Square Street
Collective Places

Square Street

Barcelona, Spain Bosch Capdeferro Arquitectura

practical info

CategoryCollective Places

Studio: Bosch Capdeferro Arquitectura

Authors: Elisabet Capdeferro Pla i Ramon Bosch Pagès

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Video: Bosch Capdeferro Arquitectura

Program: Public space,
State: Renovation, extension, transformation

visual material

general aspects

This project faces the urban refurbishment of Marià Labèrnia Street, placed in Turó de la Rovira’s summit, one of the last foothills of the Coastal Range before the change of slope that forms Barcelona’s plain. This geological formation includes a series of hills that emerge from the urban fabric with heights between 180 and 260 meters above the sea level and constitute one of the most extraordinary and wide balconies over the city.

In past recent years Barcelona’s planning directors worked with the aim to reintegrate Turó de la Rovira’s area into the urban grid imagining new pedestrian routes that would connect it with the city. This operation required an intervention to improve the access that leads to the crest through the small inhabited village of Marià Labèrnia.

The project aims to mainly operate by modifying the topography. It simultaneously provides with an access for vehicles through a ramp and pursues the will to have new small resting areas able to host individual and collective outdoor activities: successive horizontal planes that will allow for an open appropriation of the public space. These small squares are terraced along the existing slope and take the dimension of the plots that make up the street. Each one of them can be understood as a domestic dimension plaza or as an exterior room of the houses for the use of its inhabitants.

The planted vegetation should play an essential role in the forthcoming years in order to provide the necessary hygrothermal and luminic comfort for the flourishing open air life.

Turó de la Rovira, the hilltop where the project is located, has undergone several stages of urbanization starting at the beginning of the twentieth century with the construction of several summer homes for wealthy families from Barcelona. During the civil war, and due to its strategic location, an anti-aircraft battery and some military installations were built. After the war the site had to cope with a strong wave of immigration that favoured the emergence of a settlement based on self construction that later became a populated shantytown.

It was not until 2010 that the crown is regained for collective use with an intervention that brings back to light the dense history of the site including all its layers. That intervention encompassed strictly the highest levels of the hill while the two streets of the small inhabited centre of Marià Labèrnia, located just below the crest, stayed submerged in lethargy. Not even the most basic urban services were provided.

In past recent years the City Council promoted the urbanization of the site with a clear public vocation based on the idea that any city fragment can be redeemed despite the difficulties of its history.

The main challenge was to transform this absolutely peripheral place, in spite of its privileged geographical situation, into two streets of the city, trying to maintain, at the same time, its fragile semi-rural character and its essentially domestic nature.

The project seeks a harmonious coexistence between visitors and inhabitants, offering to each and everyone a kind way of accessing the top and the possibility to unfold a shared outdoor life.