure and the new vantage point over the Besós River create leisure and meeting spaces with new views towards the natural environment. Arranging the esplanade adjacent to the Primer de Maig square with fruit trees turns it into an urban door where an insect hotel fostering biodiversity is placed

THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS

The large slopes of the surroundings and the geology of natural strata, as well as the will to minimize the intervention’s footprint through an easily detachable and recyclable construction system, has become the essence for the project’s materialization. A micropilotis system performed by small-scale machinery avoided the intervention on the natural terrain placing itself over the existing path while maintaining the terrain’s natural drainage. A minimal 11cm thick composite slab is placed over this micropilotis foundation. A light and transparent handrail reduce the project’s ecological impact while increasing the structure’s recyclability.