The Ciutat de Repòs i Vacances (City of Rest and Holidays) in Tarragona is a residential and sports complex owned by the Government of Catalonia providing leisure and holidays for workers, which also acts as a conference and convention venue. It covers about 14 hectares on both sides of the N-340 road, north of Tarragona. The plot is on a slope with a gentle gradient towards the sea, fragmented by the road and the railway track.


The project, which is scheduled within a master plan, includes the transformation and restoration of the social building, the replacement of the apartments and the adaptation of the development in an operation to improve the natural environment surrounding the buildings.


The social building, which undergoes a profound transformation, retains its basic organisational design and the characteristic stone watchtower that is part of the place’s history. The relationship between the interior and exterior spaces was reconsidered, and the building is given esplanades and terraces on the edge of the forested area.


The apartments are grouped in two-storey units organised around an open wooded courtyard, which in addition to providing insulation, a microclimate and extensive façade areas, fosters relationships between the occupants. The gaps between the higher apartments create usable outdoor spaces and provide views from the streets at a higher level, so that there is no movement between adjoining façades. The plan is identified with references to traditional expressive forms and Mediterranean-style groups of housing.

The plan involves the systematic replanting of indigenous plants, so that the residential area becomes a living example of the place’s wildlife, linked to the protected sand dune area of Llarga beach.

Project: Adolf Martínez / Josep Lluís Sisternas, architects MSA+A

Collaborators: Enric Silvestre, architect. Toni Ramis, architect MSA+A

Execution director: Berta de Roda, José Maria Forteza, Itziar Mañá, technical architects

Structure: Gerardo Rodríguez, engineer Static

Installations: Josep Boltaina, engineer. Yolanda Boto, architect MSA+A

Developer: Department of Labor. Government of Catalonia

Built area: 11.546 m²

Chronology: Design, 1988-1993; Construction, 1989-1995

Photography: Raimon Ramis