We are glad to post new work of our contributor Salva Lopez for Monocle magazine.
Barcelona´suburb of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi offers a glimpse of a braver architectural past.
"Strolling along Barcelonás Passseig de Gràcia you´re overhelmed by a string of embellished façades. It´s a boulevard of architectural grandstanding. Walk a little east to the Sarrià-Sant Grevasi district and you are greeted with a very diferent panorama. Referred to by localsas the Zona Alta, these subuerban foothills are home to much of the city´s wealthier class and a sprawling grid of standalone 1950s apartment buildings.
The metro de Sarrià fused what was once a satellite town to the city in the late 1920s but it wasn´t until after the civil war that genuine change swept the area. Following a wave of state-planned migration from southern and western Spain to Catalonia in the late 1940s and early 1950s, local Catalans families sold their city center properties to the new inmigrants and, in search of something better, the flocked here en masse.
With the demand for better housing, a new class of architechs emerged and in 1953 Francesc Mitjans i Miro´s Edificio Tokio set the standard. When it was built there were only three neoclasical buildings on the street and Mitjans had the foresight to omit a fence, creating cohesion between the street, exterior gradens and a openplan ground floor. "It creates a harmonious influence," notes architect Damian Ribas Mlagrida, whose father helped design the building..."
Text by Liam Aldous
photography Salva López