Barcelona’s Ultra-Modern Park; Parc del Centre del Poblenou

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Recently when looking at offers in Spain to buy or rent, we spent some time in Barcelona. Barcelona is the leader in ultra-modern architecture and art. Visitors flock to see Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece the Sagrada Família as well as his famous Parc Güell , but many tourists are unaware of the artistic treasures off the tourist path in Barcelona. The city is home to many innovative urban parks such as the contemporary Parc de Diagonal Mar and Parc de l’Espanya Industrial . But one park that exemplifies Barcelona’s commitment to ultra-modern art and architecture is the Park del Centre del Poblenou in the Sant Marti district. The park sits in the shadow of the giant kaleidoscope-style tower of Torre Agbar. Both of these architectural masterpieces were designed by French-born architect Jean Nouvel.

Torre Agbar and Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel is a world-renowned leader in innovative design. His international list of achievements include the ultra-modern Dubai Opera, W Hotel Dubai, Gazprom City in St. Petersburg Russia, and the Guggenheim Museum, in Rio de Janerio. In Barcelona he is credited with the stunning design for his own version of a skyscraper; Torre Agbar. This 38-story building, constructed of reinforced concrete with a multicolored glass façade is now on the list of must see attractions in Barcelona. The towering bullet-shaped building can be seen from virtually any place in the city. Strips of painted sheet metal in striking red and blue shades are illuminated at night or reflective during the day; both offering a brilliant effect. Truly an amazing sight!

The Urban Space of Park del Centre del Poblenou

The relatively new Poblenou Park spans 55,600 square metres and is divided into five islands, bordered and separated by multiple streets. The minimalist and abstract features of the park are immediately apparent; single silver park seats scattered randomly throughout the grounds and rising strands of metallic plant stalks shooting out from various sections. Although the park looks extremely concrete and modern, it was designed to be a model of sustainability. Many diverse plants, flowers, and trees occupy the grounds; including 1,000 species of trees, such as Babylon Willow and Tipu trees, 5,000 shrubs, cacti, plants and climbing flowers; the park even holds its own water supply.

The park is enclosed by stone walls covered with beautiful climbing purple flowers called Bougainvillea Glabra Sanderiana or Paper Flowers. The park features a children’s play area, a dog park, wicker type-huts and ping pong tables. Inside the park are many innovative features not found in other parks.

Features of the Park del Centre del Poblenou

Ten thematic elements are showcased throughout the park. One whole island is dedicated to the Nius i Pous del Cel or Nests and Cells; towering futuristic metallic structures designed as mini-havens from the city crowds. The circular rest areas consist of large canopies covered with white cascading flowers, drooping branches and the bright pink berries of the Pepper Tree.

The Cràter-pou del Món is spiral path filled with climbing purple flowers that leads down into the crater of the world. This simulated crater is designed to cross cultural communication barriers as many people sit in the center and play various instruments producing an eerie echo effect.

Les Voltes is an area marked with sharp contrasts; a peaceful tree-lined path under a canopy of plant covered arches with towering abstract silver ornament sculptures that shoot out from the ground. Nearby is the lunar looking landscape of the ultra-urban Rock Garden; jagged rocks sit surrounded by a wall of soft purple flowers. Located in the center of the park is Plaça de la Sardana; a large circular meeting area surrounded by giant ferns, nearby are large wicker huts for children to hide and play in.

There are multiple streets that cut through the park. To keep the peaceful nature of the park intact, the designers created a tunnel of flowers over Carrer Espronceda. This peaceful walkway filled with climbing plants and flowers allows pedestrians to cross from one island to another while still feeling enclosed in the park. The enclosure helps to drown out the noise of the traffic and city as well.

Directions to Parc del Centre del Poblenou

Parc del Centre de Poblenou is located at Av. Diagonal 130, between the streets Carrer Bilbao, Bac de Roda and Carrer Marroc. From Torre Agbar it is about a ten minute walk, head east on Avinguda Diagonal toward Carrer de la Ciutat de Granada, the park will be at the intersection of av. Diagonal and Carrer Marroc.

From Plaça de Catalunya, take the subway from the Urquinaona stop toward La Pau, exit Poblenou stop, then walk northwest on Carrer de Bilbao toward Carrer del Llatzeret. Slight left at Passatge de la Fàbrica Vilarasau, then turn left at Carrer del Marroc. The park is open daily from 10:00a.m. until dusk with summer hours until 9:00 p.m.

The Parc del Centre del Poblenou is like a peaceful oasis in the crowded city of Barcelona. Architect and art lovers alike should plan to visit this new and innovative urban park; its fusion of abstract design, ornamental elements, and artistic gardening gives visitors a fresh perspective on what can and should be done with urban spaces.