Església i ciutat : el paper dels temples parroquials en la construcció de Barcelona

Autor: Alba Arboix Alió
Fecha: 2016
Director: Félix Solaguren-Beascoa de Corra
Universidad: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Escuela o Facultad: ETSA Barcelona
Departamento: Departament de Projectes Arquitectònics
Fuente: UPC commons


The contribution of churches to the development and articulation of neighborhoods of Barcelona is a key element for the comprehension of the city. Various forms which can be put in objective terms in relation to its urban growth’ a morphological synthesis of its architectural and urban projects that are connected to social, political, economical, cultural and religious events’ are direct testimonies to understand a much more elaborate and complex framework, where churches often play a refining, active, and major role. This role does not only derive from their symbolic nature, but also from other attributions rendering them monumental, allegorical or referential, which implies the full investment of all available resources in their construction, with a complete dedication to the structural, constructive and synthetic progress of each time period. Even though the society has become more secular at the present, churches continue to exist, to articulate, and to glue the city of Barcelona together. The main objective of the research is to generate a critical collection of the parish churches of Barcelona and their close urban environment. The initial hypothesis is that, the growth of the city can be analyzed based on churches, not only in terms of urban planning, but also through the formalization of close urban surrounding of these structures. Thus, the study is presented in three main chapters which correspond to three different scales: the first one, as the largest scale, studies the contribution of parish churches to the city’s form of urban development; the second one, on a closer scale, analyses the urban elements adjacent to the temples in order to reveal their relation; and the third one, which is the closest, focuses on the architectural typology and its implementation. Three different approaches, intertwined and complementary of each other, become even more powerful when superimposed and presented together, depicting the same story from two different angles, as explained in the fourth chapter: Barcelona based on its churches, and churches based on Barcelona. With this round trip, and a last reflection which focuses on the adaptive reuse of this heritage, it is intended to unravel the complexity of subject matters which rise from the broad presence of parish churches in Barcelona. As the methodology, the study begins with a complete list of 132 existing parish churches within the municipal limits of the city and follows with a datasheet catalog with 132 cases which present the information about their past and present, including the plans and locations, all organized in a synthetic and systematic manner. This documentation, gathered from in-situ visits and archive consultations, establishes the annex and the corpus of the research. The methodological approach is thus deductive and inductive. The outline that structures the thesis arises from the case studies analyzed and the broad field of knowledge derived from them. For this reason, its applicability goes beyond the city of Barcelona and it can also be transferred to the study of any other singular architectural type, whether or not ecclesiastical. The challenge which is faced with, results in the elaboration of a discourse, which proves capable of forming relations between different case studies and highlighting the most important ones among them. Churches which are currently parochial provide a major influence on different scales of urban development, and their diverse typology contributes to the cultural heritage of the city. Therefore, based on the totality of churches, the study offers an unprecedented interpretation of Barcelona, suggests alternative reuses for the future of these structures and contributes to our knowledge of the city.

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