PLAZA ESPANYA & the Maria Christina Avenue

Nicholas Orthodox Socrates.

Urban Design: Art City Society. 2008

PLAZA ESPANYA & the Maria Christina Avenue

The road up to Plaza Espanya ‘Gran Via de les Courts Catalanes’ has two rows of tress on both sides of each walkway/ each rambla with cars on the both the outer side and inside going in both directions.

Shops, offices, a car showroom and a car park occupy the buildings ground floor, above are offices, with mainly apartments down this street towards Plaza Espanya.

Approaching Plaza Espanya from this rambla, ‘Gran Via de les Courts Catalanes’, it is very exciting. To the left cars are driving to Plaza Espanya, and to the right the cars are coming up from the underpass and also two lanes from this direction but along the main level from the roundabout.

The whole space opens up as it is approached, with the great ancient monument in the middle as a centre piece, in the middle of the roundabout

The monument is so grand – so ancient. It is alive with celebration. There is so much high energy on the ground level as the cars wiz around the roundabout in both directions. The monuments stone, what it is made of, is changing colour – in different areas. Some areas have been cleaned in previous years, making some areas lighter and some areas darker, which gives this monument great character, with different shades makes it very interesting – it is alive, with its own history.

To the right, the grand bullring is being converted into a shopping centre. This is a very big project – such a great idea. This building is being raised off the ground. This building has a very interesting roof.

To the side of this old bullring building is an ultra modern glass extension, under construction. Its appearance is very smooth, with a very strongly curved

façade. It has four tall floors. This building is also raised off its ground, resting on a low roof of a long one-story, pavilion style extension.

Opposite the old bullring/ the new shopping centre, aligned with the up current exit of the underpass, are two very similar buildings, under construction. Situated next to each other adjacent, but rotated 20 degrees towards each other. Their facades are almost identical. Connecting them to one another by a very interesting passage, making this a very interesting work of abstract architecture too.

The ‘Servi Fira’ building, immediately to the left is a metro entrance and exit and across the pavement and cycle path, from here, there is access to the Bicing revolution. Once the street is crossed there is another metro entrance and exit.

Crossing the first street with the bicings parked so neatly in repetition – so beautiful. The cars stop and wait patiently whilst the people cross the street towards the two towers – such a great moment seeing every one look and feel so happy to be living amongst this magnificent space.

The crossing island has two small green areas either side. Both green spaces are the size of two cars each. The space on the left, away from the round about, has small bushes planted there, with a tree in the middle. The other green space, against the roundabout, has just one tree planted in the middle of its grass area. This tree alone looks rather bear and isolated, quite scared from the being so close to the movement of all the traffic. This green area, nearest the roundabout, is finished to a point – similar to a triangle, fitting to shape the road around the roundabout – dividing the incoming traffic’s road from the outgoing.

Now, you arrive on the Plaza Espanya, and the pavement is pink and it is made of tiles, and the tiles have a symmetrical rainbow pattern which is repeated through out. Of course they are still hard like usual tarmac, but there really is a significant difference in its tactile experience. It feels so much lighter to walk on, softer even. There is more freedom here – more space.

The underground Metro has connections with the green line (line 3 ), the red line (line 1 ) and the pink link (line 8). Here, there are also connections with the separate private Catalonia underground system.

Rising up, coming up from the Metro Station is an absolutely fantastic experience. From being in an enclosed space – to a sudden opening onto the brilliant scene and of the movement of energy and the great combination of architecture: ancient, old, modern and super modern.

There are two Metro entrances and exits here, and they are both equally as buisy.

There is a tourist information kiosk box installed in the centre the space, of the first part of Plaza Espanya, in between the two Metro entrances and exists. It is bright orange and bluey/ green with a photo/ an advertisement of the convertible (open top) double-decker tourist sight seeing bus, also layered behind this image is a Joan Miro painterly styled eye.

This tourist information box installed is approximately 3 metres cubed. It has two very helpful and knowledgeable attendants working inside. They help to answer general questions about the city – usually questions about directions of places to go to. When there is a queue – it is always moving at good speed. Raised above this very colourful box is the universal “ i ” symbol – for ‘information’.

By the two Metro entrances and exits there is the instalment of a giant Metro map behind Perspex plastic. The public look up to this map with great respect. Everyone here is so grateful and proud of Barcelona’s wonderful Metro system, which is so easy, relaxed, so clean and open with lots of space and the trains arrive always so regularly – what a great system.

Around the stairs and down to the Metro – the hand rail, the tall pole with the symbolic ‘<M>’ sign, next the large (almost religious) Metro map’s casing (its structure) – are all made` from a very good quality shiny stainless steel

In between the two towers and the two twin buildings next to each other (under construction), exists the ‘Fira’ building. This is an ancient building with many columns, and the very tall spaces in between each of these columns has been converted/ replaced with reflective glass.

As the sunsets the windows of the ‘Fira’ building change colour completely – reflecting the setting sun – it is so awesome.

Now in the vicinity of the huge ‘Fira’ building, (‘Servi Fira’), a huge ancient building.

This ancient building actually appears super modern, with its highly reflective huge and very tall glass panels (its windows) installed in between this huge buildings arch ways and twelve columns (on the Plaza Espanya side) and twenty of them along the “Avinguda del Parel–lel” side.

You walk up six steps onto this ‘Fira’ Buildings plinth – a huge expansive platform.

Here, on this slightly higher platform, it is always a lot less buisy than on the pavement, only metres away.

As well as the two metro station entrance/ exits there is also a major bus stop

The space is so open, such a massive roundabout with six roads turning off from/ leading to it. The cars are coming and going in all directions – always a high energy.

At some points in time the traffic is denser and noisier than at others, because of the traffic lights stopping cars at the ends of joining roads, and at some points half way around the round the roundabout.

The tension builds up completely as a 4 to six lane queue of cars waits there. The lights turn green and the wound up tension releases in a sudden roar of traffic. This is happening at all six entrances and exits to and from the round about.

The roundabout has a lovely grass lawn on which the great monument exists. No one is ever seen on this lawn, on the roundabout, it seems to be a complete no mans land: it is too much in the centre of all the action.

I would like to see people enjoying this lawn: eating their lunch, talking, sitting down, relaxing – right in the middle of this magnificent open space – Plaza Espanya.

On the other side of the twin towers there is an almost identical building to the Fira building, which exists there symmetrically, with the towers in the middle. This building is also a ‘Servi Fira’ building.

This building has two huge banners/ billboard size posters, as advertisements stretching the length of this buildings facade – one on either side. One is pink and the other is blue. These advertisements are very temporary and are likely to be removed, and then changed very soon.

Yes, they are advertisements, and they do obstruct from the general symmetrical beauty of the ancient architecture, but they are very bright and colourful and vibrant, bringing joy and life to a large area. Also they act as juxtapositional parts to a greater compositional whole: the pink in relation to the pinkish brick of the two towers closely to the left – complemented by the two Catalonia and Spanish Flags: yellow and red, flying together, hosted on flag poles on either side of the two towers. With the yellow cased traffic lights dotted around the whole area of the entire square and beyond, some high, some over the road, and some standard height – makes my eyes look around in wonder. The black and yellow taxis, the yellow being the colour of the four doors with a yellow stripe at the back too connects this composition. Also the two very tall cranes either side of the old bull ring building/ the new shopping centre and another yellow one behind it – expands my awareness immensely up to the brilliant aluze blue Mediterranean sky.

Now looking down the road – the windows of the “Catalonia Barcelona Plaza” 4 star hotel, building and its analogue clock, the silvery/ blue “Torre Alianz” building in front of the “Alinaz” red high-tech building and the “Torre Nunez Navarro” building in the distance, are all almost translucent against the silvery high energy sky. So is tnew glass extension on the side of the old bull ring/ new shopping centre, and so is the highly reflective glass panels installed in the arch ways of the two ancient buildings bothoccupied by the ‘Servi Fira’ company, symmetrically situated perfectly either side of the two red twin towers.

The tarmac is a neutral colour and the very red metro signs and further human size, (six foot) advertisements, now red and green, though constantly changing every month.

All these colours are all acting together to create this wonderful composition of Plaza Espanya. And all the cars: coming and going – a greater harmony. It is so ordered. It is so harmonious.

The occasional bright orange convertible sight-seeing bus, or a super modern purple travelling tour coach – such wonderful visual surprises. The common colours of regular cars are reflective white and black. The extended red public bus are regularly passing by.

The brick work of the two towers, the primary school on the ‘Gran Via de les Courts Catalanes’ situated in between the far ‘Fira’ building and the “Catalonia Barcelona Plaza” 4 star hotel, and the old bullring are all aligned sacredly in a perfect equilateral triangle. And the high-tech red reflective glass of the very tall ‘Allianz’ building is aligned with the two towers, and the great Maria Christina Avenue. This Red high-tech building extends the awareness, drawing it further down street: “Carrer Tarragona”

On the street; “Carrer Tarragona”, at the far end of the Joan Miro Park, by his huge and colourful ceramic sculpture, which exists in a concrete pool, which in the summer time is surrounded by water. It is placed in the far corner of the park, by the road. The park, which I divided, half with grass and half with a paved area. This great sculpture is in the area of the huge expansive paved space – a very large area, with exotic palm trees on the far border, in the background.

Now, from here looking towards Plaza Espanya – the paved park extends – turning into a grass area. This grass area is not as wide as the paved area, but is slightly longer. The grass area is approximately the size of a football pitch. At the end of this park – is the gigantic old bullring/ the new shopping centre – under construction. Immediately to the left is its new glass extension. Both their facades are curved convexly outwards.

This shopping centre will really change this area – quite significantly. There are so many offices in this area. Here, in this area, it is so buisy, especially in the mornings as people commute to work. Plaza Espanya is the main Metro link to a lot of these prestigious offices in this area.

On this street, “Carrer Tarragona”, the majority of the buildings are in fact offices, with four supermodern high-rise offices buildings. There are council flats/ states apartments, on this road, behind the park – and residential units, for one block above the shops and ground floor offices.

This street, with four lanes going both ways, is very buisy with cars, leading to and from the roundabout at Plaza Espanya.

Apart from the four very small outdoor cafes on the second level of the Maria Christina Avenue, and the very small café on the ground floor next to the “Catalonia Barcelona Plaza” 4 star hotel – there really is not enough places for the workers of all these offices to get out and sit down to enjoy there break at lunch time, or for the tourists/ the holiday makers or the local citizens wanting to enjoy the Plaza Espanya area to sit down for refreshments and to relax.

The opening of the new shopping centre will definitely, without doubt, completely revolutionalise this entire area. This shopping centre will be so buisy.

The visitors of the Plaza Espanya and the Maria Christina Avenue, will be drawn towards the new shopping centres facilities. Acting as a complete change in environments, a break from one another, therefore time for reflection, and then maybe the opportunity to rest and then re-visit. This process will happen both ways: people using the shopping centre, will be inclined also to explore the Maria Christina Avenue, even more. These two spaces: the Maria Christina Avenue/ Plaza Espanya and the new shopping centre will create a very strong, very exciting synergy.

The shape and size of the old bullring/ the new shopping centre is magnificent – it is so grand. Its original structure preserved completely intact. This will become an iconic building in Barcelona and in Spain, and also a great example for restoration and regeneration for the entire world of architecture.

Leading to Plaza Espanya from ‘Carrer de la Creu Coberta’ is a buisy road. There are no offices on this road. There are shops on the ground floor, with apartments above them – all the way down.

From the other side of the road: ‘Gran Via de les Courts Catalanes’ is yet another magnificent approach to Plaza Espanya. This street is very wide, with four lanes on both sides going in both directions. There is an entrance only to an underpass, going under the roundabout, which re-emerges on the other side.

Mainly this street consists of big blocks of residential apartments on both sides with lot of cafes and restaurants and with the odd pharmacy and newsagent on their ground floor – at street level. There is also the large 4 star: ‘Ayre Hotel’.

Up from here toward Plaza Espanya, on its same side is the side of the right ‘Fira’ building. This side, unlike its almost identical twin symmetrically on the other sides’, facade, has no columns and it has no highly reflective tall glass panels. It is quite a bear huge wall, as it is situated quite close to the main road.

On this street, ‘Gran Via de les Courts Catalanes’ looking up towards Plaza Espanya – it really is quite an awesome view from here: with the two towers on the right, then the other ‘Fira’ building with its fifteen very tall reflective glass panels in between its columns. The general feel to this

entrance, approaching this opening is tremendous. From here it is possible to look right down both roads: the other side of, “Gran Via de les Courts Catalanes”, which continues straight across after the round about, and “Avinguda Paral-lel”, with the twin buildings, under construction, in the middle, separating the two roads – with the vast sky above, such a wonderful open space. With the magnificent monument in the middle, then the huge old bullring/ the new shopping centre to the left, then the “Catalonia Barcelona Plaza” 4 star hotel coming into view – the whole thing: what an amazing composition.

The Primary school: a fenced off area – the playground – where lots of young children are playing basketball and football. This school is on the corner, with such a great views of the entire Plaza Espanya area – what a great position for a school for young children. There really is such great energy here: the children playing, the cars moving past in all direction, the incredible architecture – what a great variety.

The building of the “Catalonia Barcelona Plaza” 4 star hotels’ façade is very modern, with many windows and its huge analogue clock.

There is a very small café to the right – in the same building overlooking the roundabout, Plaza Espanya, and down the Maria Christina Avenue.

Approaching Plaza Espanya from ‘Avinguda de Paral-lel’, the great opening comes as quite a surprise as it only opens up completely once the corner is turned past the side wing if the ‘Fira’ building. This side wing does have columns and does have the very tall highly reflective glass window panels’ in between each column.

This street apart from this ancient building has mainly shops, banks, and cafes on the ground floors with residential apartments on the floors above. There are two very large office buildings on the right hand side of this road towards Plaza Espanya including one which is brightly coloured yellow and the other being the company; ‘Once’, which exists on the corner, of two roads going off from this street, with its entire façade glazed – almost translucent. Plus the new twin office buildings under construction over looking the Plaza Espanya.

Sitting down in the shade watching the people enjoying this wonderful space is a great pleasure. It is great to get out of the small enclosures within the city centre. Here I feel good. Here I am experiencing a great sense of freedom.

The actual official Plaza Espanya – its surface area is rather small – it is the paved area either side of the two towers, in front of the two very large ancient ‘Fira’ buildings, with their very tall, highly reflective glass installed in between each column. These columns and these glass panels are magnificent – they are amazing. – how they reflect, so clearly, the square, the surrounding area and the sky. From a distance the reflection appears abstract, close up the panels mirror precisely.

Both areas are divided by the road heading up: the Avenue of Maria Christina, in between the two towers. Both areas together are no bigger than a professional football pitch. However, the entire place is massive. My personal sense of awareness is outstretched way past the roundabout, with Mount Tibidabo as the backdrop. Here, the sky is so big, so open. There is so much space.

There is so much free space here, allowing me to stand around and breathe in the place and to write this. Here there really is no need to be rushed about by the ever faster comings and goings of the hectic hustle and bustle of what has become normal city life.

Here, people are really taking it easy: standing around, thinking, looking, feeling the atmosphere, the environment. People are walking around or passing through slowly together, sitting relaxing on the steps of the ‘Servi Fira’ building, by the two towers – in the shade or bathing in the sun.

People here, come and go and walk contently down the stairs into the metro.

Maria Christina Avenue

As the corner is turned onto the Maria Christina Avenue – it is absolutely amazing. This is a true scene of beauty. ‘What a picture’. It is so beautiful. The whole scene – it is perfect. “The National Museum of Art of Catalunya” in the background raised up, looks like a temple or a majestic castle. Perfectly symmetrical, with perfect form.

Its flesh coloured skin with the green trees and grass lining the outside of each side of both outer pathway going forward to the castle – up to its centre. These side pathways are so grand.

Everyone is drawn along the pathway towards the castle absolutely amazed by its magnificence. It proudly radiates dignity and accomplishment, with a sense of honour and integrity.

This castle in the sky is a great source of inspiration for us all.

The walkway is amazing – its Victorian street lights lining the inside of both outer pathways. There are so many lights along this pathway.

The colour of these streetlights white glass and the black metal casing line and point the way to the castle by day and by night the lights illuminate the way.

As the sunsets the lights come on – it really is very romantic. The pavement is made of very large slabs, of a very smooth and shiny stone – reflecting the lights brightly all the way along this level.

Very tall bushy trees on both sides lthe facades of both ‘Fira’ buildThe side façade of these two buildinalso have very tall highly reflectivglawss panels installed in betweecolumns. An original though was thatthe trees are blocking and hiding thesemirrors. But the trees exist here for the

benefit of the greater composition of the magnificence of this walkway.


the towers – there is a huge plinth, actually bigger, than the base of the towers. This plinth is made of a clean whitish/ light grey/ cream stone. It is around twelve foot tall – the size of a buNow, on top of these plinths are five huge balls, where flag-poles are concreted into them – three flags are flying here: The flag of Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain.


benches and bushes – two benches then two bushes. This pattern is repeated all the way to the end of this level – to the escalators. The two bushes are the size of one bench and they are just below shoulder height, when sitting down.


Steps lead up to the wide double glass door entrance. There is also an adjacent side ramp.


large entrance in line with the zebra crossing coming out, at righangles on the Maria Christina Avenue; is the opening to the ‘Servi very grand, also symmetrical. It looks like an army marchin


buildings main side entrance, which is on the side a-joining the left outer walkway: there are three significant objects. Most blatantly is the giganticbillboard type welcome sign. The sign its self is 15 metres wide and 2metre high. It is raised above the ground by two ridiculously strongthink and heavy steel strut columns,approximately 9 metres above the ground to allow for trucks and vansdrive, left off the central avenue, across the outer walkway, underneatthe sign to enter the ‘Fira’ court yard.


aluminous green and bright blue.


above the flagpoles, it even rises above the buildings themselves. This remarkable instalmentso brave. Just looking at it – its height, is enough to give anyone the metaphysical gollie-i Fira’ building is also very grand. Fira’ expansive court yard. It

wobbels. Now, on this signpost just below eye level is a very ordinary, very simple map. map of this first level of the Maria Christina Avenue. The map is very colourful and when looked at closely it is actually three-dimensional. To the side of this very lanky sign-post isattached a not so elegant six foot information board laminated in Perspex. The actual signpoa neutral grey colour – similar to the tarmac. It is made from matt steel. It does still shine a little – it is a silvery grey. Half way up the post to its top is large numbers labelled in different colours – it is a key relating to the map. From here ones awareness is immediately relates to an almost identical replica, sign post, match – pasted at a similar height on the side of the ‘Fira’ building’s façade – inside the court yard – the two match up. Also on the adjacent wing, of the court yard, at the same height is just pasted only the number three, which is of generic text and size to the other sign posts. There are also several other of these sign post, on both sides, which are discovered as one walks the avenue. People looking for the way to certain buildings can lthe key provided to the side of the main posts – to reference it in real life. People seem to walk past these sign-posts. They seem to be either unconsc

so sleek and sexy it just fits in, or the people choosing other-than-consciously to ignore it – they have seen enough – over whelmed. Henceforth this instalment is a living embodiment of a miraculous integrated phenomena.


and the cars parked on both sides of the middle walk way. These cars parked all the way along this main central road exist in harmony with the avenue and add to the flow of this spaces perspective composition – its walkway – leading us gently up to the castle, which by mid-dappears hazy, almost a complete silluette, in the distance. The sun beaming from above and behind the museum


road running through the two towers, which turns left and right at the end of the first level of thewalkways – going underneath both escalators, in both directions – street “Avenue Rius i Taulet”


exhibitions, Also this Level of the avenue accommodates the stand finish of city races, such as the Marcee 10kmrun (the mini marathon), where thousands of very keen sports enthusiasts congregate on this mainavenues’ adjacent road, “Avenue Rius i Taulet” to start their race. The main avenue is the finisand after running the selected city circuit, thtowers are strong points oavenue, but from the towers to the finish line is such a great final stretch. It really is such a joyous occasion. Every one is there – crowed out the two outer walkways of this avenue – eference, an end goal. The finish line is actually half way up the

watching the runners finishing their race, realising their goal, reaching the final destination.There is lots of cheering and support. There are massive celebration banners and large inflataadvertisements. Also there is a huge overhead digital clock counting the minutes and seconds past since the starting whistle. All this great celebration going on plus the fountain, which separates the both outer pathways from the inner middle main central avenue/ road/ runningtrack. These separating strips have two metres of grass either side of the fountains, which hastiny fence 15cm high.


after the other – all as one, though staggered, going all the way up the first walkway up to thfirst escalators,. The size of the fountains is generic for the entire instalment of this first lIt is this giant double-decker bus size, which give this place such great power


set of escalators at night is lit up very romantically by the many sets street lawhich line the inner of both outer walkways.pavement of this area is made of very large smoothand like a sea of colour. The monument in the middle is lit up with floodlights and also has several sepia lamps shining on it, which gives this monument a variety of tones, which is alssimilar to its nature during the day, with its different tones due to areas which are dirty and cleaner than of others.


Christina Avenue, has five flag-poles – with three flags, the Barcelona, Catalonia and Spaflying in front of this building. The majority of this building facade is made of highly reflective,darkened black, square panels. Reflecting the walkway from the side like a mirror. Its entrance isframed with steel rectangle panels, in landscape format. Two of these rectangular panels are the size of one square of the darkened black reflective glass – to its side and above. Seven steps leads up to this buildings grand double glass door entrance. This – through entrance means its verylarge open reception area inside cabe seen from the walkway outsiThis entrance has an adjacenramp.


de Barcelona” building there is another incredibly tall walk up to it from it side, which is a strong red – all the wup and at the top is the number 5 in white. It is brilliant. It is so tall it rises above its neighbouring

building, pointing up to the sky. It is also taller than the flag-poles just before it. The three Barcelona, Catalunia and Spanish flags flying in the wind – the entire composition is perfect analive. This red strip – the sign post – aesthetically is a red very thin rectangle – collaged upon this multilayered, multi-functional space – this avenue, the city. Like an instalment of abstract aramongst the modern, supermodern and ancient architecture this instalment does fit in – it addcompletely to the composition, similar to a Kadinsky image. The sign-post is a form. It is nature – it is how it has evolved. It is a product of man. It too exits here amongst us – not trying to represent nature, but existing in harmony with it

As the post itself is passed by – its side, it is made of matt steel similar to the building behind it and similar to the escalator circuit approaching.

The road in the middle of the Maria Christina Avenue, which stretches the entire length of the first level adjoining the roundabout, going in between the two towers. It is very wide – it has four active lanes – two going in either direction, with lot of space to have a line of cars parked very safely on both sides.

At the top of the top of the avenue, in line with both lines of parked cars, on either side, are two passageways going underground for parking. The ramp on the right is for the cars going down and the ramp on the left is for the cars ascending to street level. These ramps are in line with/ adjacent to the start of the escalators. The ramps are very discreet. They are in line with the lines of parked cars, though with a 20 metre space of no parking marked on the tarmac road, after the zebra crossing: allowing the cars coming off/ onto the road plenty of space and time to manoeuvre.

Approaching the escalators really is such a fantastic and joyous occasion. It is very unusual and for me the first time I have ever seen electric escalators outside – “what happens if it rains?” I thought. The designers thought of this too – and it is fine.

Now, there are two escalators next to each other, on both walkways, on either side of the central avenue, one is going up and the other coming down – on both sides.

The escalators are so clean and shiny – reflecting the sunlight so well.

On the outside of both sets of escalators is a huge wall separating the escalators from the set of regular outdoor steel steps on the outer sides. These stairs exist here for preference and in case of a breakdown or an emergency.

This large wall, coming out, is not like any ordinary wall. It is also so grand – it is so thick, so strong, made out of concrete. It is matt grey and exits as another shade of grey to the adjoining, adjacent pavement, escalators and to the surrounding architecture.

The surrounding architecture too is so solid – so strong – composed of very large, cubist like, basic abstract shapes. Like the shape of this huge p


the future – ascending into the new world. If no one is on the escalators they are moving very very slowly. As soon as the first person steps othe speed increases



This road going off in both directions, is very wide, having five car lanes, a line of parked cars and two large sidewalks – one on either side


any other supporting structure. The walkway is verysleek. Standing on one platform looking across to its identical twin on the other side. Its side made out of see-through glass, waist high, with a shiny steel hand-rail. It hovers over the road raised up at thesame height as the tops of the tree trunks. It feels great crossing the road from up her

the road. Feeling totally safe from the traffic, and it is very exciting to watch the car pass by underneath


Maria Christina Avenue and its surrounding modern architecture, the two towers, with the city skyline in the background.

see the symmetrical structure of the avenue – being ableto see both outer walkways from a 45 degrees angle, at the beginning of the platform to a 25 degrees angle by the end.


level with fluesant tube lights 50cm wide, installed beneath – half way across, centring, the 100cm gl all the way along this walkway. They allow the traveller, the public to have a complete view, being raised up looking across and looking down with absolutelyobstruction in the way. The entire road beneath can bseen. From here it is also possible to see the other walkways’ passengers (the peoples’) legs and feet walking along. Up here is at the height of the tops ostreet-lights. Along these walkways there is only one street-light on either side and it is amazing and unusuato be walking in the sky being at the same height to the street-light. Really this is quite a unique experience. Thewalk this space.


sign on its roof, “Catalunia” is lit up in white, and to theleft in the sky is the electric blue ‘Sony’ sign in the skyline. side panels. These glass side panels exisre is a kind of floating sensation as you

At the end of the platforms, they open up to a very wide set of stairs descending to the ground level of the next level. These steps, which aren’t steep at all, lead onto the opening of a new area, with trees planted immediately on the outer side with tables and chairs intermixed

In the centre of this huge square is an absolutely huge round structure placed on a marvellously deigned shaped grass plinth. This structure is a fountain. It is the magic fountain. It becomes alive at nights on the weekends and on special occasions.

To the right, at right angles to the avenue, in between the two cafes, there are two sets of the double lines of trees – through here, is a very large open public space – a large grass open area – the size of a football pitch, where there are children playing happily.

At the start of this grass area is an inverted area, dug down, concreted – maybe a pool in the summer time. Not in its centre, but in its corner is an iron sculpture, which extends to the sky. This sculpture is rooted in a concrete plinth.

At the far end of this grass area – facing the Magic Fountain – is the perfectly designed “Mies van der Rohe Pavilion”. The length of this building façade, of this one story building, therefore its entire body is made from glass, which even today stands out as an iconic architectural modern masterpiece.

Sitting outside one of the outdoor cafes next to the dormant Magic Fountain. Here it is so cool. It is absolutely fantastic. It is mid-November and the sun is shinning and it is hot. Everyone is sitting out side enjoying the weather, enjoying the space.

As well as the cafés’ stainless steel tables and chairs there are also public benches and public single chairs, fixed to the ground, (unique to Spain). In this café area there are approximately ten trees medium size trees, dotted about amongst the tables and chairs. The café, which is a cubiod kiosk, the same shape and size as a regular bus. The café is half kitchen area and half service area, where the shutters open upward. When the café is closed, with shutters down, it is therefore neatly compacted. QuickTime™ and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressorare needed to see this picture.

shape as the café next door, its facade is glass abstracted with shapes, so therefore not totally sethrough. This glass is in front of where the doors to each toilet opens. Inside they are also very clean and functional.


directly opposite. And there is also another one, the same, on the other side of the main walkwayAnd also opposite this one there too is another café generically the same. So, there is the same style café on each corner of the Magic Fountain Area. Each café is playing good music – loud enough for everyone sitting in its individual area to hear, also the passers by walking along the walkway, around the fountain, to hear. But quienough so that the other tunes the other cafes are playing are not over lapping/ inter mixing.


corner, particularly describing and outlining path/ road, where cars are parked, going off at right angles, back away from the main walkwayThis is the case on all four corners.


other direction) – towards the two towers, from sight, with the platform raised up by steps; the platform level exists at eye level – extending down the main Maria Christina Avenue.

level) represents the whole (PlazEspanya and the Maria Christina Avenue) – in the way that it is symmetrical – symmetrical in aways: horizontally, vertically and from above – Mandala-like.


much I appreciate you being here. Looking into your green water – it so calming and still – just like a natural pond. Its structure is s

wonderful – so grand. It is the sculptural embodiment of a Perhout ever seeing this fountain in action – everyone knows that this fountain is the real thing. This is an architectural masterpieThis sculptural element of public art is definitely site specific.


feet in the air, dancing at different heights at varying times and speeds, from all its levels. Truly alive – it’s fantastic. All this – synchronised with instrumental musical celebratory masterpieces, rug. Mandala-like symmetry. This is a serious fountain. Wi

synced with a very high tech and very visually affective light display. The whole place comes alive. Sincerely, this is the most fantastic installation of public art I have ever seen.

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wide, very grand stone steps, on both sides of what appears at first sight to be a small garden pond, which is very calm.

rising up, in the inner side, in harmony with the steps. Theseand the garden are in fact a part of the fountain network. The twelve large pots rising up with the stairs,on both inner sides, with one gigantic one at the top, raised a plinth. These all shoot water up in tis on.


wonderful space, with so much room to think. On either sidesthis expansive space there are two more buildings dedicated to the ‘Servi Fira’ company. From here the Museum at the

up. Its presence is felt, and it is so strong. There is another level of fifteen steep to cli

three sets of five. They are very easy to walk up and these stepetre wide, stretching the entire width of the centre of the avenue with no fountain in the middle – it is such a grand opening, makes this experience of being here so pleasurable. On either side of these steps is a sloping grass lawn,

with a small open green space at the front, with bushes planted at the back. On the outer side of tgrass areas there is a tarmac gently sloping road/ ramp, on either side, for car and trucks, and wheelchair access. There is no escalators here – there is are so wide, approximately 25 mQuickTime™ and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressorare needed to see this picture.

At the top of these stairs on either side there is a white stone, well made, statue,

than human size. On either side it is the same lady/ same model, but in different sitting postures.


close, its presence is felt so strong. On either side of this area there are very big, very high, very grand – solid stone steps on either side – in between these, directly in front – in the middle is a large part of the fountain, in three levels separated horizontally, which the water flows down. Oeither side of this fountain area, are large bushes planted going up. On their outside, there are three giant steps, there are fourteen of them. The first one is at shoulder height, and then up from there they are at waist height – thesesteps are too a part of the fountain network, and similar to the much smaller flower pot fountains on the ascent of the major previoulevel, these too shoot the water up in the air – at a higher height. The fountain in the

curved out to us. The majority of the timfountain remains dormant/ inactive – it resides as magnificent sculptural archite


entire Maria Christina Avenue is like a huge plsky. This is particularly noticeable from this level – the stairs, the fountain – all a part of it – raising the castle up as its’ thrown. With the castle at the top as the crown – it is magnificent.


major previous level there is only one on each side – it is not a double escalator like on the filevel. The escalator on the left is descending and the escalator on the right is ascending. Planted on both sides of both escalators are very tall bushes, which are regularly trimmed to be vertical cuboid shaped – existing in harmony with the giant ascending fountain steps.


sides. There are steep steps on the right hand side going up to the botanical gardens, and on the other side there are steps going down to a road where there is also a little park where many people are practicing Tai Chi along to classical music. There is a large pond-like fountain in the middle agains

side. These steps are very grand and they zig-zag upwards. Going up the steps, there are lots of trees all around. There are not escalators in this immediate area, like on previous levels. On this level the escalators have been installed out of the way – around 30 metres out to each side. This is due to the nature of the geography of the cliff and trees in the middle. As the steps zig-zag upwards it gives me a chance to view the amazing v

steps turn inwards – it is so beautiful.


Catalunya’ – the view from here is absolutely amazing. The word ‘amazing’ means ‘out of the maze’ – raised above the maze, it is possible to see the way out. From up here a great perspectivinth raising this magnificent building up in the

of life is experienced. From here it is the best view in the city. The Maria Christina Avenue is so symmetrical – so centred, so ordered, with so much integrity.

From here it is possible to see the entire landscape and the growth of the city – how the buildings have stretched in the three directions, from this point, out to the mountains.

There are so many buildings, and they are all different, the roof tops are extremely interesting – it is so beautiful – there is so much life, energy and colour – it is so amazing.

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