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Barcelona: The Compact City | Spring 2016

International Conference and Chapter Meeting

The Compact City | 14-17 April 2016

Barcelona’s commitment to build new buildings and reinvigorate existing ones continues unabated: projects employ innovative and unique design strategies and range in scale from small interventions to the urban scale. The city has also rallied behind projects previously ignored, such as the completion Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia by 2026. Other notable buildings designed by architects of Catalan Modernisme, have just been restored, including the Hospital of Sant Pau, making the further urban connections to Sagrada Familia and Ildefons Cerda’s city grid of 1850 explicit. 

Barcelona has routinely implemented strategic change at opportune times: the world expositions in 1875, 1929, the 1992 Olympics and the 2004 Barcelona Forum. The most recent interventions in Poblenou and Plaça de les Glòries provide strategic lessons for planners and practitioners to reinvigorate and strengthen urban fabric without ignoring the city’s past. Barcelona exemplifies the ideas of the “compact city” and is in an enviable location adjacent to the Mediterranean. 

Site visits will examine four distinct parts of the city, each offering a unique context. The city has historically been shaped by politics and social opportunity and those continue to be driving forces in the city’s most recent developments. 

— Sophia Gruzdys AIA NCARB


Conference attendees are responsible for booking accommodations. A list of suggested hotels has been assembled by the conference organizers, available here as a PDF. Barcelona also has a very active Airbnb community.

Conference Costs

Member Rates


Non-Member Rates



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