Abstraction as a tool
Since modernity cities have been subjected to growth processes; since then they have been studied from a technical and scientific perspective. Abstraction can be understood as a tool that helps to simplify the complexity of what exists and to generate an intentional proposal for a possible urban transformation. The representation is where the abstraction take place. This sequence of drawings exposes a set of representations of the city of Barcelona, showing different types of abstraction that are the result of a certain look related to the time and to the author. The first image is a redraw of the Pla Cerdà (1859): the winning project for the expansion of Barcelona. The three following images are redraws of Pla Macià (1933): a rationalist project that was never built. The last two images are an interpretation of the sequence by the author where the abstraction is more extreme.
The sequence shows the interaction between two different urban morphologies. The first one, that is represented with the same color throughout all drawings, is the preexisting Vila de Gracia urbanization (1855), before the Pla Cerdà growth. This is the result of a spontaneous evolution with a high-density edification, irregular grid, narrow streets and small-scale squares. The second one, that is represented by lines in the second drawing, is the Pla Cerdà grid, that was designed in 1859 in order to expand the city of Barcelona. This, had different characteristics: it was isotropic, regular and with wide and bright streets. The preexisting towns in the plain of Barcelona, like Vila de Gràcia, were reached by the city growth and had to be integrated. The juxtaposition of the two morphologies represented, generated indefinite edges and empty spaces due to the different formal nature. Over time, these empty spaces were filled generating a gradual and natural transition, like the third drawing shows (1933). Finally, the both morphologies were sewn coherently without generating abrupt changes.
Author: Maite Moreno In:
dialogue #15 ‘sequence of abstractions’
Keywords: abstraction, Barcelona, certain look, collage, design, representation, round I, simplify, spontaneous evolution, technical, time, urban transformation