Eixample

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The Eixample (Catalan pronunciation: [əˈʃampɫə], Catalan for extension) is a district of Barcelona between the old city (Ciutat Vella) and what were once surrounding small towns (Sants, Gràcia, Sant Andreu etc.), constructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Its population was 262,485 at the last census (2005)[citation needed].

There are five administrative neighborhoods:

Contents

Architecture and design

The Eixample is characterized by long straight streets, a strict grid pattern crossed by wide avenues, and square blocks with chamfered corners (named illes in Catalan, manzanas in Spanish). This was a visionary, pioneering design by Ildefons Cerdà, who considered traffic and transport along with sunlight and ventilation in coming up with his characteristic octagonal blocks, where the streets broaden at every intersection making for greater visibility, better ventilation and (today) some short-stay parking space. The grid pattern remains as a hallmark of Barcelona, but many of his other provisions were unfortunately ignored: the four sides of the blocks and the inner space were built instead of the planned two or three sides around a garden; the streets were narrower; only one of the two diagonal avenues was carried out; the inhabitants were of a higher class than the mixed composition dreamed of by Cerdà. The important needs of the inhabitants were incorporated into his plan, which called for markets, schools, hospitals every so many blocks. Today, most of the markets remain open in the spots they have been from the beginning[citation needed].

Some parts of the Eixample were influenced by Modernista architects, chief among whom was Antoni Gaudí. His work in the Eixample includes the Casa Milà (nicknamed La Pedrera) and the Casa Batlló, both of which are on the wide Passeig de Gràcia, as well as the Sagrada Família. Other architects who made highly significant, and certainly more numerous, contributions to giving the Eixample its characteristic appearance include Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Josep Domènech i Estapà, Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas and perhaps above all Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia, responsible for a total of over 500 buildings in the city (not all of them in the Eixample)[1].

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