Urban Highlight: The Octagonal City
I bet a lot of you guys have seen the image above, it's octagonal buildings are a marvel of architecture and functionality, but do you know where it is?
This is the Eixample district, or expansion district in Catalan, it's the brainchild of architect Ildefons Cerdà who came up with the famed octagonal blocks in which the streets widen at the intersection. It is located in Barcelona, near the old city center of Ciudad Vella.
In the 1800s Barcelona only consisted of the very dense Ciudad Vella, rapid urbanization caused overpopulation and rabid congestion, so the city planners and architects saw the need to expand the urban area, to ensure a healthier life for the people.
The picture above is an early plan of the district made in 1859, since then, there are a lot of additions and deviations to the original plan.
This is an aerial view of the grid system used in this district. The streets broaden at the intersection to increase visibility, ventilation, and on-road parking at select places, this ensures good mobility for both pedestrians and vehicles passing through this area. Sadly the grid system sometimes irks pedestrians due to them having to zig-zag through the street to reach their destination.
The Eixample is surely a great architectural work that mixes aesthetics with functionality just right to create an organic and livable neighborhood.