jueves, 25 de abril de 2013

Added floors in the Eixample

I often say that this blog not only talks about the things I like from Barcelona, but also those other things that may seem ugly, uncomfortable or even disgusting.

And a good example of something really Barcelonian and really ugly are the added floors that have been built on many buildings of the Eixample. I know we have not been particularly careful to Cerdà's plan as it was conceived, and that for a time many people tried to take full advantage of a ground that was considered wasted. So, taking advantage of the improving building techniques and of their cheaper costs, and with the necessary collaboration of political powers, many homeowners and builders decided to gain two, three, four and even five floors, as the building showed on the picture above.

It is virtually impossible to restore the building as it was originally, because the people living on this floors do it in a completely legal way, so we must get used to the added floors. If at least they were made with good taste!

martes, 16 de abril de 2013

Encants Vells market

It had been a while since I had last been around the market of Fira de Bellcaire, also known as the Encants Vells market, and I have to admit I was surprised by its vitality, especially considering it was a weekday morning. The market was full of visitors, buyers, onlookers and vendors. I have to say, though, that the idea I had in my mind was slightly more romantic than  what I found there.
Anyway, the point is that the market of Encants Vells is still as alive as ever, and the idea is to continue this way when the new Encants Nous is open during this year. This new market will have doubled the area of ​​the fair and will facilitate the access to traders and visitors, and the loading and unloading of goods.
Anyway, the Fira de Bellcaire, which is held since the fourteenth century, is one of the oldest markets in Europe, so there are few things that can be considered more "Barcelonian". 
And by the way...who does not have or had any object from Encants Vells? I remember I bught a foam mattress a few years ago, and for the record, I still have it. I do not intend to change it: when I have guests who sleep at home on it they tell me that it is extremely comfortable!

martes, 9 de abril de 2013

Skaters at MACBA

Acording to what I have heard, the ideal city for skateboarders would be one with good weather and long hours of sunshine, compact, with a some slope and many items of urban furniture. Does this description sound familiar?
In this great city for the skaters, the perfect square would be quite broad, in order to move freely in it, but also with slopes, stairs, railings, curbs and benches. Oh, and if it is possible, also with a prominent architectural element to make good pictures!
Clearly, the skaters dreams have come true in the Plaça dels Angels of Barcelona, which is located next to the MACBA (Museu d'Art Contemporani - Contemporary Art Museum), to the point that it has become a meeting point and a world reference for skating enthusiasts.
Besides the coexistence problems that may have arisen due to the presence of the skaters, they have clearly transformed the square into a unique one, different from the rest, with its own character. And that's the point, right?

jueves, 4 de abril de 2013

Besos thermic power plant

Some days ago I was walking along the Besòs river Park, a restored space of nature and leisure, at the mouth of the river.
When you walk through that area you can't avoid noticing the presence of the power station, with its three tall smokestacks. Although the station is not in the municipality of Barcelona, it is clear that its uniqueness and visual power are a milestone in the northern coastal landscape of the city, from the moment it was built in the 70s. Three smokestacks 200 meters high don't go easily unnoticed.
The plant has been controversial since its inception as it is still today, although it is under partial demolition. Its construction generated many protests, which actually caused one death. During the decades of operation, the plant generated black rains in the municipalities of Sant Adrià and Badalona, that made cars and clothes dirty. In 2008, when its closure was approved, people from Sant Adrià decided in a referendum to keep the three chimneys of the plant as a symbol of identity of the city, although participation in the vote was very low.
Theoretically the plant must be used to host a public facility, but its future is very uncertain right now, partly due to lack of funding, and there are many voices saying that the smokestacks should be demolished and the landscape restored as natural as possible. What do you think about it?