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Bac de Roda Bridge

The slender outline of the Bac de Roda Bridge, known locally as the Calatrava Bridge, marks the border between two districts of Barcelona city: Sant Andreu and Sant Martí. It was built between 1985 and 1987, at the crossroads of the Carrer Felip II and the Carrer Bac de Roda.

The internationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava created this bridge which became one of the landmarks of Barcelona before the Olympics. Calatrava designed the work in his characteristic style: curves, inspired by the lines of the human body, light colours and tensed cables on either side of a bridge adapted to vehicles as well as pedestrians.

An extremely beautiful visual concept spanning the railway line, in a neighbourhood of Sant Andreu, that was a focus of social and urban problems when the bridge was built. This made it necessary to improve and prepare run-down areas by building major engineering works such as this bridge, which led to the reappraisal of these "new Barcelonas" and their integration into the urban fabric.

The real function of the bridge, as a way of getting over the railway lines that separated both districts, is complemented by its symbolic function of lending cohesion to disconnected areas of the city. It is well worth taking a walk across the city bridge that has given an image of modernity to Sant Andreu, and using it as a viewing point showing a neighbourhood with a more human face in the throes of transformation. The beauty of the bridge earned it the 1987 FAD Architecture Prize.

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