Las Glorias Plaza

  • Barcelona 2014
  • Competition
© Estudio Álvarez-Sala


The structure of a territory begins in the soil constitution. That is why, to register the geographic characteristics of a region, is necessary to study its geology. Sometimes, this explains everything.

Barcelona, ​​according to its mineral stratigraphy, presents different environments from West to East: Collserola, Plan and Litoral, with Llobregat and Besòs basins in South and North. The edge between Plan and Besos separates two geologicals entities dividing mainland from soft substrate. This limit has been the origin of recognizable traces that have conditioned the evolution of the city. Cerdá extended his grid rotating the axes 45º regarding North-South orientation. This rule was broken twice.

First, the apparition of ‘La Diagonal’, the only line that respond to a geometric will of the author instead to a condition of the land. Second, the Glòries void, open space where Meridiana and Diagonal converge. This rectangular void is rotated without any relationship with the existing grid but following the railroad trace.

Glòries was conceived as the downtown of the devised city linking the three gestures of Cerdà: the orientation of the blocks hypotenuse (represented by Meridiana), the diagonal from the mountains to the sea and, finally, the Gran Vía axe, parallel to the coast and supported on the old city.

Glòries mantain its potential energy as an urban center, denying for decades in Barcelona. The main goal is to restore what was hidden for long time: its condition of mythical place in which the ground suffers an energic trasition, from the Plan to Delta.

This intervention is developed in two levels. First, as a response to the requirements of neighbours and Town Hall. Second,to create a central public space, aware of geology, geography and history, but sensitive to innovation and future. Glòries will be a green, accesible and connected island.


Date: 2014
Architecture: Enrique Álvarez-Sala, Carlos Rubio Carvajal, Enrique Alvarez-Sala, Fernando de Porras-Isla, Aiguasol.
Developer: Ayuntamiento de Barcelona
Structure Engineer: Fhecor
Landscape: Luis Vallejo
Sculptor: Esther Vallejo

Visuals: Isografik, Javier Rubio Donzé