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Eixample coat of arms
Barcelona coat of arms
district of the city of Barcelona
Location of the Eixample district within Barcelona
Coordinates 41 ° 21 '17 "  N , 2 ° 8' 44"  E Coordinates: 41 ° 21 '17 "  N , 2 ° 8' 44"  E
surface 7.48 km²
Residents 268,189 (2008)
Population density 35,854 inhabitants / km²
Website District del Eixample
District Mayor Gerard Ardanuy i Mata (CiU)
Aerial view of the Eixample

The modern planned city Eixample [ əˈʃamplə ] ( Catalan for extension , Spanish Ensanche [ enˈsantʃe ]) is the second district of the Catalan capital Barcelona . It is known for its square blocks with sloping corners (chaflanes) and many modernist buildings. On an area of ​​7.46 square kilometers, it is home to 262,485 people (2008); thus the population density of over 35,800 inh. / km² makes it one of the most densely populated places in Europe.


The Eixample is the second of the ten districts of Barcelona and is centrally located, almost in the middle of the urban fabric. There are boundaries to seven neighboring districts: in the north are Gràcia and Horta-Guinardó , in the east the district of Sant Martí and the Ciutat Vella (old town) adjoin , in the south is the district Sants-Montjuïc and in the west the Eixample borders on the city districts Les Corts and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi .

Neighborhood within the district

The Eixample district is divided into 6 districts:

Neighborhood in Eixample
code Surname Population
Population density
(people / ha)
05 Fort Pienc 33.202 92.9 357.4
06 Sagrada Família 52,890 105.1 503.2
07 Dreta de l'Eixample 43,609 212.3 205.4
08 L'Antiga Esquerra de l'Eixample 42,183 123.5 341.7
09 La Nova Esquerra de l'Eixample 58,559 133.8 437.8
10 Sant Antoni 38,742 80.1 483.7
II Eixample 269.185 747.7 360.0

Even if the Eixample as a planned city forms an extremely homogeneous structural and architectural unit, different city district names have developed over time. The everyday language of the residents often speaks of the left (Esquerra de l'Eixample) and right (Dreta de l'Eixample) side of the Eixample, with the splendid boulevard Passeig de Gràcia being the “borderline” for most residents . Administratively and statistically, however, this is in the middle of Balmes Street , two blocks further south. The most famous district within the borough's Sagrada Família, the same name, still under construction in the center of the church is located. More recently, the name “Gaixample” has also been developed for a part of the Eixample, in which a high concentration of institutions of the gay and lesbian subculture has settled. However, this is not an official district.

History of origin

Original plan from 1859
The block concept with the Xamfrans , the sloping street corners

In the middle of the 19th century , the narrowness of the still walled city of Barcelona and a wave of immigrants made the living conditions of the residents unbearable. The grievances were denounced by various scientists and politicians and called for the demolition of the city walls, which had long since appeared to be obsolete, and an expansion and reconstruction of the existing city quarters in line with the findings of the time.

The central government in Madrid and the city administration of Barcelona also recognized the need to intervene and agreed to build a city extension towards Serra de Collserola . The Catalan architect and builder Ildefons Cerdà presented a first plan for this in Madrid in 1855. He managed to get government approval for his Eixample project in 1859, which was finally officially confirmed in 1860. Thus, although the physical structure of the expansion of Barcelona was determined, in Madrid's efforts to come to an agreement with the Barcelona City Council on the planning and execution, many of Cerdà's proposals regarding the design, use and economic exploitation of the plots and buildings became practical Implementation no longer considered.

Cerdàs Plano de los Alrededores de la Ciudad de Barcelona y Proyecto de su Reforma y Ensanche ('Plan of the surroundings of the city of Barcelona and project for its renovation and expansion') envisaged the grid-shaped expansion of the city towards the mountains, including several small villages . The square blocks with beveled corners ( called xamfrà in Catalan ) had an edge length of 133 meters and were divided by streets 20 meters wide. Four main arteries were planned, which should have a width of 50 meters: the Gran Via, which divides the Eixample horizontally and connects the two river areas of the Llobregat and Besòs ; the Avinguda Diagonal , which creates a diagonal connection from the Collserola mountains to the sea; the Avinguda Meridiana , which opens up the northeast and extends as far as the port; and finally the axis of the Avinguda Paral lel , which connects the north-western part of the Eixample to the old center at the foot of Montjuïc . The Avinguda Meridiana was parallel to the prime meridian and the Avinguda Paral lel parallel to the equator .

The old city quarters should also be renewed. a. by creating new roads that breach existing structures. The networking of the Eixample with the old town remained problematic in the design and was later solved by the city architect Antoni Rovira i Trias , who was still inferior in the competition for the best design for urban expansion, with a ring boulevard with several squares.

The blocks in Cerdà's concept should only be built on on a maximum of two sides, up to a maximum of 50 percent and up to five floors (i.e. up to a height of 16 meters); in the middle he provided green spaces. He suggested two variants as building forms for apartment blocks: a building in the form of an L, with four blocks each forming a larger ensemble with a large park between them; a development with two parallel buildings and an open space on both sides. He kept individual blocks free for parks, public buildings and infrastructure facilities, but Cerdà did not designate any areas for industry and commerce.

Economically, he justified his plan with the possibility of inexpensive acquisition of agricultural land and suggested that private builders contribute to the development costs. He also researched the standardization of components in order to be able to reduce construction costs.

His idea of ​​a spacious, air and light permeable, green city was not implemented from the start. Soil speculation led to much higher building densities than planned; the green inner courtyards remained a vision - very similar to the Hobrecht plan (partially) implemented in Berlin . The urban expansion was initially little appreciated by the residents of Barcelona because of its straight lines and its uniformity, and in Europe urban planners are more oriented towards the redesigns that Georges Haussmann carried out in Paris .

Well-known buildings in the borough are the Casa Milà and Casa Batlló on Passeig de Gràcia by Antoni Gaudí . They belong to the UNESCO world cultural heritage .

Passeig de Gràcia with Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló (right)

Web links

Commons : Eixample  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Archive link ( Memento of the original from March 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bcn.es