One of the competition sites. Photo by Jordi Salinas

To improve the quality of public space in Barcelona, which will be the World Architecture Capital in 2026, Barcelona City Council and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation, in partnership with UNESCO and the International Union of Architects, are launching a competition for emerging architects to submit proposals to transform the city’s blind walls. The best ideas will be implemented and will receive prizes. The deadline for the competition is August 5.

Stories Editorial June 27, 2024

Barcelona City Council, through the Municipal Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life (IMPU), has counted some 6,000 dividing walls with a strong presence in the city’s public spaces. These are anonymous walls, dividing properties and with no prominence in the exterior appearance of the building, which also generate thermal and construction deficiencies in homes. Of the total number of dividing walls in the city, 348 are permanent and have a surface area of more than 100 square meters. They are dividing walls of buildings that will not disappear since, according to current planning, they will not be covered by other buildings and at the same time confront public spaces, with the visual impact that this entails.


Ten permanent blind walls were selected for the competition, one from each city district, with the greatest impact on the urban environment. The proposals for improving the walls will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • urban quality — the ability to generate new facades for the transformation and improvement of the urban landscape and the reactivation of the ground floors with new openings of the premises and nneighbouring accesses, solving corners or spaces susceptible to bad use;
  • habitability — opening of new windows and balconies that improve the quality of life of residents;
  • sustainability — the incorporation of thermal insulation to increase comfort and improve the energy performance of buildings, or also the installation of photovoltaic capture or other strategies for generating clean energy;
  • biodiversity — the increase in vertical greenery and the creation of new habitats for protected fauna.

The competition is open to young architects under 35 from all over the world. Participants are invited to propose ideas for interventions on one of the ten blind walls according to its typological characteristics, environment, urban conditions, orientation, etc. The deadline for submission of proposals is August 5. For more information on the requirements for each location and participation in the competition, see the competition brief.


All submissions will be evaluated by an international jury of architects and architecture and urban planning professionals from around the world. The jury will choose a winner, as well as a second and third prize for each site. The total prize fund for the competition is 52,500 euros. The winners will be announced on September 25. The authors of the best proposals will be involved as consultants in all phases of the architectural design, working with IMPU and local architectural teams. The transformed walls are expected to be inaugurated in 2026 as part of the World Architecture Capital programme.


More information on the competition on the Barcelona City Council website. The competition is organised by Barcelona City Council and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation (Fundació Mies van der Rohe), in partnership with UNESCO and the International Union of Architects.