The Taller de Arquitectura’s first experience of urban design on the grand scale. The commission called for the construction of a very economical, low cost residential development aimed at alleviating the housing shortage created by the influx of large numbers of immigrants during the 60s, in terms comparable to those of innumerable projects elsewhere which resulted in uninhabitable peripheral suburbs. The basic premise was to steer clear of the dormitory-suburb model, by means of a wealth of shops, bars, leisure facilities, supermarkets and large public spaces. The inclusion of the greatest possible number of services was to lead to the creation of a city within a city, thus minimizing both the need to commute in and out and the marginalization of the new neighbourhood.
An attempt was made to reproduce the atmosphere of communication fostered by the urban network of long-established towns, creating three interdependent road systems. The principal network consists of major peripheral expressways for high-speed traffic. The secondary network is for slow-moving vehicles, public parking and pedestrians, while the third system is exclusively for the use of pedestrians.
The housing in the Barri Gaudí development is concentrated in eight-storey towers, which communicate with each other by means of four-level constructions that permit pedestrian circulation between the different buildings by way of the terraces, making it unnecessary to descend to street level. The north-facing spaces are primarily used for circulation, thus leaving the sunnier spaces for housing, in particular for living rooms, balconies and terraces.
The scheme incorporates various house types, with two-, three- and four-bedroom modules. The need for different floor areas and the permutations in the disposition of the apartments around the communications core led to the creation of eight different house types: nowhere in the scheme are there two adjoining houses of the same type, not even vertically.
The system of construction employs a concrete structure with brick cladding. The economic constraints and the lack of available technology prevented the general use of industrially produced construction elements, although where these were tried the results were found to be very positive, and are clearly visible in the completed scheme.
Client: Patronato Local de la Vivienda
Area: 33.000 m2