El Mercadal

Girona, Spain. 1994

  • Description

    Girona, a small but prosperous medieval town in northern Catalonia, is built along the banks of the River Onyar, which divides its historic center into two distinct halves. Both lie within the confines of the city walls but have very different urban characteristics. To the north is the Barri Vell, the old city, with its intact medieval street pattern, palaces, churches and the cathedral composing the prototypical image of the city. On the south bank is the area of the Mercadal, historically given over to more mundane institutions such as the market, hospital factory and even vineyard. This is reflected in the more disparate nature of the present day street layout and lack of homogeneity of the fabric. It has traditionally been the commercial center of the historic city but over the last decades has witnessed a gradual decline in activity.

    The council in conjunction with local traders, commissioned a project to renovate the area, pedestrianize it and give it more a sense of Genius-Loci thus encouraging its re-use as a distinctive retail district.The design sets out to achieve this by creating a more fluid relationship with the Barri Vell side of the river. The paving pattern is developed from the rotation through 180 degrees of the plan of the Barri Vell streets, and placing this onto an orthogonal grid superimposed over the Mercadal streets. A metaphorical link and a sense of unity with the opposite bank are thus established. A promenade ring is formed by the existing mall of Rambla de la Llibertat to the north, over the bridges and along the new mall of Santa Clara forming the heart of the regeneration. The desire for the re-establishment of a coherent identity for the area resulted in the design of a distinctive series of street furniture and lighting.

    The Magic Flute series of lights, benches, planters and drinking fountains developed from the desire to inhabit the urban landscape with a set of familiar elements or characters. During the design process of the luminaries as an assembly of over-lapping cones of an ethereal and feathery quality, Mozart’s Magic Flute characters were brought to mind. Lampageno and Lampagena play principal roles in the scenery of the street.The Lampagena is a stainless steel column light or wall mounted bracket comprising of a main conical deflector and four smaller intermediate reflectors,

    All in highly polished stainless steel giving a diffuse reflected general illumination to achieve the lighting requirement of the commercial zone. The Lampagenos are placed like stage footlights indicating routes and itineraries throughout the site and reinforcing the sense of theater.The Lampageno is a bollard light comprised of a column of cor-ten steel with four conical reflectors in cast-iron, with the same geometrical configuration as those of the Lampagena.

    Architects: C. Fiol, A. Arriola, A. Llorens, K. Schuessler,  J. Opher
    Consultants: M. Tarragó
    Eletrical Engineer: E. Frias
    Quantity Surveyor: G. Garcia


  • Images
  • Design process
  • Facts + data

    Promoter: Ajuntament de Girona
    Budget: 1.329.233 euros
    Surface: 17.000 m2