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Terrassa (Barcelona)

Terrassa is a city 20 km far from Barcelona, Spain. The first information that we have is that it was founded by the Romans in the 2nd century b.C. and was called Egara until the 10th century. One of the best known monument in Terrassa are the Romasque churches (450 a.C.) which were built in the old roman city center. The city has grown next to three streams, one now converted to a boulevard, another to a urban park and the third still remains. It has been a very known city in Spain due to its high textil industry. This has had a high influence in Terassa’s growth. The huge factories spread in the nonbuilt territory made the city grow irregularly. Nowadays Terrassa has become a city were pedestrian are very important, all the city center is prohibited to cars. Also the reconversion of the old torrent that crosses the city into an urban park (vallparadís) has improved its quality.

DESIGNING CITIES Terrassa and its preexistences

University of Pennsylvania - PennDesign - Coursera Patricia Calviño

Through this pages I am going to analise Terrassa’s growth relating it to its preexistances, the streams and how they have affected to the city growth and its form.

Terrassa 1880

In this plan we can see how the city was limited by two streams. But at the same time we can see the intention to espand this natural limitation. This is a plan that also shows the indrustialization of the city. In black are marked all the textile factories in Terrassa. - Industrial Revolution We can observe that all the streets try to connect them and that the irregular growth of Terrassa is due to radial growth from each factory. At that time the first railtrain in Terrassa appear and connected the city with other industrial cities and with Barcelona.

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Religious monuments · Sant Pere Churches 450 a.C · Sant Esperit cathedral 1574-1616 First train Station Estació del Nord (connecting industrial cities) - Industrial Revolution Saint Francesc Cloister (actual hospital) Direct connection with Sant Esperit cathedral - Traditional city. First train rail connection from Barcelona through industrial cities - Industrial Revolution

Preexistence - streams Two streams that were the special attractive for the first inhabitants to settle the town called Egara. At this time the streams were a limitation on the city growth. ·Riera del Palau ·Vallparadís

Institut Català de Cartografia - ICC

Terrassa 1949

With a difference of 70 years the city has crossed its previously mentioned boundaries, the streams. Due to the great importance of the industry the city begin to growth massively and a lot of immigrants locate their ilegal houses near the streams. In 1962 all this area flooded. It was a very big disaster and this stream is now very controlled. Some examples of traditionl cities can be located in Terrassa, for example the new look of “riera del Palau” converted now as a boulevard to connect north-south the city with the new Religious monuments · Sant Pere Churches 450 a.C · Sant Esperit cathedral 1574-1616


Train stations ·Estació del Nord (connecting industrial cities) ·Rambla Station (Barcelona-Terrassa)

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Hospital (old Sant Francesc Cloister) Direct connection with Sant Esperit cathedral - Traditional city. ·Train rail connection from Barcelona through industrial cities ·New rail train connectin Barcelona faster.

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Connection between important city areas: Stations-city center-churches-hospital - Traditional city.

Preexistence - streams ·Riera del Palau: converted in a boulevard (image1) - Traditional city. ·Vallparadís: Little scale agriculture area ·Vallès: Little scale agriculture and ilegal housing settlements. (flooding 1962)

Institut Català de Cartografia - ICC

Terrassa now

Now the city has absolutelly crossed the old streams, it has reached the one that flooded in 1962. The suburb neighborhoods are an example of this growth. Each of the three old streams have a different use that strongly mark the character of this city. An important boulevard, a lineal urban park, and a highway to connect north-south and the motorway to Barcelona. The old industries now located in the center have become, due to its perfect location, very expansive housing, restaurants or museums. The new industries and shopping malls are located in the suburbs.

Religion, historical buildings Vallès Stream

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“Riera del Palau” stream

Train station - project to built two more

train rail - project to build an underground main connections

city growth - housing suburbs made basically by tall towers separated by green space - clear example of modern cities. (image2)

Preexistence - streams The three streams are now reconverted in vertical axis of the city, each one with absolutelly different conditions ·Pedestrian Boulevard (image1) - Traditional city ·Urban lineal Park (image2) - Green city ·Highway to connect the city north-south (image3) - Infraestructures Google maps

The city and its preexistences

As it can be seen all throgh this analise the city has been always related to its preexistence, teh streams. Here we can se how different concpets of urbanism are applied in this areas where yaers ago there was only water and vegetation.

Riera del Palau - Rambla Boulevard Traditional city - Green city


This image shows one of the streams that once limited the city, After the industrial revolution and when the second train station appear it become a boulevard to connect the city north-south. It was also the first step to cross this boundary. Now this boulevard has gone one step forward and in order to reduce contamination it has become a pedestrian steet with permision only for public transport. This place is very known in Terrassa as shopping boulevard with bars and restaurants.

Vallparadís Park - old Vallparadis stream Vallparadís Sttream - Vallparadís Park Modern city - Green city

public transport

The second stream we have talking abaout is the one called Vallparadís. This long stream have been a big limitation for the city growth, en even when the city grew this old stream was a long cut in the city. In the last ecntury it has become a park, a really known park in this area. A lineal urban park thet crossed all the city. In this image we can se how in the end of the city this park reaches the surburbian housing area. This suburbs are totally an image of modern urbanism, where the main elemnts were tall towers separated with green areas. Here there is a clear example of this totally alike towers and how do they relate with the park.



Lla rambla - Riera del Palau (old stream)


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tio a t e g e v Highway - old Vallès stream


Vallès stream - Highway Modern city - Infraestructures





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The las stream that the city reached is the only one that still remains in some way as a water corridor. Thanks to the industrial revolution and technological advances it has been canalized in order to prevent another flooding. All along this stream it was built a highway that communicated perimetrically the city and also was directly connected with the motorway to Barcelona. In the picture we can see how it is important the relation with the preexistance of a city and how technologies and infraestructes can help to do so as well as are completly necessary to make a city grow.

canalized old stre



1st assigment - Designing cities Coursera - PennDesign Terrassa developement in the last centuries through its preexistences