Barcelona, A City of Angles

One of the first things that I noticed when getting in to Barcelona were the street intersections. In the US, we have a standard 90 degree angle cross where two streets meet in a city. This is not the case in parts of Barcelona, such as Eixample. As you can see in the image below, the streets still meet at 90 degrees, but they’ve cut the corners off the buildings at 45 degree angles to this meeting. This essentially forms a small city square anywhere two streets meet. And with the blocks smaller than standard US city blocks, this makes for a lot of squares in the Eixample district.
While it can make for an awkward walk up the street as a pedestrian, since you can’t really walk in a straight line, this also makes for one of the more lovely city settings that I’ve seen. It forces a calmness on the city because it doesn’t allow anyone to tear up and down the street on foot, bike, motorcycle, or car. Some of the bigger intersections even have small roundabouts which further hinder any kind of impatient speed. While probably a pain to those who don’t want to take their time, I quite like the effect and find it to be an extremely pleasant change.
The other effect that this design has is to make the buildings on the corners take on different shapes than your standard square building that is usually seen. This can take the form of just one corner in a building being different, or it can take the form of there being a very small building at the corner that fills in this wedge. Whatever the case, it breaks up any monotony in the flow of the city.
Then, in addition to these intersections, there is Avinguda Diagonal and Avinguda Meridiana that both cut across the heart of the city. Much as Columbus Avenue does in San Francisco, this further breaks up the geography. It also breaks up all the misconceptions I had before visiting when I saw aerial shots of the city and thought that it looked like a standard grid-shaped city. How wrong I was.
Barcelona, A City of Angles

One Reply to “Barcelona, A City of Angles”

  1. eu concorda com suas observaçôes. Além delas sinto que a corte na esquina proporciona uma vista melhor da situação vis-a-vis o trânsito como vc aproxima o cruzamento. Vc encherga mais e mais cedo.

Comments are closed.