BARCELONA (ES) - Anyone who has walked over the not yet renovated section of the Passeig de Sant Joan, a 50-metre-wide avenue in Barcelona's Cerda grid, realizes the potential of public space is not fully utilized. Ample sidewalks suffer at the expense of wide car lanes on both sides, making the shops in the plinth of the residential blocks only reachable with difficulty for passersby. The task that Lola Domènech received from the municipality was not only a functional reorganization of the state plan, but also the desire to create a green corridor.
In cooperation with landscape designer Teresa Galí, the first technical objective resulted in a reduction of the number of lanes, the construction of a separate bike path and a widening of the sidewalks. The latter are divided into walking space and a 'green belt' containing playgrounds, bushes, benches, terraces and lots of space for new trees, which are slightly smaller than those already existing.
The second half of the task was more complex because politicians – for whom ease of management often prevails over ambitious urban design – frequently become mired in the pragmatism of municipal services with popular concepts such as green corridors.
The determination of Domènech in this respect is clear from her statement that 'green is not only what green should look like, but also how green should work'. For her, in other words, this means that rainwater can soak into the ground, that plants within an enclosure are able to grow and that the whole should smell of moist foliage.
Between strips of stone paving lies earth or another soft material from which vegetation rises; plants which become gradually higher closer to the street, shielding pedestrians from the cars. It proves that a consistent geometric order underlies the design, something that unerringly finds the middle between wild nature and tight urban planning.
Garden boulevard, 2011
Architect: Lola Domènech
Landscape design: Teresa Galí
Address: Passeig de Sant Joan, Barcelona
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