Singular Buildings on Regular Grids. Churches in L’Eixample and La Baixa

Alba Arboix-Alió


A building is considered unique when it outstands within the common fabric of the city due to its form, its nature, and its production and serialization process. If this architectural singularity is accompanied by an urban distinction, the result is much more effective because the compound becomes an urban enclave capable of arranging and hierarchically organising the city. The most illustrative example for historic cities with a Catholic tradition may probably be the church with the public space that materializes around it. For centuries, the sacred building and the atrium that precedes it have represented the city’s reference point and articulating centre of social, economic and cultural life. Nevertheless, if this is more or less evident in old towns consolidated over time; how is this solved in modern cities formed by a regular urban layout whose grid is put before the freedom of the buildings? With Barcelona and Lisbon as case studies, the paper focuses on the implementation and typology of the most paradigmatic churches in the neighbourhoods of L’Eixample Cerdà and La Baixa Pombalina.


Barcelona; Lisbon; church; regular expansion grid; singular building

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