In , with the Industrial Revolution well underway, the engineer Ildefons Cerdà, author of the Plan for the Reform and Extension of. Ildefons Cerda (December 23, – August 21, ) was an urban planner originally trained as a civil engineer who left his job in the civil engineering. Constricted by its medieval walls, Barcelona was suffocating – until unknown engineer Ildefons Cerdà came up with a radical expansion plan.

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At the Jardines de Montserrat Roig, a copper beer kettle-leftover from the Damm brewery which previously occupied the site remains as an interactive playscape. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.

At this time, grid or radial based urban planning principles were being implemented or experimented with in New York, Buenos Aires, Paris and London.

With a density of inhabitants per hectare Paris had fewer than at the timethe rising mortality rates were higher than those in Paris and London; life expectancy had dropped to 36 years for the rich and just 23 years for the working classes. The streets would be built to a width of 20 metres with 5 meters dedicated on each side for pedestrians with the exception of Gran Via which was to be 50 metres wide and Passeig de Gracia which was to be 60 metres widewhile a district would be defined as a block self-sustaining unit with direct access to shops, services, markets and schools.

A few of the courtyard conversions however, are indeed exceptional.

Now the city and the Spanish government had to design and manage the sudden redistribution of an overflowing population. Jardins de Flora Tristan. Courtyard recovery locations within the Eixample neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many of the reclaimed courtyards lack a standout landscape or architectural design impetus that would position them as a tourist destination.

As there was no more land left inside the city walls, all kinds of inventions were used to build more lodgings — houses were literally being created on empty space. Even today, this design makes traffic circulation infinitely easier in Eixample. Show 25 25 50 All.

What began as a utopian master plan championing publicly accessible green space has today become an enclosed and privatized neighborhood specifically lacking this publicly accessible green space. He continued to create projects and improve existing designs throughout his lifetime, as well as to develop his theories taking on larger planning scopes at the cerdw planning leveluntil the very end. Archived from the original PDF on 3 October Larger institutions such as hospitals, cemeteries, parks, plazas and industrial buildings would be spaced at calculated, even distances within each zone providing an overall utilitarian radius of access for Ildsfons inhabitants.

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In addition, only one of the two planned diagonal streets was realized. Your email address will not be published. These days, Barcelona is consistently praised as an urban success story. With interest in the socio-cultural aspect of architecture and how local cultures crda differently with their built environment he seeks out untold histories, local knowledge and roughing it travels when escaping from architectural office life.

Three-sided manzanas with a central public green space as originally drawn by Cerda. His plan for Barcelona underwent two major revisions; the second version, approved by the Spanish government at the time, is the one still recognizable in the layout of today’s Eixamplethough the low height of buildings and the gardens within every city block were soon dispensed with by politicians inclined to cave in to or cdrda even indulge in property speculation.

It has by and large succeeded as a dense, working-middle-class area of Barcelona.

Ildefons Cerdà station – Wikipedia

A visit to the manzana courtyards provides an offbeat tourist or local itinerary to a little-seen side of Barcelona. His work is still studied in Catalan schools to this day. From within, the uniqueness of each city block is a disorienting yet atmospheric pedestrian experience.

Demolition work would finally start a year later. According to the artist, when asked ildegons he wanted his house, a member of the bourgeoisie said: Topics Cities The story of cities. In total, Pro Eixample attempted to recover 50 block interiors representing roughly ,m 2 of space.

He became interested in politics and the study of urban planning. The engineer was a utopian socialist ildedons and at the centre of his urbanism was a deep sense of equality and a populist ideology. The city was living at a faster pace than ildefoons rest of Spainand was ready to become a European capital. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded.

With this explosion of modernism, an unspoken urban competitiveness emerged.


Ramon Casasa painter who had grown up in a shadowy house in the old town, was one of the modernist artists who moved to this new district, and could often be seen strolling or riding a bike on ildevons streets with fellow cultural figures. Over the following decades, Eixample grew with magnificent modernist buildings standing cheek by jowl with artisan homes demanding much cheaper rents.

Ildefons Cerdà station

Although in general terms his plan was realized, he died penniless, credited with a neighborhood that is a distant reflection of his initial intentions. An industrial city with a busy port, it had grown increasingly dense throughout the industrial revolution, mostly spearheaded by the huge development of the textile sector. In these terms it is difficult to critique, especially in comparison to other cities that have forsaken their historical plans for a gentrified and ubiquitous banality of shopping mall, big-box pretension.

Please share it in the comments below or on Twitter using storyofcities. When the government of the time finally gave in to public pressure and allowed Barcelona’s city walls to be torn down, he realized the need to plan the city’s expansion so that the new extension would become an efficient and livable place, unlike the congested, epidemic-prone old town within the walls. It is not accidental that many of the gardens are named after women as the Barcelona street nomenclature is exclusively male.

In the process, he lost all his family’s inheritance and he died in a heavily indebted near-pauper, never having been paid for his chief masterpiece, the design of Barcelona’s Eixample.

Originally, each manzana was to be built up on only 2 or 3 sides, with a depth of 20 metres and a height of 16 metres. Support Failed Architecture’s quality content and independent voice donate. His palette changed with the new luminosity that Eixample balconies let in — showing, with art, how a whole city was ready to look, and step, outside.