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Hyperblock – Rethinking Cerda’s Legacy

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Hyperblock – Rethinking Cerda’s Legacy

Hyperblock_Cover.jpg Hyperblock - Rethinking Cerda's Legacy

Urbanization has led to cities being overcrowded and cramped. Barcelona, a city known for its unique planning is slowly becoming a victim of uncontrolled urbanization. It has always been a walled city since it was founded as ‘Barcino’. In the middle ages, with growing urbanization the city couldn’t contain its population so an order was passed to expand the walls. In 1854, to deal with the rapid growth of the city the Spanish government finally gave the order to take down the walls. As soon as the walls were demolished, plans began for the expansion of the city to promote the Ensanche Project (Eixample District) giving rise to the ‘City of Cerda’.

In 1855, Ildefons Cerda’s utopian plan was approved by the central Spanish government. The design envisioned a rationalized open city, with a grid of wide streets. What was unique about Cerda’s grid was the refusal to address hierarchies apart from few exceptions (diagonal avenues and the Gran Via). The goal was to combine rural living (green spaces, ventilation, fresh air, community) and urban living (commerce, facilities, culture) So what made the humanitarian marvel collapse?

Cerda imagined a garden city for Barcelona but with the growing demands of the population, the majority of the land was covered for construction. As a result, green spaces disappeared, roads became narrower, provision of sunlight and ventilation and therefore psychological well-being was compromised.
What was once a design to make Barcelona healthier, now has to be dramatically rethought for the same reasons.

A city like Barcelona is meant to attract people. As a result, it is one of the densest cities of Europe. Population density is deemed to grow in the coming years as more and more people are moving to cities in search of better opportunities. Is there an alternative design scheme to attain controlled urbanization?

Cerda 20 invites visionary ideas for redesigning the city with one of the most unique planning, set in the distant future, ‘2050’. The brief is set up to identify what should have been and what it can be in the future.

Pepe Gascón
Principal, Pepe Gascón Arquitectura, Spain
Joan Roig Duran
Architect / Founding Partner, Battle I Roig Arquitectura, Spain
Joaquín Alvado Bañón
Associated Proffesor / Architectural designer, Joaquín Alvado & Associates, Spain

Short Description

Musing over culture and heritage of Barcelona, redesign Cerda blocks, recognizing the current and possible social and environmental challenges. Also plan pedestrian and vehicular movement around it.



Link to Competition

Link to Registration form


Prize pool of worth 20,000$
First Prize: 5000$ (For students and professionals)
Runner Up: 6 x 1100$ (For students and professionals)
People’s Choice: 4 x 600$ (Open for all)
Honorable Mention: 12 x 500$ Each

Type of Competition

Open to the public/Minimum requirements (Open to anyone that complies with the requirements), Single stage (Winners selected immediately)

Who can Participate

Minimum eligible age for participation is 18 years.
There is no restriction on the degree of design disciplines to participate in the challenge.
Participation in the competition can happen in a team as well as an individual.
Maximum numbers of participants in a team are 4
The challenge is open worldwide for anyone to participate.

Dates and Time Frame

Registration Opens February 15, 2020
Registration Closes August 3, 2020
Deadline to Submit Project August 18, 2020
Winners announcement Date October 22, 2020



Location of Competition

Madrid, Spain

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