PROJECT: Barcelona ‘92 Olympic Games

In recent years, a large number of urban and architectural actions carried out in Barcelona have become a reference of urban intervention worldwide. New public spaces, the rethinking of public buildings, the development of four Olympic areas and the modernization of infrastructure are some of the manifestations in this unprecedented renewal process. 


  • The Barcelona Olympic Games played a critical role instigating various regeneration plans in the city.
  • There was no representive waterfront established which would involve a marina, restaurants, beaches or cultural attractions. 
  • Before the Olympic Games, there was not enough infrastructure to cater for the leading international sporting event.


  • Change from a typical industrial city into an exciting, flexible and cultural core.
  • Improve the urban quality of life
  • Restructure the waterfront and make it open to the public.


  • Barcelona could take advantage of its own qualities and redevelop its existing open spaces.
  • There was 11.400.000 USD available for the renewal of the City.
  • Rich urban and architectural heritage.
  • Barcelona had historical city contours and good potential in the quality of the landscape.


  • Hosting the Olympic Games was used as the driving force in the renewal of the city.
  • Since the nomination, all projects were forced to develop quickly and urgently to a deadline.This led to a change in pace and scale.
  • A strong political and local leadership with flexible planning.
  • The Olympic events were located in the four vertexes of the city.


  • In preparation for the games, a large number of emergency projects needed to be implemented such as squares and schools. Sports infrastructure, conditioning and facilities only represented 9.1% of the total investment in the Olympic Games.
  • The urban planning model spanned from “acupuncture-urban-planning” to large infrastructural developments such as ring roads and an airport which would improve accessibility.
  • Even after the olympics the celebration of a new event in 2004, the Universal Forum of Cultures, allowed a new and larger set of urban changes such as the further transformation of the Olympic Village of Poblenou.


  • In 1989, new road projects influenced an increase of 15% in new green zones and an increase of 78% in beaches.
  • The Games didn’t open an era, but gave continuity to a positive tradition of sudden urban impulses like the Cerdá Plan (1888) and the 1929 Exposition.
  • The Besòs area was totally recovered as it was formerly populated by disused old factories. All of the Poblenou district was completely regenerated and the Diagonal Mar district was newly constructed.
  • The marina port of San Adrian de Besos was built, allowing the Avenida Diagonal to reach the sea.
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Project info




1986 - 1992


Fragmentary actions to recompose strategically the city by recovering existing open spaces. Olympic games facilities integrated into the city


Barcelona, Spain


Switch to a service city composed by new central urban nodes




Private initiative, Spanish state, Regional government and Municipal administration

Waterfront under construction

Waterfront under construction

Waterfront under construction

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