CLEAVE is a mixed use project in the Sant Martí de Provençals neighborhood in Barcelona. With the footprint of an entire city block, CLEAVE addresses the chamfered condition of the typical Cerda block of Barcelona (an historically highly planned characteristic meant to encourage pedestrian interaction) through hyperbole.
The project is composed of three distinct parts: a thin, delicate base, a series of massive intersecting chamfered volumes leaning outward from the center, and screens emerging from the ground level that echo the form language of the volumes above. The base is composed of three stacked bands, kinked in plan to create two large, exaggeratedly chamfered plazas, and then kinked again vertically to create three lifted entries into the block’s center, allowing the pedestrian to pass through the block to the other side (unlike the conventional block,which closes off its center to the public). The chamfered volumes above speak to a morphology that is geometrically precise, yet somewhat geological, as synthetic in their form as quarried stones. Their massive scale addresses the urban condition, stretching up to attain a height of thirteen stories.
As they cleave outward towards the street and away from the center, they create large overhangs at the pedestrian level below, introducing an element of scalar intimacy. This intimacy is underscored by perforated screens, formed from shadow projections of the volumes above, which curl up from the ground to shift in plan and crawl up the sides of the building with varying levels of visual porosity, bringing the form language of the massive volumes down to the ground at human scale. The use of the projective screens unites the three elements and introduces multiplicity and layering to the urban experience of the project--from the street, to the sidewalk, to the space between screens, to the plaza, to the center of the block, and then into the building.