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A community art centre built around Barcelona’s Roman wall with thermae from the 1st century

Catalonia’s capital discovers the new Pati Llimona community and art centre, after two years of renovation and enlargement works. The centre shows 17 metres of the Roman wall circling the old Barcino, which are integrated in the building. It also displays the wall’s gate facing the sea. Excavations have also unveiled thermae from the 1st century AC, which are on display together with other remains. The new Pati Llimona will focus its cultural activity mainly on photography.


14 March 2012 11:54 PM


ACN / Anna Veciana

Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona has unveiled a new community art centre hosting 17 metres of the old Roman Wall, as well as other architectonic elements and remains from the old Barcino. After two years of renovation and enlargement work, which also adapted the centre for other activities, the new Pati Llimona was unveiled on Thursday. Located in the middle of the Gothic Quarter of the Catalan capital, just behind the Town Hall, the new building is an architectonic exercise of integrating remains from Roman times with a building from the 19th century, through elements and techniques from the 21st century. The work consisted in merging the former community centre with an adjacent building in Regomir Street. The new cultural and social facility is organised across 800 square metres on six different floors, with a courtyard in the middle. The new Pati Llimona community centre will focus its cultural activity on photography.

17 metres of the Roman wall from the 4th century are on display, together with one of its circular towers, located on one side of the wall gate facing the sea. The gate, which is on display, was on the Roman Decumanus Maximus, the thoroughfare going from East to West, and it was in direction of the city\u2019s port. Furthermore, the renovation work led to the discovery of thermal baths from the 1st century, as well as several objects \u2013such as amphorae- and other architectural elements. The thermae include a water pool with inside stairs, separation walls, wall paintings, and water pipes.

They allow for a better understanding of Barcelona in Roman times \u2013called Barcino\u2013 and its commercial dynamics, where the port played an important role. In addition, a section of ceiling from a building from the 19th century have also been found, and integrated in the structure.

The project cost \u20AC5.5 million. Not only has the work focused on the renovation of architectural elements, but new spaces and facilities have been created: an analogical photography laboratory, a photo set, meeting rooms, computer rooms, class rooms, a conference room, a space for children, a toy and multimedia library, and offices for the municipal district.

Work began in 2009. Over the last 2 years, the façade of the building located on number 7 Regomir Street has been renovated. Integrating the old façade and architectural elements has led to the construction of new floors, and they have connected the new spaces with the former community centre. During the entire process, archaeological work was carried out, unveiling 17 metres of the Roman wall, one of the wall\u2019s circular towers, and thermae from the 1st century. Furthermore, a small chapel devoted to Saint Christopher located on the street, in the middle of both buildings, has also been renovated.

One of the architects that participated in the renovation process said that the greatest difficulty was \u201Cto sew a new building with all the old remains\u201D. Barcelona\u2019s Councilman for Culture, Jaume Ciurana, said that the community centre is located under a site 2,000 years old, and people have to appreciate that. He also praised the architectural work developed to integrate the different elements and he hoped it can be of future use for other architects and town planners.  


  • The new Pati Llimona integrates 17 metres of the Roman walls circling the old Barcelona (by A. Veciana)

  • The new Pati Llimona integrates 17 metres of the Roman walls circling the old Barcelona (by A. Veciana)