Ecodistrict laMercedes in Barcelona

designed by /

Location: Barcelona / Spain / Type: Corporate/Company Garden / Post-Industrial / Residential Parks / Built: Unbuilt /
Published on May 14, 2023


A place to work, play and live in an industrial and cultural area, prepared to combat the climate emergency.

This project reactivates the old industrial site with new economic and residential activity, contributing to the large urban regeneration project of Bon Pastor and Besòs, which has now become the most dynamic urban area in the city.


The former Mercedes-Benz factory is a 9 Ha industrial site located at a key point between the Bon Pastor neighbourhood and the centre of Sant Andreu. In the 1950s it became the headquarters of the public company ENMASA and when it closed, 15 years ago, it became a hermetic, disused site.

Its ongoing transformation foresees the introduction of a mix of residential and tertiary uses with economic activity linked to innovation and industry 4.0, maintaining the historic industrial buildings in a complex with high standards of sustainability that will become a new social node in the neighbourhood.


The old industrial site blocks the connections between residential areas with very different social and economic characteristics. LaMercedes area will be the crossing point of two new urban axes: through the east-west axis, the historic centre of Sant Andreu will be connected with the neighbourhood of Bon Pastor and the future park of Rec Comtal with the park of the Besòs river, and the north-south axis will connect La Maquinista and the neighbourhood of Baró de Viver with the park of Rec Comtal and the future developments of the Torrent de la Estadella industrial estate.

The proposal connects historically isolated areas despite their proximity, contributing this new centrality to articulate and unite the heterogeneous urban and social fabrics of the environment.


The historical and heritage value of the Mercedes lies both in the material value of all its buildings, the result of successive projects during the 1950s to 1970s by the architect Robert Terradas, with a clearly Nordic-inspired rationalist architecture, as well as in the intangible value, testimony of the industrial past of the neighborhood and of which many of its neighbors were participants.

The proposed development recognizes the architectural history and social significance of the place through the reuse of various existing buildings. The project is based on the conservation of the main industrial buildings, which are used for cultural and educational facilities. Complemented by new buildings for economic activities, this complex is organized around the existing central building, of which the structure is preserved to provide shelter for a large public plaza, which is intended to be the center of activity in the new neighbourhood, and which must house a large clean energy production center. Maintaining the character of the place and creating this symbolic space contribute to reinforcing the sense of belonging to the neighbourhood.

The first project in this complex is the recovery of the workshop and office building from the 1970s for the implementation of the Elisava design school. This first project combines preservation of heritage and implementation of uses related to knowledge in a sample of what the future of the Mercedes venue may be.


The historic complex is transformed to house economic activity, which includes not only offices and facilities focused on education and knowledge, but also a specific type of activity focused on the creative and 4.0 industry, innovation, research and sustainability.
The configuration of the complex defines two main north-south and east-west axis, from which the residential blocks are developed, with adequate dimensions and proportions to offer high environmental quality, orientation and ventilation, and with fronts of commerce that dynamize the pedestrian axes and provide activity to the different squares that are generated throughout the sector, guaranteeing an intensive use of public space and promoting proximity relations.
A mixed-use neighborhood is created combining 60% housing (40% affordable and 60% free) with 40% of economic activity, services, local commerce, industry 4.0 and facilities, generating synergies between the centers of innovation and knowledge.


laMercedes must become a neighborhood where you can learn, live and work. A compact neighborhood with houses of all types and characteristics together with a multiple offer of shops on the ground floors, community facilities and economic activities, which configures a new centrality that contributes to unifying the heterogeneous urban fabric of the environment.
The project is committed to a new model of housing, flexible, versatile and non-hierarchical, with habitable outdoor spaces. The limits between the private and the common are redefined, creating a new model of collaborative housing. The project promotes the creation of intermediate spaces, interior or exterior, between the private and public domains. The intermediate space is the scene of neighborhood coexistence, meetings and games, and encourages community life.


An urban habitat ready to fight the climate emergency. Structured around the green infrastructure – streets and squares – and designed with systems and materials that are able to reduce the temperature by up to 3ºC compared to its surrounding environment. The free space will be a permeable and accessible meeting place that guarantees social cohesion. Priority will be given to green spaces, enhancing nature and biodiversity over the vehicle, which is eliminated from public space.
A peaceful, pedestrianised interior of the “Eco-illa” is proposed thanks to the intelligent mobility system. All mobility and infrastructure are integrated into an underground floor to free the ground floor of vehicles and enhance the permeability of laMercedes. A completely pedestrianised and cyclable space is created, with no motor vehicle traffic on the surface except for emergency services and vehicles. This creates accessible and safe routes to integrate laMercedes into the urban route network.
An underground traffic system with entrances from the perimeter streets is implemented. From there, vehicles will be taken to the different car parks, with loading and unloading zones reserved and, in the immediate future, it will be possible to create last-mile logistics spaces, electric vehicle charging zones, and other areas for new mobility.


Planning has been understood in all its urban, social, economic and environmental aspects as a unique opportunity to work from its genesis with the premises of the inclusive urbanism: the construction of a city that integrates, that facilitates daily life and that promotes social exchange in a high-quality urban environment.

Project Data


CLIENT Conren Tramway
AUTORS Batlleiroig Arquitectura. Enric Batlle Durany, Joan Roig i Duran, Albert Gil Margalef, Helena Salvadó Giné, Abel Porcar Badal, Joan Batlle Blay, Josep Batlle Blay – Arquitecto
TEAM Mercedes Blay Blanc, Helena Valls Fígols – Arquitecto y urbanista / Josep Maria Navarrete, Diana Martínez Badia, Laura Menéndez Smith, Laura Florentín Aragón – Arquitecto
COLLABORATORS Garrigues – Abogados
LOCATION Sant Andreu, Barcelona
PHOTO CREDITS ©Antonio Navarro Wijkmark ©SBDA

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