Transformation of the port's free zone into a mixed uses neighborhood.

Thesis project in architecture at ENSA Paris Val de Seine, in the prospective and architecture studio. This urban project focuses on the transformation of the free zone of the port of Barcelona.



On the new Plaça de les aigues, peoples are training to do castells for the Sant Joan event

metro map of Barcelona with the new connections (in red) that connects the city center to the airport through the new district.

4 steps : building the metro, setting up the grid, defining rules, drawing the waterfront promenade

This project seeks to be part of a broader prospective reflection on the possible links between port and urban infrastructures.


In 2011, the port's Barcelona free zone has been the place for an international competition to transform this area into an urban district. This project is an alternative proposal that aims to maintain the short sea shipping activity, a sustainable alternative to the road transport of goods and passengers.


It is thus a question of considering infrastructures as structuring elements of this area and turn them into something useful into the whole urban mobility system. A mixed use tracks could support both people and goods transit.


The exceptional panorama of the sea and the hills is an important value in this place.  The double bridge proposed in the project could become an interesting urban signal.


The port is shaped by infrastructures. The short sea shipping activity can allow a great mix of port and urban activities in the same place. A ro-ro terminal and two sea-rail transshipment terminals can be integrated into the project. For safety reasons, this sea-rail transshipment terminals are located above the water. 

Currently, the city of Barcelona is completing the construction of two new subway lines that cross the city from north to south via the western districts (Saria, San Gervasi, zona universitaria ...). Although they are very closed to the city center, the southern part of the city are poorly connected to the airport by public transport. This is why the redevelopment of the free zone is seen in this project as an opportunity to develop a large transport infrastructure for both the city and commercial activities.

The free zone is a compressed site between the hill of Montjuic on the one hand and the sea on the other hand. The plan is composed of 15m wide stripes, strewn regularly of access to the waterfront.


Two main streets structure the overall plan:

- A main boulevard, where is built the bridge which supports the transport of the goods and the new metro.

- A lively coastal promenade of public spaces ensures soft mobility. This park redraws the coastline geography and provides port facilities for small private boats.


The land use strategy put in place is flexible and adaptable over time. It allows the acquisition of the lands of a width defined by the grid, but whose length can adapt to the needs.


On plots of 15 m wide, several types of organization in islands or small bars are allowed, but their location is not pre-established in the initial organizational plan. It can therefore adapt and evolve in the time of construction of the new district.


One of the first wishes is to deal with a certain porosity of the plan. Thus, the organization of this plot system is always oriented to the coastal promenade and the waterfront. 


The first possible typology is row buildings. The outdoor spaces are extremely porous. Second one is composed by small open islands that may allow to build larger programs. The last one is a typology of large blocks that allow generous courtyards.

possible typology of the grid