Travis Howe

Architecture and Design 

Plaça Gardunya

Barcelona, Spain

Fall 2006

with Mike McIntyre

The Barrio Gotico in Barcelona is a web of meandering streets and alleys that expand suddenly and sometimes unexpectedly into open plazas activated by the density surrounding them. Separating this old medieval city from the adjacent Raval neighborhood is Las Ramblas, a broad pedestrian thoroughfare filled with shopping, street performers, tourists, and cafes.

The site for this project is a dilapidated parking lot behind La Boqueria market that is being redeveloped as part of the gentrification of the Raval neighborhood. In an effort to integrate this new development into the existing fabric of the city, the buildings complete the theoretical blocks to the north and south of the site and create a central plaza that siphons activity from Las Ramblas and the adjacent market. The activity and pedestrian paths through this space erode the newly completed block creating layers of public and private spaces.

The development includes the relocation of a nearby art school into the southern building and residential to the north. Both additions are sensitive to the existing structures to which they attach and form transitional interior courtyards that mitigate between their more private nature and the active public plaza below.