Aragó street, so narrow and smoky on top of it

One of the first serious urban conflicts had been staged on Aragó street.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
22 March 2023 Wednesday 15:41
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Aragó street, so narrow and smoky on top of it

One of the first serious urban conflicts had been staged on Aragó street. Ildefons Cerdà designed a street much wider than the traditional ones in the Eixample with its 20 meters; he foresaw that the great railway link would be concentrated along such a street, but it was not taken seriously.

The owners and the City Council fought to narrow it until they achieved it. The recessed façade of the Concepció parish church is the only one that shows its cut-out width.

When the moment of truth inevitably arrived and it turned out that Cerdà was right, the owners and the City Council got involved in a bitter dispute: both recognized that the trains had to run through an open trench, but neither wanted to pay for the size of the train. spent. Then the energetic stingy impulse emerged, also on both sides: to run at ground level.

I don't even want to think about what the brutal attack of such an important double railway track would have meant for the elegant Passeig de Gràcia.

Fortunately, the arbitration of an equitable man was requested: José de Echegaray, who in addition to Nobel was a civil engineer. And he ruled that he had to circulate through a trench paid for by the City Council.

Once the problem was resolved, Aragó Street now had two narrow roads and some narrower sidewalks. The trench was protected by a stone railing; it looked solid, though it wasn't quite so. The proof is that from time to time accidents occurred due to the increasing increase in motorized and poorly driven vehicles.

The one accurately captured by the photographer proves it: the car was leaving the Barcelona Auto garage, located at number 208, between Aribau and Muntaner, when a wrong action by the driver caused this brutal and dangerous attack.

The new profile of this railway street, with its unbreathable smoke that blackened the facades, made it lose category, and it then began to attract this type of rather prosaic services, rather than attractive shops. Like the neighboring garage and warehouse of the manufacturer and broker Paco Abadal, designed with style by the architect Enric Sagnier; or the avant-garde Service Station; or the publishing house Montaner i Simon.