The Botanical Garden of Barcelona and its climate

The Botanical Garden was born in the 1999, on a 14-hectare site, in order to cultivate a large collection of plants from lots countries that share the same climate as Barcelona. So, its main purpose is to study, preserve and disseminate plant biodiversity.

But before talking about this garden, it’s useful explain something about the Mediterranean climate.

Mediterranean climate

All the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea share a similar climate conditions. The Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild winters. Rains falls mostly in spring and autumn. But there are other regions in the world that also presents this same climate, like California, central Chile, the southernmost part of South Africa and southern/south-western Australia.

Furthermore, Mediterranean vegetation is considered to be one of the richest in species diversity. If you consider that only 1.7% of the Earth’s land surface enjoys this climate, it may sound strange that Mediterranean flora accounts for approximately 20% of known plants. This is possible thanks to its great climate balance.

How to get there

The Botanic Garden is a very pleasant place, but it isn’t so comfortable to reach (if we don’t have a car). It is situated in Montjuïc hill, in the southern part of Barcelona. We can easily get there by car thanks to its car park, or by bus, which stops in front of the Olympic Stadium. This mean that we have to walk only 5 minutes. Obviously, we could reach it by foot, as I did in 40 minutes more or less from Plaça Espanya (the nearest metro station).

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The Garden

Finally, we arrived. We enter through a big Corten door, finding an open but covered space, with the ticket office (yes, you must pay the entrance) a small auditorium and bathrooms. The first impression is to enter in a huge forest, with only a concrete path, but fortunately it’s only the entrance part.

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The Garden is divided by areas. This means that you can’t find an Australian plant in the same place of a Spanish one. Probably because of the treatment of terrains.

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After some minutes, we can find the first of a series of squares. These squares offer different seats and a drinking fountain. In the upper part, one of these is composed as an amphitheatre, with wooden benches at different height. Unfortunately, for its dimension and composition, it can’t be used for lots purposes.

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The view

The view from the Botanic Garden is awesome. Thanks to its elevation, the Garden offers different pleasing viewpoints, where we can admire wonderful frames of Barcelona. Actually, the view is of the west part of Barcelona and Hospitalet neighbourhood. In any case, we can admire the Santiago Calatrava’s Olympic torch from here.

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Materials

All paths are made of rough concrete and retaining walls of Corten steel. Sometimes it is possible to find some wood, as in furniture and some handrails. In the upper part of the garden, there are some gravel paths, which are very enjoyable.

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How people use this space

Unfortunately, it can’t be defined as public park or a public garden. I say this because of its location. I see it more like an “Open Flora Museum”. Obviously, this is just my opinion. I’m not sure if citizens must pay to enter, but if they have to, probably for this reason as well.

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Anyhow, this garden was born with a different purpose. As the garden brochure say: “The main goal of the garden is to study, preserve and disseminate plant biodiversity”

Final impressions

I can say that I really love this garden. During summer I would be happy to spend some days on it. I think it is very well composed, and the materials chosen gives a very good impression and are also well integrated. Maybe it isn’t the most comfortable garden because of its location, but in any case it is very pleasant.

It is more than a scientific garden, but it isn’t more than that. I mean that it can’t be used for parties or great events. It could be dangerous for the flora.

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Unfortunately, the bees’ hotel was closed when I was there.

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Gabriele Bortoluzzi – photos taken with iPhone SE ®

Escola Municipal de Música Can Fargues

The restoration of Can Fargues music school was made by BAMMP Arquitectes in 2014 and currently, it is a primary school of music.img_1051

Can Fargues is situated in Horta neighbourhood, in north-west of Barcelona.

The main building goes back to the 13th century, and all the restoration turn around the central tower of it.

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To reach the entrance, we are forced to pass through a small courtyard, where we can find a stair composed of a typical Catalan vault. From here, it is possible to see the old tower as well.

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In the past, this building was used to produce wine, and this is why this lot consist also of a garden. Furthermore, we can find storage rooms inside, where wine was stored but currently with no function.

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All floors are connected with a new internal stair, which is not sustained by the tower’s wall. In fact, it is possible to see space between the handrail and the wall itself.

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The school is composed of entrance, some small common areas, classrooms, two big terraces and the patio as well. In addition, there is an Auditorium on the ground floor, completely soundproof.

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It is extremely interesting to notice how inside the Auditorium, the acoustics change from a “sector” to another, helped also by dimensions and the vaults in it.

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In general, Can Fargues is not very bright, but probably because BAMMP studio wanted to be respectful to the ancient structure. Materials and tenuous colours have been chosen very well for this restoration, in order to accentuate textures and volumes.

In conclusion, I think this intervention has been made in the better way.

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Gabriele Bortoluzzi – photos taken with iPhone SE ®

The Julia Tower for aged people

The Julia Tower, designed by Pau Vidal, Sergi Pons and Ricard Galiana, is located in Poble Nou neighbourhood, in the north of Barcelona.

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The Tower was built in the 2011 and it was designed specifically as social housing for aged people. It appears as a white striped monolith, partially covered with a grid. Bearing structure is entirely made of rough concrete, hidden by corrugated iron plates.

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In the ground floor, which is partially covered with a coloured wallpaper, are situated the keeper room, facility rooms and also an Atelier with a small patio where residents can stay and have fun together. This room can be used as a theatre, handmade workshop and game room.

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This residential tower is composed of seventeen floors, divided in three sector (from ground to the top: yellow, light green and green). In each sector we find a specific double-height room, which host a different social function (like a small gym, a reading room). These rooms are recognisable because of their coloured decorative wallpaper (with the same colour of its sector).

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Finally, the upper floor is entirely open, and it serves as a “solarium” and terrace. The panorama is excellent and it can be appreciated also from the external stairs (often used as terraces as well), in particular where the grid is not present.

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In general, I think the Julia Tower is very well composed. The view and external stairs used as common terraces improve residents’ social life. Furthermore, materials chosen are pleasant, although these gives an idea of cheap materials.

Gabriele Bortoluzzi – photos taken with iPhone SE ®