In the late 18th century Barcelona was hemmed in by the boundaries of the old city walls. It was over-populated and disease ridden, with most residents living in squalid hovels (it could be attested that some poor folk still do). So the city planners called for an ‘extension’ or ‘Eixample’. The project was awarded to the prolific Ildefons Cerdá, who, as a first, drew up an outline on a grid system. As it took shape, the modernista architects of the time (including Gaudí) filled this ordered new district with their fanciful residential buildings for the nouveau riche. Many of course still remain, which is why the Eixample is often referred to as an ‘open-air museum’.
But over time many of Cerdá’s original plans for his utopian Eixample were lost. One of the most endearing aspects was the patis interiors, or community spaces located in the interior of every block. Over the past ten years or so the city’s authorities have acquired forty or so of the plots back, and converted them into compact little community parks and gardens, along the lines of Cerdá’s original wishes.
One of the first pati’s to be reclaimed is located at the base of a water tower. A shallow bathing pool was installed, where for less than a euro kids can splash around to their heart’s content. But out of season it’s worth visiting too. As so the case with all the patis, it provides a respite from the bustle and traffic of this very urban hood.
Hours: May to September from 10 to 21, rest of the year from 10 to 18