Can Ribas. Public space and industrial heritage, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Jaime J. Ferrer Fores Architects

Neighbourhood revitalization and preserving the elements of industrial heritage are the aims of this urban project being undertaken in the La Soledat area of Palma, Majorca. Proposal is being developed in several stages after winning the open competition in 2005 and consisting in urban general development, public spaces, industrial heritage restoration and new social housing.

Dedicated to the production of wool blankets, Can Ribas factory was built in 1851 outside the city. Later on in 1945, the factory and peripheral core of La Soledat would be merged into the expansion areas, although in the 1970s after several extensions and transformations, the factory became obsolete and fell into disuse, creating a new barrier that further increased the quarter’s physical isolation. Since it was organized as a closed precinct, the factory of Can Ribas had become a barrier dividing La Soledat into two.

The first phase has already established a public area around the main factory building and the chimney, connecting two empty spaces and eliminating traffic. The factory and the chimney were the only listed elements. For this reason the buildings affected by the new street have been partially demolished. In developing the project, however, the most valuable heritage elements have been recovered and will be integrated into the urban surroundings. The creation of an urban porch in the remaining part of the main building, the steam pavilion and the façade of another one of the warehouses emphasizes the value of this industrial complex that comprised of several pavilions for the different stages of the textile manufacturing process. The new arrangement of the public open spaces is organized by a concrete plinth connecting new Brotad Street with the preserved elements of the factory, generating a richer and more complex space paved with bands of quartzite stone combined with cast concrete slabs.

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