Proposal for

by Dalia Alderzi (MDes ’19), Alaa Raafat (MDes ’18), and Carlotta Weller (MDes ’19) — Recipients of 2018 Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize


The 10.2 acre Glories #Olivetti site is located in the geographical center of Barcelona adjacent to Glories Square. It is positioned between the low income community of El Clot and 22@ innovation district; these communities seldom interact.

A key feature of the site is the historically preserved building also known as the Olivetti Building. Olivetti Barcelona is a leading typewriter manufacturer from the 1940s and an innovation thought-leader of its time. Olivetti was once Barcelona’s largest employer and source of pride to the community. When it closed its doors in the 1990’s, huge protests took place in the city that lead to its current historical preservation zoning. Since then the building and the overall site have fallen in despair and relevance. Today the site is excluded from innovation district despite its rich history of innovation.

The goal of the Glories # Olivetti development is to redevelop the site to revive the legacy of Olivetti, integrate into 22@ innovation district and become the gateway for the two communities.

Glories #Olivetti will be functionally and aesthetically relevant to the 22@ community to be integrated in the innovation district. The mixed-use development will cater to the nearby start-up community and university audience by adding uses currently missing from, the 22@ community such as co-working spaces, showrooms for new tech, workforce residential units, relevant retail and restaurants, hotel, event spaces, etc. By utilization of the various strategies the FAR will be increased from 3 to 5.46 to provide an enticing program that will add to the community and be financially feasible.

The innovation gateway will be created as the centerpiece of the Olivetti Building, connecting the El clot community to 22@ innovation district. Within the gateway lies an incubator, and a showroom/ edutainment space to educate today’s young innovators about the significance of the preserved building. The historic building will also become the headquarters for Olivetti. Since the site is located on the edge of the innovation district and its key tenant Olivetti once ushered in an age of innovation for Barcelona, the development is designed as a literal and proverbial “Innovation Gateway”.

The spaces will be activated through partnerships and sponsorships with the nearby universities, research facilities and corporate tenants to build an integrated innovation community hub. The public spaces will be activated with rotational programs over the year reflecting local, national and international events to create different vibrant experience for the community and visitors.

In essence Glories #Olivetti aims to build a bustling energetic space that will transform the neighborhood, pay appropriate homage to Olivetti Barcelona; as well as generate attractive returns for investors.

Learn more about the Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize and previous winners.