Designed by GATCPAC during the Second Republic with the goal of establishing a new housing model that would substantially improve living conditions amongst the working classes.
With the proclamation of the Second Republic (14 April 1931), new approaches to architecture were advocated in line with rationalist trends in Europe. In this context, the Government of Catalonia commissioned the Catalan Group of Architects and Technicians for the Progress of Contemporary Architecture (GATCPAC, founded in 1930) to develop a project to provide decent housing for the working-class population given the acute shortage of housing in Barcelona as a result of the flood of migration of workers in search of work in the metropolitan area’s industry. On 13 March 1933, President Francesc Macià laid the first stone of the Casa Bloc, which was built in several phases until 1936.
It comprised five blocks arranged in the shape of an “S” to foster ventilation and natural light in the 207 duplex apartments measuring between 55 and 77 m2. They consisted of a ground floor with a living-dining room, kitchen, toilet, shower room and terrace, and two or three bedrooms on the upper floor. The ground floor premises were allocated to communal services: swimming pools, gardens, crèches, libraries and consumer cooperatives. With the arrival of the Franco regime, the building was spoiled with the addition of a block in a communal area in 1948, known as the “ghost block”, to accommodate the families of the national police. The south wing was allocated to residences for soldiers’ widows and orphans.
Today, visitors can see a flat in the Casa Bloc as an example of the rationalist architecture promoted by the Republican Government of Catalonia. The tours are run by the Design Museum of Barcelona.
Address: 91-105, Passeig Torras i Bages || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.440859972, 2.190652755