New metropolitan entrance

Course descriptionIn the metropolitan city of Barcelona, the Gran Via is the great horizontal avenue running parallel to the coast, around which growth has been structured since the late nineteenth century. It extends from the airport to the Maresme region, on the way crossing the most diverse of urban morphologies: we might call it a +\’panoptic view\’ of the city.In the south-west sector, between the municipality of Hospitalet and Barcelona at the approach to the airport, a unique condition is created due to changes in transport infrastructure: the Gran Via may have a depressed section and two lines of the Metro system will have stations here. Current low building levels suggest the possibility of a large-scale transformation, creating the possibility of an area of new centrality on this major metropolitan axis.Our working hypothesis suggests that the increased accessibility of this axis will allow the inclusion of new central activities: commerce, offices, services, facilities and a certain type of housing, which will channel a transformation in the image of the Gran Via, as well as leading to improvements to the activities already sited in these sectors.The exercise will consist of producing an urban project for the sector, taking the latter as the basis for a new interpretation of this axis in the south-west sector of the metropolis.The various phases of the study will allow 1) a morphological reading of this metropolitan reality, 2) an understanding of some of the city\’s seminal projects, but also a study of similar transformations that can be used as comparative points of reference, and 3) the definition of the urban project with a discussion of the most applicable instruments by means of which both to express it and to \’guide\’ its execution, as appropriate.In the course of this process, students will logically accord priority to the implementation of those instruments and/or techniques which they consider to be of most interest, according to their background, while preferably applying conceptual elements that allow us to define the field of physical intervention in the city.Pedagogical objectivesThe study seeks to experiment with the urban project on an intermediate scale along a large but relatively unconsolidated avenue in a European city. The content of the workshop must cover an understanding of the peri-urban condition in a big city and the potential for transformation on the basis of certain decisions regarding transport infrastructure and urban form. It seeks to work with the urban form of the city without defining the totality of the elements: the urban project is therefore marked by this condition of a \’metaproject\’, able to direct a complex urban process without fixing all of its parts.The study is set within a line of broader investigation that seeks to reflect on the role and the diversity of the urbanistic project in present-day reality, and will be carried out during the coming academic year in the form of a Research Seminar.PrerequisitesThe simulation exercise will be useful for students of Urban Design, Urban Planning, Architecture and Landscape Architecture.Time commitmentStudents are expected to participate in all sessions of the course. In addition to scheduled sessions, this will involve an average of 16 hours a week. There will be intermediate presentations and pin-ups to formalise the advance project.Basis of Final GradeThe final grade will reflect both the standard achieved in the project and the degree of understanding of and personal participation in the various parts of the study.