If Barcelona is to become a self-sufficient city with productive neighborhoods, its urban industry will play a key role. Torrent Estadella, a centrally located but decadent and disconnected industrial area, provides a unique opportunity for a new green urban industry to crucially contribute to the city’s economic, environmental and social resilience.

From “Rieres” to Green Ramblas: the reconnection to the city

The railway and the river, the historical barriers that cut off the site from the city, are turning into metropolitan parks, allowing the area to be relinked with its surroundings.The site is reconnected to the city by the Green Ramblas, a new concept of urban axis that recovers the original meaning of rambla as “riera”, the intermittent streams that formed the primeval structure of the Barcelona plain. Green Ramblas add to the urban condition of the rambla the ecological rain water management function of the “riera”. Torrent Estadella Street, a former “riera”, becomes the main Green Rambla on the site.

The Green Infrastructure: the productive free space

The streets and free spaces of the area will become a truly Green Infrastructure, energetically self-sufficient and able to close the water cycle on site. The Green Infrastructure has three elements: the Stream Street, the Filtering Rambla and the Farm of Sant Andreu. The Stream Street is a type of Green Rambla that stores rain water for further uses.

The Filtering Rambla is a chain of wetlands that clean the industries’ waste water on site, and the Farm of Sant Andreu is a new model of permeable and open urban agricultural garden that connects the site to the future Sagrera Park.

The New Urban Fabrik: the green industry as city builder

The term New Urban Fabrik proposes to merge two words that have been at odds for too long: “fabrik”, understood as factory, and “fabric”, the urban tissue of the city. This merger is possible thanks to the appearance of new urban manufacturing activities that are clean, sustainable, intensive in added value, largely contribute to the city’s gross domestic product and are perfectly compatible with all the other uses of the city. Torrent Estadella, with its privileged accessibility and centrality, provides a prime opportunity for this New Urban Fabrik to prosper.Many of these new urban manufacturing activities are related to the Green Economy, which Barcelona needs to develop if it wants to cope with its challenges regarding Climate Change.

The development of the Green Economy and its associated green industries, along with the intensive implementation of sustainability strategies, turn the site into the Torrent Estadella Eco-Industrial Park.The clearly urban condition of the area is recognized through a new zoning category, 22u, that allows for more compact industrial building types, like the Silo Building. Local industries can be promoted through BCN Made, an organization and website that supports the new urban industry and puts it in contact with clients and citizens.

Finally, at the center of a well-defined governance framework, the Torrent Estadella Manufacturing Aliance (T.E.M.A.) is an on-the-ground and non-profit management company with the mission of fostering the industry in the area.

Today, a New Urban Fabrik can come to life by turning the green industry into a city builder at the heart of our cities.

credits

architects: Eduard Balcells, Honorata Grzesikowska  |  client: Ajuntament de Barcelona  |  status: Project (2015)  |  location: Barcelona, Spain (41.434503, 2.197317)  |  climate: Temperate, Mediterranean  |  material: undefined  |  environment: Industrial  |  landscape: Factors de Paisatge / Manuel Colominas  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: 300.000 m2 extralarge  |  types: masterplan, public space  |  views: 7.459