Can Cadena i Can Esteve

  • LOCATION Esplugues de Llobregat
  • > CLIENT Private
  • YEAR 2019
  • STATUS In process
  • CATEGORY Urban Planning
  • SCALE City
  • TEAM OUA

“Preserving heritage is not incompatible with organised growth of our cities”

Another case in which OUA’s Urban Planning team manages to modify a General Metropolitan Plan in order to recover and rehabilitate the group of masías (iconic rural buildings in Catalonia) of Can Cadena and Can Esteve, in Esplugues de Llobregat. The project gives a second life to two emblematic buildings built in the 18th century that had been occupied and neglected for many years. Núria Noguer, head of OUA’s Urban Planning Department, explains the project to us.

What is the origin of these masías?
Both buildings belong to a much larger group of masías around Esplugues dedicated to crops, which existed until the beginning of 1992. With the application of the General Metropolitan Plan, part of the group of masías was demolished to make way for new buildings and a central square in 2006. In 2016, only Can Esteve and Can Cadena remained, so it was important to protect this heritage.

How is the protection of this heritage ensured?
The project rearranges the space and defines uses that allow the consolidation of both masías and the preservation of the historical memory of the place. Part of this work involves identifying what needs to be recovered, restored, and preserved from what was there; or documenting in order to recover as much of its original state as possible, especially with regards to Can Cadena.

What uses are given to each one?
Due to its representative volumetry and its location, Can Cadena is destined for a new public facility with green space given its location, which marks the boundary between the industrial and office areas concerning the new urban centres and the historic centre of Esplugues. As for Can Esteve, its façade and its initial use have been maintained in the form of dwellings that maintain the typology of ground and first floors houses that already existed in the area.

Which teams were involved in the project?
The Urban Planning team has developed the whole strategy on an urban and project scale to give rise to the reparcelling and proposal of the distribution of the square metres necessary to be able to protect both masías. However, this work has been made possible thanks to the intervention of the Legal team in order to be able to make the relevant modifications and amendments to the General Metropolitan Plan.

What added value does the project bring?
Reinterpreting obsolete planning allows us to propose qualitative improvements that add value to the environment and directly to its users. In this case, the value of the project is the ability to analyse and understand the planning, which allows us to find new ways of making the city in a fairer, more equal and sustainable way. The biggest lesson of the project is that preserving heritage is not incompatible with the organised growth of our cities and municipalities.

How sustainable is an intervention of this kind?
The project – since it preserves and protects the existing heritage – could be considered a rational way of preserving resources since it is not demolished to build again but rehabilitated to give the masías a new life.