top of page



Life is full of different symbolisms that are reflected on what we, as humans, have built around us, including the cities we currently inhabit. As we crafted magnificent metropolises, the call of nature gradually faded into the background, replaced by the hustle of the modern city and the constant buzz of machinery. 

The urban expansion has left little room for the green landscapes that once defined our world. Nonetheless, over the course of time, efforts have been made to find a harmony between the urban and the rural. Someone who had this idea very clear at his time was the Catalan engineer and urban planner Ildefons Cerdà, who came up with the famous ‘Plan Cerdà’ which advocated for a balance between urban values ​​and rural advantages, as a way that could have resulted in incorporating more green spaces all around Barcelona.

Amongst all the concrete structures, Barcelona currently holds hidden oasis points scattered throughout the city. One of the most enchanting ones is the Laberint d’Horta Park in the Horta-Guinardó district. Back in 1792, Italian engineer Domenico Bagatti originally designed this park for the estate owner Joan Desvalls.

Today, it stands as one of the city’s oldest parks, still featuring its beautifully preserved gardens. Combining some Neoclassical architecture with a green and live Romantic garden, the park welcomes its visitors with an inscription that alludes to the legendary Labyrinth of Crete, once designed to entrap the mythical Minotaur. 

At the heart of the maze stands a majestic Eros sculpture adding an air of mystique. Among its other charming features are a pavilion with three terraces, a domestic garden, an array of mythological statues, a large pond, a fountain and even a false cemetery. Each of these elements inviting us into a captivating tale.

As we venture inside the labyrinth, we embark on a journey that walks us through a historical narrative full of timeless beauty carrying whispers of the past. This is precisely the magic of storytelling in landscape architecture which lies in the beauty of the design as well as in the connection it fosters between people and their environment. Garden designer Piet Oudolf once said “Nature impresses upon us the greatest feelings”. 

The powerful impact of nature on human emotions and perceptions plays an important role when it comes to the structures that we continually build around us. There are magical and special places in Barcelona in which to ponder and enjoy nature’s embrace, hidden gems scattered throughout the city that invite you to slow down and breathe in the fresh air.

The ambivalence between the taming of nature and its freedom calls for a new pattern of urban planning, one that integrates the human-made with the untamed. The goal would be, designing urban environments that embrace the wildness of nature while keeping the modern-day amenities we enjoy in our cities. 

In line with Cerdà’s original vision, over the past years Barcelona has implemented pedestrian-friendly zones with more green spaces, parks, and public squares as part of its urban planning. The Laberint d’Horta Park serves as one of those oasis amidst the hectic city, a refuge to those seeking a nearby cityscape to be surrounded by architecture, art and beautiful gardens. A picturesque park that offers a perfect serene and harmonious escape.

As we strive to create cities that embrace both the tamed and the free, it’s important to remember that a city’s essence is not only defined by its concrete structures, but also by the green sanctuaries that make it come alive. 


(3) Laberint d'Horta (2023)

bottom of page