Sagrada Familia

  • LOCATION Barcelona
  • > CLIENT Public
  • YEAR 2019
  • STATUS In process
  • CATEGORY Urban Planning
  • SCALE City
  • TEAM OUA & Gamma

“The approval of the plan has been like defining the rules of the game: now all players know how they have to play”

In an article written in 1907, the artist Joan Llimona spoke about the ‘marvellous abnormality’ that the construction of the Temple of Sagrada Familia – in the heart of L’Eixample – had caused, and the need for a special framework to give it a space adapted to its particular characteristics. 112 years later, OUA was commissioned to regulate the urban planning situation of the Temple, a key document to be able to finish the work with all the legal guarantees, but also protecting the specificity of the heritage and ensuring that it fits in its surroundings. OUA’s & Gamma’s architect Mauro Mas, who is in charge of drafting the plan, distils the keys to the project.

What did the approval of this plan entail?
Before the existence of this plan, the lack of connection with the Temple’s surroundings was clear. It was also obvious the lack of definition of its limits. The approval of the plan was like defining the rules of a board game: the game can now begin; all the players know how they have to play.

How is the implementation of the plan noticeable? And who benefits from it?
The plan has allowed improving the unregulated perimeter conditions of the Temple, ensuring the proper functioning of the monument. We have drafted the plan to reduce the saturation of the roads and avoid a massive crowd of people on pavements and accesses so that they are safe and well designed for their intended use and function. The implementation of the plan benefits not only visitors to the monument (around twenty million visitors per year) but also the people who work there and all the residents of the neighbourhood. Moreover, it is one of the first urban pacification studies to be implemented in the city of Barcelona, even before the superblocks, which means a reduction of the environmental impact on the surroundings while facilitating mobility.

What are the realities behind the drafting of the document?
The Temple of La Sagrada Familia has been – almost from the beginning of its construction, and not only from a technical perspective – a modifying element of its environment. The different plans and proposals that happened in the city have considered the presence of the Temple in one way or another. Over the years, this has determined the creation of a series of free spaces around it, which otherwise would remain today, probably built up like the rest of the residential blocks of L’Eixample.
With the drafting of this plan, these actions, which have always been the subject of debate (a debate that is still ongoing today), have found a rigorously documented, studied and regulated framework that has allowed the best possible implementation of the Sagrada Familia in the area where it is located.

What are some of the points included in the plan?
The plan incorporates the plans of the preliminary project of the Temple, which have a normative character without prejudice to the possibility of adjustments that regulate the urban planning regulations, and without prejudice to what is established in the same regulations in relation to the underground floors. It also defines the maximum height of the towers and that the basements may occupy the entire surface of the site, except under the protected elements. The plan foresees a space reservation located on the façade of Marina Street to enable a future direct connection between the Temple plot and the neighbouring metro station. This reservation does not imply the execution of the connection, which in any case will have to be assessed in the future once all the planning forecasts in the Temple area have been executed. The development of the monumental illumination of the Temple is also foreseen.

What reflection/s does the project raise?
A tremendous amount of work has been carried out to understand and explore how mobility affects the area around the Temple and how it is reached by different means of transport. In this way, pacified spaces are generated, and they allow undertaking this large number of pedestrians that are concentrated around the monument while at the same time improving the environment around the neighbourhood.