European competition for the Canyelles neighborhood in Barcelona

Proposal Winner of the European Competition in Barcelona with the slogan, “In Flow”

Nou Barris’ tight-knit fabric and communal aspects advocate for the dignity of the  territory and its people. This cultural heritage of the community led to the creation of many facilities and infrastructures, signifying important improvements in the urban and social conditions of the neighborhood. This project shines a light on the neighbors of Nou Barris as a seed to begin the process of urban healing. The prime geographic condition of Canyelles and Roquetes, on the border between Collserola and Barcelona, poses a strategy based on strengthening the reconnection between the city and its territory both in the peri-urban context and its natural terrain that lies beneath the city, it fosters the closing of material cycles, and it generates a biological interchange with other neighborhoods of the city.

The recently recovered water basin  of the old Canyelles Stream now drives runoff water into Avenida Meridiana, one of the most used and polluted river arteries in Barcelona, which will be restored as early as 2019. With the stored water from the basin, it ensures the irrigation of all eligible community gardens and all of the landscaped areas in section three of the Meridiana. In the second phase, the channel extends until the Besós.  River, therefore closing the water cycle . Recovering the Canyelles Stream and the biological crossing results in 19,680m2 of permeable green space with a variety of vegetation and tree species that will contribute to reducing environmental pollution and generating new resources for the neighborhood. The gardens encourage the community between the two neighborhood schools by including them as part of their educational program.

The project is modeled after  a healthy and productive city formed from existing resources with energy self-sufficiency and minimal ecological impact on construction systems. “Production” is defined in the broadest sense of the word: food, energy, well-being, culture, craftsmanship, and reflection. The idea of permeability is encouraged at all scales in order to build connections between the built city and the territory it sits on: the permeability of the soil and territory, the permeability of the residential complex in order to minimize the energy demands of housing, and the permeability of the neighborhood as it is meant to be an intermediate space between the city and the environment. The insertion of social housing and non-residential areas is understood as a platform to increase the productive capacity of the neighborhood and to revert social inclusion. For the viability of the project, a strategic plan divided into phases is designed to saturate the urban discontinuity between neighborhoods, to introduce social housing and new facilities, and to convert this enclave in a productive engine that generates resources for the rest of the city.

The project proposes  a cooperative housing modelwith communal spaces like the kitchen and the laundry room and intermediate spaces for informal and serendipitous encounters. The building is made entirely of ecological materials such as wood and vegetal fiber panels, minimizes artificial ventilation systems, and enhances passive energy management systems which allows the natural cross-ventilation of interior spaces throughout the building.

An estimate of 800m2 is needed to resolve the current lack of work spaces for local entrepreneurs and artisans. These spaces will be managed on a transfer basis for neighborhood associations and socio-economic projects or small businesses on a rental basis. Because the project advocates mixed-use facilities such as housing, workshops, and energy production in the same building complex,.
Aquesta estratègia ofereix una major riquesa social i un constant reciclatge dels usos que afavorirà a la comunitat.
La cultura ha estat una eina fonamental per als veïns de Nou Barris.
L’Ateneu Popular de Nou Barris, la seva escola de circ i el projecte Veus ha generat una comunitat vinculada al món de l’art i la música amb una potencial incidència en l’educació social.
Proposem destinar part del programa a la creació de un espai cultural que potenciará la identitat del barri.


Carles Enrich


Adriana Campmany, Anna de Castro, Joan Martí, Laure Nicod



Project year



18 de February de 2020


Territory and landscape