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Must-see Modernist buildings

Cultura Culture 29/06/2023

Modernism is an artistic and cultural movement that arose in Europe at the end of the 19th century, until the beginning of the 20th century. This movement spread a lot in Catalonia and acquired its own personality and differentiated from the rest of Europe, this allows us to find different manifestations of this current throughout the Catalan territory, especially in architecture, since the Catalan high bourgeoisie saw this new modality architecture a way to modernize, express your identity and show your wealth. The most outstanding Catalan geniuses of the modernist style were Antoni Gaudí, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch, among others. Many of his works have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In Barcelona we can find a large number of representative buildings of Modernism. If you like this architectural style and want to visit all the must-sees on the Modernisme Route, here is our list of must-sees with some details:

The "Quadrat d'Or"
It is the well-known area of l'Eixample where we find the highest concentration of modernist buildings in the city, it is considered an open-air museum where we find:

1. The Block of Discord , the famous set of buildings located on Paseo de Gràcia between Aragó and Consell de Cent streets, made up of:
  • La Pedrera or Casa Milà: It was commissioned to Gaudí in 1905 as a house for the gentlemen Milà-Segimon
  • Casa Batlló: It is considered one of Gaudí's most original works and the project was to reform the home of the textile businessman Josep Batlló. It is said that its façade represents the famous legend of Sant Jordi.
  • Casa Amatller: This work was commissioned by the chocolatier Antoni Amatller from Puig i Cadafalch.
  • Casa Lleó Morera: it was a comprehensive reform project commissioned by Francesca Morera i Ortiz in 1902 to the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

2. Casa de les Punxes or Casa Terrades : an apartment building that imitates the shape of medieval castles. The architect Puig i Cadafalch unified the three properties of the Terrades sisters to create this imposing construction that stands out occupying an entire triangular block.
  • Av. Diagonal, 420
  • Unfortunately, the interior of the building cannot be visited, but you can see its entire exterior façade, which is the most impressive.

3. The Fundació Antoni Tapies : the building that houses this foundation of the famous artist was created by Lluís Domenech i Montaner and was the first building in the city that integrated an industrial typology, combining exposed brick with wrought iron. Currently what most attracts attention is the iron sculpture with which Tàpies crowned the façade.

  • C/ d'Arago, 255
  • You can visit the interior of the building by buying a ticket to visit the foundation.

The Holy Family

It is one of the most brilliant examples of Catalan modernism. This religious building was the masterpiece of the wonderful architect Antoni Gaudí, which he turned into his life project.

  • The main entrance is on C/ Marina, on the Nativity façade.
  • It is essential to buy a ticket in advance to visit it.

Sant Pau Modernist Site

This enclosure has been for many years the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. It was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and each pavilion was for a speciality, all surrounded by beautiful gardens.

  • C/ Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167
  • To visit it, it is necessary to buy a ticket, there are different types of visits.

Palace of Music

It was commissioned by the Orfeó Català to Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Its façade is impressive, and its interior and acoustics too.

  • C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6
  • To visit it, you can choose one of its many tickets and discover all the hiding places inside, or buy tickets for a concert and enjoy its wonderful design and music at the same time.

park guell

Eusebi Güell originally entrusted Gaudí with the project of creating an urbanization for wealthy families, but it was not very successful and it remained as a large private garden that Güell gave away for public events. When Güell passed away, the City Council bought the park and made it public.

  • The park has several entrances, but the main entrance with the stairs and the “trencadís” dragon is located on C/ Olot.
  • There is a part of the surroundings that is freely accessible, but to visit the central area of the park, it is necessary to buy a ticket.

Palau Guell

This palace was the first great work of Antoni Gaudí, commissioned by his patron Eusebi Güell, it was intended to be the city house of the Güell family.

  • C/ Nou de la Rambla, 3-5.
  • To access it is necessary to buy a ticket in advance.

Vicens House

It was Gaudi's first masterpiece, it was built between 1883 and 1885 as a summer house for the Vicens family. In it you could already appreciate the great talent of the architect.

  • C/ de les Carolines, 20-26
  • You have very original ticket options, it is necessary to buy a ticket to be able to visit it.

If you are looking for an even more complete route, we recommend that you consult this page of the Barcelona City Council on the Modernist Route