Diagonal Mar Park

Construction year: 2002
Address: Carrer de Llull, 350 | BARCELONA | Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 41.4081, 2.21398

The Diagonal Mar Park is situated between Diagonal Avenue And Nova Mar Bella beach in Barcelona. It is in response to the need for an outdoor recreational, relaxing area for the families that live in this new part of Barcelona. The area is the result of the renovation of an industrial zone. More precisely, the park occupies the side of an old metal works factory where they used to built trains, trams, carriages for the metro, and escalators. It is a nearby, accessible park, like the garden or recreational courtyard of any of the houses in the neighborhood. The architects designed the park as a large network of paths that start at a central point and run in all directions of the space, like the branches of a tree. Man’s life path was also a source of inspiration. When the architects visited the place it rained, giving them the thought of using water as the main element throughout. To honor the name, Diagonal Mar, they wanted the water to reach the Diagonal.

The Principles of the Design
Starting at the sea and heading towards the Diagonal are two main axes that act as routes around the park. The first is the main path through the park like a Rambla (boulevard), typical of the city, and which is used by a large number of people. This main path connects Diagonal and the beach, crossing the Ronda Litoral (the periphery road) via a pedestrian bridge situated at the start of the park. This main path also follows the edge of a large lake, which together with the area of trees, are the most characteristic, identifying elements of the park and those that give it its character. On this large surface of water are various fountains and waterfalls, etc. By installing vegetation at the edges, the water is oxygenated, thereby allowing the incorporation of animal life. Also, the placement of this lake, close to the path, transforms it into a place for recreation where lovers of toy boats can freely practice their favorite game. The dominant salt marsh-style vegetation in the lake develops as if it were at sea. The reeds grow in height and density eventually reaching the adjacent streets.

The second main axis is based on the other source of inspiration for the architects: the stages of a man’s life. Man is born from water as the park leaves the beach by the sea. Man’s infancy is then reflected in the children’s recreational play area. Music and fitness equipment occupy this small area. Man, after childhood, reaches adolescence, which in the park takes the form of the area called The Magic Mountain. On this mountain there are various slides installed where children of all ages can join in the fun. To finish, man becomes an adult, socializing and forming relations with other adults, which is reflected in the citizen participation area. For the design of this adult zone, the architects wanted to involve the neighbors by carrying out a process of citizen participation in which more than a thousand people would collaborate. From the many proposals, they finally settled on the amphitheatre and sport areas. Throughout the park are small squares where a series of large clay vases with flowerpot holders join with the vegetation as if it were someone’s back garden. These large vases covered with trencadis (Catalan mosaics) are lithographed with a pop aesthetic and bring color to the whole space.

Barcelona’s First Ecological Park
The Diagonal Mar Park is the first park to apply criteria of sustainable development. In fact it is Barcelona’s first ecological park. This environmental angle can be seen in the use of ground water for watering and the ponds, the use of local species that consume less water and are easily maintained, the intelligent control of the water in the fountains and the lighting, and, finally, the use of sand from the excavations carried out during the construction.

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