Rediscovering Cerdá's Grid Plan

GRID 2020 Abstracts

Rediscovering Cerdá’s Grid Plan

Arch. Daniel Azerrad
Ariel University's School of Architecture

Session II: Gridded Plans and Architectures
Monday, November 23, 2020 | 12:00-13:00 (Duet B)

The proposed lecture is aimed at a rethinking of the Cerdá’s gridded blocks for Barcelona through tying together two disciplines with which I feel closely affiliated: on the one hand, a history of architectural research on this grid, and on the other, an artistic interpretation of Barcelona's grid through personal sketches, mostly in watercolor. Combined together, architectural history and art cast an innovative and inspiring interpretation on Barcelona's classical grid plan.

The lecture will highlight the urban grid plan as a flexible urban stage that is capable of adapting and reinventing itself time and time again and by its very nature, proposing creative solutions. The openness of thought in our understanding of the implications of the past, the present and the future of the urban grid is, therefore, a prerequisite for enhancing the flexibility of the grid. When studying these matters, the lecture will focus on the urban plan of the Barcelona extension by Catalonian Engineer Ildefonso Cerdá, as well as in the urban manzana (the Spanish term for the basic urban block in the cities of Spain and Latin America) as part of the entire grid plan. When we study the entire Eixample (‘extension’) district, each manzana can be seen as a basic unit that repeats itself and creates the entire urban mosaic. At the same time, this unit can also be seen as the DNA of the grid plan. Therefore, in analyzing the quantitative and qualitative parameters of one block – a study which is open as well to personal interpretation and site-related knowledge through my personal drawings – we are able to better understand the city itself and its essence.