Urbanistic development and intervention on the landscape

Barcelona. Spain

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Raised gardens above the railway line in Sants

Sergi Godia y Ana Molino

Description Technical file

The cross-sectional nature of this collaboration between engineering and architecture becomes an example of how good architecture and good design can coexist with infrastructural public works as part of a magnificent project.
In the past century, the line of train and metro tracks through Barcelona’s Sants district represented an open wound in its urban fabric, dividing the district into two virtually isolated parts along 800 m from Plaza de Sants to calle Riera Blanca, creating the resulting urban dysfunctions in terms of acoustic pollution and deterioration of the surroundings. In the year 2002 the city’s administration decided to launch the urban renovation project of the Sants railway corridor. Having ruled out the option of burying the corridor underground, they chose to confine it within a lightweight, transparent box for a good part of the route, with a roof to be transformed into a long elevated and landscaped boulevard 800 m in length that would in fact be extended at a later date to the neighbouring municipalities as far as Cornellá, giving rise to a 5-km-long “green corridor”.
The supporting structure for this container building comprises prefab concrete pieces in a diagonalised sequence that adopts the shape of a great Warren beam evoking the old railway bridges, leaving large triangular gaps that could be glazed to allow a view of the train passing through the city while reducing its acoustic impact to a minimum. Not fully glazing the building led to building three great green embankments that rise as far as the roof from the lowest points of the surrounding area. These embankments “anchor” the building to its setting, allow the roof vegetation to spill over to the lateral streets and support pedestrian ramps that provide “natural” access to the roof.
The roof of the building is elevated above the surrounding streets by between 4 and 12 metres and consequently its gardens have become a vantage point over the city. They start at a great umbraculum, the gateway into the gardens, which are structured along two linear routes: one in the northern side of the roof, highly shaded by the trees, and the other on the south side, which is permanently in sunlight. The intermediate space between the routes is configured as the backbone of the gardens based on the configuration of a complex artificial topography with high tree density and rich plantings of shrubs and ground covering plants, chosen according to a highly selective colour palette. The elevations of the topography, reinforced by the density and strategic position of the tree masses, favour the creation of spaces in which the strollers lose the feeling of being inside the city and find themselves immersed in a natural setting. The most widely used types of trees were Tipuanas, Sophoras, Koeleuterias and Malus ‘Evereste’, characterised for their yellow and white flowers. As for the ground cover plants and shrubs, they have been distributed around the lawns, with Bulbine, scarlet sage, wild roses and common ivy in the sunlit part and ivy, Vinca, beeblossom and verbena in the shaded area.

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Localización Location: Barcelona. Spain. Autores Authors: Sergi Godia y Ana Molino, arquitectos y Esteyco Ingenieria. Dirección de obra Site management: Sergi Godia y Ana Molino, arquitectos y GPO Ingenieria. Gestión Project managers: Barcelona Infraestructures Municipals S.A. (BIMSA). Promotor Developer: Ayuntamiento de Barcelona a través de BIMSA (Barcelona Infraestructures Municipals S.A.), Ministerio de Fomento a través de ADIF (Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias) y Transportes Metropolitanos de Barcelona a través de GISA (Gestió d’Infraestructures, S.A.U.). Constructora General Contractor: COMSA y OHL. Ejecución Completion: 2016. Fotografía Photography: Adrià Goula Sardà.
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Montaje de elementos de madera para exterior: La Pergola www.lapergola.ca info@fustaverda.cat

Pavimento continuo de caucho: Enza www.enzass.es info@enzass.es

Pavimento de adoquines fotocatalíticos AirClean®: Breincobluefuture www.breinco.com breinco@breinco.com

Protección anti-graffiti, tratamientos de acero Corten, laminado anti-vandálico y laminado solar: IPL www.ipl.es ipl@ipl.es

Suministro de tierra vegetal: Monflor (T/ +34 938 422 078) ventas@monflor.com

Trabajos de jardinería y riego: Moix, Serveis i Obres www.moix.eu correu@moix.eu
Sergi Godia
Ana Molino

Adrià Goula