return to nē44


DIAGONAL MAR. A NEW URBAN CENTER
by M.R.

This area of the Poblenou industrial district, bordering on the Besōs River, was proposed as long ago as 1987 as one of the so-called "new centres" of the Barcelona of the future. (...) In the end, development here will take a different direction and it is to become a new mainly residential neighbourhood. In any case, Diagonal Mar will be one of Barcelona’s major projects in preparation for the Forum 2004. This development, to be carried out by private enterprise with foreign capital, is likely to be one of the last, since the city has little if any land left for further development.
(...) Hines, the developer of the complex, has submitted a final project for Diagonal Mar, (...) calling for construction of 1,600 housing units in a new sea front neighbourhood. The developer consulted a number of architects, one of them being particularly well-qualified to adapt American concepts to Barcelona, namely Ōscar Tusquets, who had designed the few residential buildings included in Kepro’s initial plans.
In this plan, the residential buildings are distributed in five superblocks with 400 housing units each, in two apartment buildings of no more than nine storeys, plus two towers (of between 14 and 20 storeys). (...) These housing units will replace the largest part of the office space originally planned, with only 74,000 square metres of offices and service facilities remaining (the possibility of building a hotel has also been discussed, in the event that the casino is moved to this area in five or six years, as the Town Council has proposed). (...)
Diagonal Mar will include a park covering some 15 hectares, ceded for public. The architect Enric Miralles has laid it out in the shape of a gigantic tree. The trunk will be a central promenade, starting at the Diagonal, at the entrance of the shopping centre, and zigzagging alongside a large lake down to the sea, crossing over the Ronda Litoral and ending at the new area set aside for public use, with beaches and a portion reserved for the planned zoo and marine park on land reclaimed from the sea just opposite the Diagonal Mar complex. The earth extracted from the land under development will be used to reclaim this area from the sea.