Preserving the elements of industrial heritage and neighborhood revitalization are the aims of this urban project being undertaken in the La Soledat area of Palma, Majorca. Dedicated to the production of wool blankets, the Can Ribas factory was built in 1851 in the La Soledat neighborhood to the east of Palma. Located in an area outside the city walls, the military administration required the factory be built on a provisional basis, which manifests itself in the bays’ system of walls with pilasters and in the simplicity and rationality of the complex’s construction.
In the 1970’s, after successive expansions and transformations, the factory’s obsolescence led textile production to be abandoned. There were also other highly significant changes around the La Soledat neighborhood with the construction of a social housing state, the Llevant estate, to accommodate the high demand for housing, and the establishment of the Son Molines power plant between the beltway and the highway, which also created another barrier that further increased the neighborhood’s physical isolation.
With its organization as an enclosed area, the Can Ribas factory had become a barrier dividing the La Soledat neighborhood in two. The plan to restructure La Soledat seeks to open the industrial area to neighborhood. In 2003 the Special Plan for Interior Reform (PERI) drafted by Joan Busquets only the main bay, earmarked for housing a facility, and the chimney from the Can Ribas industrial complex were protected, and the bays affected by the plan for the new street were slated for demolition. In developing the project, however, the most valuable heritage elements have been recovered and will be integrated into the urban surroundings.
The incorporation of the middle bay, the steam pavilion and the wall of another bay enables recognition of the value of the industrial area shaped by different pavilions that were home to different stages of textile production. A system of open public spaces is thus structured by a concrete foundation, which serves to create a visual and physical connection between the new Brotad Street and the historic elements of the Can Ribas factory generating a richer, more complex public space.