Jardins de la Rambla de Sants, Barcelona’s High Line

Linking the residential districts of Sants and La Bordeta, Jardins de la Rambla de Sants is Barcelona’s version of the New York High Line.

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In the late 1980s, Barcelona’s City Hall decided to tear down defunct industrial buildings in the district of Sants and create public parks. This has resulted in some of city’s more unusual landscapes, such as the Parc de l’Espanya Industrial with its postmodernist lighthouses and lake. and the Parc de l’Excorxador – once the site of an abattoir, now filled with palm trees and a surreal sculpture by Joan Miró. Now, a new High Line-type project completes the set.

Named the Jardins de la Rambla de Sants, the scheme encloses a corridor of six railway lines, deemed too costly to move underground. It provides a plant-filled urban space in a congested area next to the city’s main train station. The 800m long promenade takes shape with prefabricated concrete boxes in the form of Warren beams, which recall classic railway bridges. The triangles of the boxes are filled with glass, which cuts down on noise, while still affording views of the passing trains from ground level.

The top level is covered with stylised gardens of Mediterranean bushes and herbs, and miniature forests of rosewood and flowering Koelreuteria trees. With time, creepers will take over the triangular supports of the ‘beams’, filling the air with the scent of jasmine. Also the futuristic pergolas and sleek wooden benches will provide places to gather.

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Sergi Godia and Ana Molino are the architects behind Jardins de la Rambla de Sants.

Godia has a strong portfolio of striking civic buildings and public spaces. He says that the principal challenge with this one was creating a structure of large dimensions that was light, transparent and compatible with its surroundings.

At a cost of 120 million euros the solution didn’t come particularly cheap. Further criticism has been directed at the close proximity of the rooftop promenade to the balconies of surrounding apartment buildings. However, like some of Barcelona’s other daring public spaces, Jardins de la Rambla de Sants will probably just take a bit of getting used to. If there is one thing Barcelona excels at, it’s having the confidence to repurpose its public domains.

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Info: Wallpaper Magazine

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