Barcelona Backyard Beach


The Barcelona backyard beach of Jardins de la Torre de les Aigües. All photos by Nicolai Steinø

Most urban spaces in this world have some resemblance to other spaces. Plazas, streets, parks, etc., may vary by their size and design, yet they are all plazas, streets and parks. But sometimes you experience spaces which are totally different from anything else. The Jardins de la Torre de les Aigües in Barcelona is one such space.

Completely hidden from the street, this space is nothing less but a beach set in a backyard. After entering through an unsuspicious gateway you arrive at the interior of one of the blocks of Cerdà‘s famous Ensanche plan.

The space which was originally a utility space of the Barcelona waterworks holds an old watertower. Around it, there is a swimmingpool and a beach-like area of sand for people to sit and the kids to play. An abundance of trees provide shade in the hot climate of Barcelona, while bathroom facilities are accomodated below a part of the elevated private courtyards of the dwellings of the surrounding block.

The Ensanche only has limited green spaces and the Jardins de la Torre de les Aigües is therefore very popular with the residents of the neighborhood. One might think that the immediate neighbors of the block would be annoyed by the noise of joyful people and kids at play right in their backyard, but apparently NIMBYism is not a big issue in Barcelona…

The design is by Ribas and Arrilola and the artwork is by Llimós. The space was created in 1987.


Above the swimming pool, there is a view to the courtyards and balconies of the surrounding dwellings


Who would think that this gateway leads to one of the most popular public green spaces of the Ensanche area of Barcelona?


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