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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Mercat De La Salut Square in Badalona, Spain by vora arquitectura

February 16th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

The project for the “La Salut” Market Square emerged from a study of the context: the topography, the architecture… but also from the memory, the collective imagery… a process of observation and analysis, which generates some abstract ideas that make a form, a distribution, some spatial relationships, a way of living and working… and bring us to the materiality of this intervention, materiality understood as the superimposition of identities, underlying realities and permanent memory.

Mercat De La Salut Square

Mercat De La Salut Square

  • Architects: vora arquitectura (pere buil castells i toni riba galí)
  • Address: av marquès de sant mori s/n, badalona
  • Surface area: 1.000 m2
  • Project: 2009
  • Construction start: may 2009
  • Construction completion: december 2009
  • Project team: eva cotman, anna malaguti, ondrej fabian
  • Structure: eskubi-turró (juan ignacio eskubi)
  • Services: gecsa (tono trias)
  • Building coordination architects: vora arquitectura (toni riba galí)
  • Promoter: ajuntament de badalona
  • Constructor: acsa-sorigué
  • Photographs: adrià goula sardà

Talking of the La Salut Market Square of the is to speak about the market building by the architect Josep Maria Sostres, built in 1980. An auto referential building with great plastic and intellectual power, it dominates and has become the frame of reference when describing the square from a conceptual point of view, and compositionally. It is also to speak about the neighborhood of La Salut, one of the youngest and most populated in Badalona, with a dynamic history and a social structure, all of which have influenced the main decisions of the project.

Mercat De La Salut Square

Mercat De La Salut Square

Previous conditions:
Before the intervention the square had a closed space configuration with access from the sides of the market building. It was divided into two parallel and stepped platforms which created two distinct areas; the access platform to the market and a higher one with benches, shrubs and street lamps. This area was closed off by a low concrete wall and a ventilation outlet that served the shop units beneath the square. It was treated as a space that did not relate to the perimeter streets, subdivided into subspaces which didn’t allow too many uses. Very residual space.

Mercat De La Salut Square

Mercat De La Salut Square

Aim of the intervention:
Giving identity to a “forgotten” space, give it presence, provide it with the required functions and reflect the complexity of the environment – these are the goals of the intervention – giving character, to make it functional and attractive. The new square establishes a dialogue with the market building.

Mercat De La Salut Square

Mercat De La Salut Square

Description of the intervention:
From the analysis of the context the intervention materialises around three basic ideas:

Presence. The space of the square was conceived originally as a consequence of the differences of alignment between the market, the Marquès de Sant Mori Avenue and Quevedo Street, a residual space. It should be borne in mind that this was a service space without access to the building. The subsequent interventions did not change this secondary space character, disconnected from the adjacent spaces. A new access door to the building on this side was later formed, which through time became the main entrance, so the square had to be reorganised.

In spite of originally being a space without identity, the successive transformations of the neighborhood in social standard, public facilities and infrastructures have given it a new presence. The intervention is a process of “emptying” the space. Where before there was a superimposition of fixed elements (walls, street lamps, stairs, benches, shrubs…) now there is geometry, flows of people. It is a dynamic space.

The trees have been restricted to the perimeter streets, outside the limits of the square. The lighting has been reduced to one column with luminaries that sits outwith the triangle. The use of urban furniture has been substituted by a fold in the ground plane that forms both a platform and a bench.

Formal simplicity (single slope). The new square responds to a great number of circulation flows. The building, with its main access to the north, generates the entry and exit on market days. The La Salut Civic Centre (on the first floor) is accessed from the existing ramp. There is also the importance of the main cross, the convergence of Marquès de Sant Antoni Avenue and Quevedo Street, which includes underground parking and bus stops. On the pavements, the exits of the L9 underground have recently been installed.
We opted to simplify to the maximum the form of the square, reducing it to an inclined plane defined by its triangular limits. In this way the stepped platforms, the low concrete wall that closed the square and the ventilation outlet that served the underground shop units, have been removed (with the duct being relocated below the ramp). It is an isotropic space where itineraries are not prioritised and where free flow is facilitated.

Rich composition (mosaic of colors). The space responds to the different uses that can be accommodated; circulation space, encounter, meet, play… On a bigger scale it is about the confluence of two neighborhoods (La Salut and Llefià). The project also represents the social diversity of the neighborhood, with the high immigrant population, both recent and established.

From the limits of the triangular space an abstract composition is defined by geometry, a grid above the inclined plane which reflects the complexity of the context. A composition of colors that confers character and singularity has been superimposed. To reinforce the abstract effect drainage has been solved with some slot drains integrated into the grid.

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