What can you do with a massive traffic circle? In Barcelona, Spain, Parc Trinitat is one attempt to answer that question. Active spaces ring the outside access points while a variety of trees and a grassy knoll form the center of the park. The majority of the park is hidden by the surrounding high speed roadways so that only the tops of the trees and vegetation are visible.
With all the spaces programmed to receive large amounts of use, the park was highly underused at the time I visited. Was this due to the time I was there, or a signal of the state of the site? Large gates surround the park, so that it is only accessible during the daytime. While appropriate for security reasons, the overbearing aesthetic of the gates appears more like a threatening threshold than a welcome mat.
The vegetated center of the park feels like an entirely different world. Aspens are layered with olive trees creating rooms that feel like they are anywhere but surrounded by highways.
Perhaps the greatest metaphor for the site can be found in the horse sculpture, the focal point at the entrance of the park. On one side is a seemingly massive, powerful and solid structure, while the other is a shell of a show. A visually green oasis in the middle of a traffic circle is vapid and empty of its purported users.
Have you been here? What is your take on it?
Charly Nelson is a photographer and designer with a master’s degree of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design. She works in San Francisco as a writer and designer and continues to explore international landscape architecture in theory, practice and photography.