Two neighbourhoods created in Barcelona in the 1950s: two models of a city, two models of society
Document typeConference lecture
Rights accessOpen Access
The Congrés Eucarístic (1952) neighbourhood and the Trinitat Nova (1953) estate in Barcelona were built at the same time to meet the severe lack of housing in the 1950s. Josep Soteras, an architect, participated directly in both of these projects, but they were developed in very different ways, and reflected two clearly different models of social housing. The first was a proposal for a neighbourhood integrated into the existing city; designed to fit into it and for the city and the neighbourhood to support each other. The second was a residential estate built on the edge of the city and almost turned away from it, on land destined for urban development with no existing services. The reason for the great difference in approach can only be determined if we know who each of the neighbourhoods was built for: the first was for the middle class with affinity for the political regime at the time (the Franco dictatorship); the second was for immigrant workers from other parts of Spain, who, in many cases, lived in the precarious slums that had been gradually established in the city from the 1940s onwards. The paper that we present compares these two case studies and describes the characteristics of each one. It reveals how political and moral ideology had a decisive influence on the conformation of the city and the definition of the architecture. The Congrés Eucarístic neighbourhood was promoted by the Diocese of Barcelona, which created a cooperative of benefactors to build the neighbourhood that would house model families according to Catholic moral. The Trinitat Nova estate was promoted by three local and state government bodies (the Patronat de l’Habitatge de Barcelona [Barcelona Council for Housing], the Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda [National Housing Institute] and the Obra Sindical del Hogar [Housing Union Association]), each of which followed its own criteria for the creation of social housing.
CitationRossello, M. Two neighbourhoods created in Barcelona in the 1950s: two models of a city, two models of society. A: International Conference on Urban History. "Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Urban History : reinterpreting cities : Helsinki from the 24th to the 27th August 2016". 2016, p. 1-9.