“70m2” emerges as the winning proposal of the 22nd edition of the Vertical Workshop

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In this year’s contest, students of UIC Barcelona School of Architecture designed projects for the historic Rec Comtal canal.

“70m2” emerges as the winning proposal of the 22nd edition of the Vertical Workshop

Reclaiming former agricultural land surrounding the Rec Comtal for neighbours in Vallbona was behind the winning project of the 22nd edition of the Vertical Workshop. “70m2”, a proposal overseen by the architects Adrià Guardiet and Sandra Torres, was announced winner of the newest edition of the Vertical Workshop at UIC Barcelona School of Architecture. This year’s edition was entitled “The Rec Comtal in Vallbona” and was coordinated by the lecturer Íñigo Ugalde. 

The winning project was based on a study of square metres of free space in Vallbona and how this is proportionate to the number of people living in the neighbourhood. In this respect, the students behind the proposal subtly suggested assigning a space to each person living in the neighbourhood to reclaim the square metres of land as productive space by using water from the former Rec Comtal canal. 

The final blueprint of the proposal consisted of symbolically dividing up part of this public space, which is not currently being used. Using pickets and string – as well as land art methodology – the land plots were divided up. In order to make the project more symbolic, in a location defined between the streets Oristà and Pierola, a 70m2 productive plot was set up in the middle of paved areas. 

This new edition of the Vertical Workshop, held between 3 and 13 September, was run by the architects Carles Enrich and Andrés Lupiáñez, who over the past few years have worked on strategic plans and projects to reclaim the Rec Comtal. The students’ projects were assessed by an intermediate judging panel represented by the architecture firm, Arenas Basabe Palacios. The assessment and final decision took place on the afternoon of 13 September in the Casal de Barri in Vallbona and was presided over by Carles Enrich and Xavier Ros, from the firm H Arquitectes. At the ceremony, attended by neighbourhood associations, video summaries and displays for each project were shown. The director of the school, Josep Lluís i Ginovart, went to see the projects prior to the final award ceremony and emphasised “the standard of the students’ projects who, in just 10 days, have managed to come up with installations aimed at enhancing a key infrastructure in the history of the city of Barcelona”.

Other projects

In this 22nd edition of the Vertical Workshop, students in their second to fifth years of the bachelor’s degree in Architecture were split into four groups to develop four different projects. In addition to the winning project, the students took part in the following projects:

“Have Fun”: overseen by lecturers Albert Jové and Sandro Mistrali. This project consisted of designing a fixture which could provide shade and seating for users, as well as the possibility of providing a horizontal surface used for work or to display products. The location selected was the section of the Rec Comtal authorised for bathing. 

“Rec productiu” (Productive Rec): overseen by lecturers Anna Gutiérrez and Álvaro Cuéllar. The group of students detected an unused space between the retaining walls of the road connecting Vallbona and Torre Baró. The students came up with a hanging structure lower than the wall which could be used to hang nests and vegetation. An area to display products was also equipped on the lower level. In order to water the vertical productive garden, a “bike pump” prototype enabling water to be taken directly from the canal was installed. 

“Wired”: overseen by lecturers Laura Bonell and Daniel López Dòriga, this installation consisted of a bamboo forest suspended from the bottom of the bridge joining Vallbona with Torre Baró. The project aimed to draw attention, in an artistic manner, to the point at which the former Rec canal disappears underground.