Eixample Block Interiors | Barcelona Bus Turístic

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Eixample Block Interiors

Oases recovered from Cerdà’s urban plan for Barcelona

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Public spaces designed by Cerdà to be gardens where residents could socialise which have been progressively recovered. Even though the majority of the block interiors originally designed in the Cerdà plan ended up being developed, in the late 1980s Barcelona implemented a project to recover new green spaces in the interior of the blocks.

Why visit the block interiors?

The original Cerdà Plan for the Eixample, which was heavily influenced by hygienist theses, sought to reduce the population density of the city and strike a balance between private and public spaces in the construction of the blocks, which would only have buildings on two sides to leave the interior space free for a small garden where the residents could socialise.

Finally, however, rapid population growth and property interests changed the original plan and in the majority of the blocks buildings were constructed on all sides. However, since 1987 Barcelona City Council has been implementing a project to recover the interiors of the blocks as public spaces in order to provide the green zones and leisure areas that were contemplated in the urban layout designed by Cerdà.

Now you will find gardens or public spaces in blocks throughout the Eixample, where you can see the rear of the houses, which often feature galleries or balconies, and enjoy a quiet space in the middle of the city. The most famous ones in the various districts are:

  • Right side of the Eixample: the most recognised ones are Torre de les Aigües, at Carrer de Roger de Llúria, 56 and the Palau Robert gardens at Passeig de Gràcia, 107. In the Jaume Perich gardens, located at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 657, you will find a singular piece of urban furniture, the "Lungo Mare" bench designed by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue.
  • New Left Side of the Eixample: the area has some of the largest interior gardens in the Eixample, such as the Ermessenda de Carcassona gardens at Carrer del Comte d’Urgell, 145-147. The Emma de Barcelona gardens, located at Carrer del Comte Borrell, 157 still have old palm trees from the Germanetes garden.
  • Old Left Side of the Eixample: the area’s oldest gardens are the Cèsar Martinell gardens, opened in 1996 at Carrer de Villarroel, 60, which 10 years later opened a second access on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.
  • Sant Antoni: one of the best gardens in the areas is the Tete Montoliu garden at Carrer de Sepúlveda, 88-92, which pays homage to the sensory world with various textures of paving, plants with multiple colours and the fragrances of its aromatic plants.
  • Sagrada Família: many of the interior gardens in this area were plots previously occupied by factories like Damm, Myrurgia or the Gilabert timber company. One of the best examples is Montserrat Roig gardens, at Carrer del Rosselló, 488.
  • Fort Pienc: an example of how sometimes these spaces can become the nerve centre of an area is Plaça de Fort Pienc, an irregular shaped block interior that is home to the area’s main facilities.

 

How do you get to the block interiors?

You can find block interiors all over the city, but good starting points are the stops on the Red Route and the Blue Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic in the Eixample, like Passeig de Gràcia – La Pedrera, Casa Batlló – Fundació Antoni Tàpies or even Plaça Catalunya, the start and end of the Red and Blue Routes of Barcelona Bus Turístic.

 

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? A surprising block interior that has recently been recovered is an orange tree courtyard that forms part of the facilities of the old Casa de la Misericòrdia, (House of Mercy) in the Old Town. Until 2016 it was the yard of the Labouré school.
  • Local’s tip: Interior courtyards and gardens offer both urban shelter and an intimate vision of everyday life in Barcelona, so you should take the time to visit at least one of them.
  • A must: For urban voyeurs!