Eixample: urban excellence in Barcelona 

There’s nothing controversial about professing a love for Barcelona – it’s pretty much the ideal European city, and with the Sonar Festival, it manages to host the only music festival we at Umbrella would ever attend.

But it’s taken this post to crystalise just what’s so special about the place – and that is Eixample, in Catalan the ‘Extension’  – the neighbourhood that was built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. According to Wikipedia:

The Eixample is characterized by long straight streets, a strict grid pattern crossed by wide avenues, and square blocks with chamfered corners (named illes in Catalan, manzanas in Spanish). This was a visionary, pioneering design by Ildefons Cerdà, who considered traffic and transport along with sunlight and ventilation in coming up with his characteristic octagonal blocks, where the streets broaden at every intersection making for greater visibility, better ventilation and (today) some short-stay parking space.

With buildings designed by the likes of Antoni Gaudi and various other visionary architects, the area is a beautiful mix of art and design, architecture and engineering. And that’s without mentioning the is-it-finished-yet? Sagrada Familia church, an outlandishly designed place of worship that should be out of place in such a planned area, yet somehow acts as its beating heart. For Umbrella, though, we’re all about the grids and the beauty of the planned city. When you experience it, it’s no wonder we despise the countryside with such a passion.

Eixample: urban excellence in Barcelona  Comments

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