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Ninot Market Square


Description Technical file

This project aims to raise awareness of ecological processes that do not create a still image, but rather a landscape in constant flux, inviting visitors to reflect on the subject of public space.

The Mercat del Ninot plaza is part of a programme developed by the Barcelona city council with the
goal of transforming disused plots into public spaces on a small budget.
The plot was initially intended as an expansion of the Hospital Clínic, and the neighbouring fire station was demolished to the same end. The project was never carried out, and the space became an opportunity for urban revitalisation; a new meeting place for improving quality of life in this district
where green spaces are scarce.
Behind the fences enclosing this urban gap the architects discovered a space reclaimed by nature. A field of spontaneous tall vegetation was growing between the foundations of the old fire station walls. A powerful image of urban reclamation which inspired the project’s general strategy.
The project reinterprets the old ground-level outlines of the construction that used to occupy the plot, proposing a ‘crosscountry’ itinerary through a field of tall grass. The proposal is for a plaza-garden in the heart of the city, where one can observe the passing of time, of seasons, and come to view the
landscape as cyclical. The project eschews the standardisation that is often found in the design of public spaces: hermetic, grey and repetitive.
A paved red band crosses a mosaic of small plots of vegetation defined by its lines. Its itinerary takes one past six deciduous trees: Catalpa bignonioides, Tilia platyphyllos and the medium-height Mulhenbergia capillaris, which generates space and functions as a cushion following the slope of
Casanova Street. Meanwhile the tall Miscanthus giganteus acts as a true visual screen that opens up at certain points to enable crossed windows and views. Inside the plaza there is a field with plants of various species and heights, providing a changing landscape. The choice of species creates a sequence of staggered blooms: in the winter, when the colours of the spring and summer flowers have vanished, the pink vapour-like inflorescences of Mulhenbergia and the whites of Miscanthus fill the plaza with colour once more.
The plaza is red, fire engine red, in an homage to the building that used to occupy the plot and was a neighbourhood landmark. The porous concrete paving is also red, and contributes to urban permeability and the replenishing of aquifers. The low lampposts are red, projecting light towards the ground rather than at the sky, the red fence emphasises the arbitrary line that divides the intervention area from the rest of the urban gap, and red is the base colour for the palette of the vegetation.

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Localización Location: Barcelona. Spain. Autoras Authors: LeA atelier_Landscape ecology architecture | Nicole Bongard, Elena Climent, Silvia Pujalte, arquitectas y paisajistas. Promotor Developer: BIMSA Barcelona d’Infraestructures Municipals. Constructora General Contractor: Constraula. Superficie Area: 990m2. Fecha finalización de la obra Completion date of the works: 2016. Fotografía Photography: LeA atelier + Tomás Escrivá + Alex Baijet + Linjiani Yu & Yiyun Ye.
LeA atelier_Landscape ecology architecture

Nicole Bongard

Elena Climent

Silvia Pujalte

LeA atelier

Tomás Escrivá