Green Stories in Barcelona. La Borda building.

[by Swasky in Barcelona, Sants, CATALONIA]

Welcome to this new series of little articles about buildings and urban interventions that consider to be green. I’m happy that Green Stories is going ahead. From PYSB we strongly believe that drawing is one of the best communication tools and through it we can show to all of you “Green Stories”, stories about how it is possible to create a sustainable building nowadays.

This is La Borda, maybe at first it looks like any other building, but it is the first building in Barcelona with sustainable and green standards. It is a a cooperative housing that gives accommodation for families and individuals from diverse backgrounds. It is located in the district of Sants-Montjüic in Barcelona. La Borda is made of wood, thanks to a cooperative. It is a building of six stories,  and 28 dwellings. Everything is new just the foundations are made by concrete and the rest is made by wood. All the cooperative participants have decided by majority all the project’s big and small decisions, one of those decisions was to keep an open passage from the street to the interior which will should become a park a leisure area. This is good because this way inhabitants become responsible and aware of all the designs and building decisions.

There are more like this one in other cities like the Cube, in London (UK), Moholt, in Trondheim (Norway),… but this one is the first one in Barcelona. This is my introduction to the building and I will show you how it evolves, how it works and now how the inhabitants experience the building.

GS_BCN_Swasky_2019_facade_interiorThis drawing was done two weeks ago (Jan 2019) and I choose the interior façade, the sunniest place because, although lately winter in Barcelona is becoming warmer, if you seat under the shade you feel cold. So I sat in a spot, which is still under a constant change, facing the already inhabited building.

The interior facade is open to an area where there was formerly an old textile factory, Can Batlló, one of the largest in Barcelona in past century. Over the years textile factories in Barcelona disappear because textile was not as profitable as used to be and old factory buildings were, little by little used, by small workshops and small businesses. Today are neighbours who are using those buildings and this space is becoming a public cultural and vibrant community hub.


As a I draw all the buildings next to La Borda I pay attention to some details, like the size of the windows of the building on the right, tiny and… let me say ugly.  Sometimes they are details that make you wonder if anyone thought about how important light may be for the future residents? What are those windows for? Are they for ventilation of a small space, an internal stair? Where those windows at the back and now are at the front?

Next post will be about the rooftop and how it has been thought, as a place for all the community but also with some green solutions.

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