Public spaces are enlivened by temporary uses, particularly where transient structures encourage new types of social interaction and playful interactivity. With this in mind, U-TT was invited in 2014 to design a pavilion at Plaça del Mar in Barceloneta in collaboration with ESARQ-UIC and the Enric Miralles Foundation as part of a citywide commemoration of 300 years of Catalan culture.
Inspired by the children’s game of xarranca (hopscotch), the pop-up structure was intended as a site of play and cultural exchange, evoking the memory of the original fisherman houses or ‘merenderos’ that once stood in the area now reserved for a beachfront promenade. The creation of the pavilion was guided by a participatory ethos, including drawing upon the existing collective knowledge of the neighborhood. Students from ESARQ-UIC informed the design process through in-depth site analysis, public intervention studies, and community engagement. Materials (recycled sails and fishing nets for the canopy) and expertise (knotting techniques to fasten the nets and sails) were sourced directly from local craftsmen, fishermen, and sailors. Similarly, the compressed earth walls, with soil from Catalonia, were built collaboratively via a process involving students and local social collectives.