parc dels turons, barcelona
The Parc dels Turons is more the materialization of a process than a project design in the usual sense.
This process initially comprised a reconquest of the territory, appropriating for city dwellers these out-of-the-way hillsides that had long been overlooked by the city. The reconquest not only set out to create a green lung out of what used to be a no-man’s-land in a prime location at the heart of the urban fabric—a vital operation in itself—but was also an opportunity to satisfy the urbanistic needs of a part of the city with many shortcomings.
The issues to be addressed ranged from the inherent problems of residential areas segregated from the rest of the fabric to the shortage of facilities and connectivity, as well as the obvious problems of formal and physical identification of the public space. The solution was to define this new green area, seeing it as an element with an important knock-on effect.
In view of the sheer scope of the challenge, the strategies of intervention in this territory of Barcelona’s foothills called for mechanisms that would allow step-by-step implementation and redefine, after many years, the formal nature and the urban role of this singular area.
The first step in the process was to create paths and approaches that would organize the territory, connect it to the city and improve access, identifying a series of previously unconnected spaces and piecing them together in a recognisable whole. They offer unusual views of the city that redefine the urban role of spaces that had long been overlooked. Short cuts, steps and bridges were the first means employed to this end.
The other basic element of intervention in this initial phase was the planting of trees. The characteristics of the terrain had produced a site that had been known for years as “bare mountain” due to its difficulty in spontaneously regenerating the eroded vegetation. A slow, painstaking process of soil treatment and reforestation gradually gave the hills the appearance befitting a space marked out as a green lung for the city.
The third substantial element was the creation of areas to map out the territory. In some cases, these areas exploit their strategic situation, becoming gateways to the park from the city, or are introduced at prime vantage points that offer new vistas of Barcelona. In others, their purpose is specifically functional, designed to become play areas, attracting activities from their current location (the extraordinarily fragile central plaza of Park Güell, for example) or to accommodate new users.