This study forms part of a general project for the rehabilitation of the Rec Comtal, recovering the route of one of the city of Barcelona’s most important hydraulic structures, through a series of interventions in the adjacent public space.
The construction of the Rec Comtal had begun by the 11th century. It was a large canal with water captured from a sluice on the River Besòs, which maintained the base of a Roman aqueduct. Mainly used to generate hydropower (mills) and for irrigation, with the subsequent growth of the city the water from the canal was used for leather-related craft activities and textile production. The Rec is therefore a key element to understand Barcelona’s economic and social development up to the 20th century.
The section to which the project refers is located in the Nou Barris district, between the Vallbona and Trinitat Vella neighbourhoods. This section of the Rec, situated on the outskirts of the city, has unique characteristics which clearly differentiate it from other more urban sections. The main feature is that it has maintained its original function as an irrigation canal which conveys water on the surface and maintains landscape elements originally linked to the Rec Comtal.
Based on an analysis of the area of intervention, we detected the need to integrate, in the best possible way, the future public space of the Rec within a complicated urban situation. The new public path all along the canal’s route will create connections and will end up longitudinally connecting the urban centres of Vallbona and Ciutat Meridiana with Trinitat Vella, Sant Andreuand the city centre, which are at present disconnected due to abandoned areas between roads, the railway line and the market gardens of Ponderosa.
At the same time, the project envisages the promotion of transversal axes, on both an urban and a metropolitan scale, such as the Torrent Tapioles, the Ronda Verda, neighbourhood civic areas and heritage routes, allowing the area of action to be expanded, reconstructing a fractured and boxed-in area, and transversally reconnecting the city, landscape and heritage.
From a landscape perspective, understanding the Rec as a biological corridor will make it possible to restore the lost ecological connections between the different surrounding natural habitats (Sierra de Collserola, Sierra de Marina, Besòs Riverside Park). This reinforces a green axis which will link the sea and the mountain through the city and, over time, will promote transfers and exchanges between primary (agricultural) and mature habitats.
Therefore, in order to inject life into this ecological corridor, it is proposed to create a green strip which follows the route of the Camino del Rec to act as an intermediate ecological area or ecotone, permitting greater transversal permeability of the habitats, both in the longitudinal and the transversal direction, and generating a new landscape in movement, adaptable over time.
Authors: Valentin Kokudev, Balbina Mateo, Andrés Lupiáñez and Marcos Ruiz de Clavijo.
... to be continued