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Barcelona’s Top 10 : Modernista Buildings

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  1. Sagrada Família

    Dizzying spires and intricate sculptures adorn Gaudí’s magical masterpiece. Construction began at the height of Modernisme, but is still in progress more than a century later.

  2. La Pedrera

    This amazing apartment block, with its curving façade and bizarre rooftop, has all of Gaudí’s architectural trademarks. Especially characteristic are the wrought-iron balconies and the ceramic mosaics decorating the entrance halls.

  3. Palau de la Música Catalana

    Domènech i Montaner’s magnificent concert hall is a joyous celebration of Catalan music. Ablaze with mosaic friezes, stained glass, ceramics and sculptures, it displays the full glory of the Modernista style. The work of Miquel Blay on the façade is rated as one of the best examples of Modernista sculpture in Barcelona. 

  4. Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau

    In defiant contrast to the Eixample’s symmetrical grid-like pattern, this ambitious project was planned around two avenues running at 45-degree angles to the Eixample streets. Started by Domènech i Montaner in 1905 and later completed by his son in 1930, the hospital pavilions are lavishly embellished with mosaics, stained glass and sculptures by Eusebi Arnau. The octagonal columns with floral capitals are inspired by those in the Monestir de Santes Creus, to the south of Barcelona. 

  5. Fundaciò Tàpies

    With a rationally plain façade alleviated only by its Mudéjar-style brick work, this austere building, dating to 1886, was originally home to the publishing house Montaner i Simon. It bears the distinction of being the first Modernista work to be designed by Domènech i Montaner, which explains why it has so few of the ornate decorative touches that distinguish his later works. Home to the Fundaciò Tàpies, it is now dominated by an enormous sculpture by the contemporary Catalan artist, Antoni Tàpies.

  6. Casa Batllò

    Illustrating Gaudí’s nationalist sentiments, Casa Batllò, on La Mansana de la Discòrdia, represents an allegory of the legend of Sant Jordi. The roof is the dragon’s back and the balconies, sculpted in the form of carnival masks, are the skulls of the dragon’s victims. The polychrome façade reveals Gaudí’s remarkable use of colour and texture.

    • Pg de Gràcia 43

    • Open 9am–8pm daily

    • Adm €16.50

    • DA

    Chimneys and rooftop, Casa Batllò
  7. Casa Amatller

    The top of Casa Amatller’s ochre-white façade bursts into a brilliant display of blue, cream and pink ceramics with burgundy florets. Architect Puig i Cadafalch’s exaggerated decorative use of ceramics is typical of Modernisme. Tours describe the neo-medieval vestibule, and include a slide show in Amatller’s former photography studio.

    • Pg de Gràcia 41

    • Tours & temporary exhibition: 10am–8pm Mon–Sat, 10am–3pm Sun; tours noon Mon–Fri

    • Free

    • DA

  8. Palau Güell

    This palace is a fine example of Gaudí’s experiments with structure, especially the use of parabolic arches to orchestrate space. Also remarkable is the use of unusual building materials, such as ebony and rare South American woods.

  9. Casa de les Punxes (Casa Terrades)

    Taking Modernisme’s Gothic and medieval obsessions to extremes that others seldom dared, Puig i Cadafalch created this imposing, castle-like structure between 1903 and 1905. Nicknamed the “House of Spines” because of its sharp, needle-like spires rising up from conical turrets, its true name is Casa Terrades. The flamboyant spires contrast with a façade that is, by Modernista standards, sparsely decorated.

    • Diagonal 416

    • Closed to public

    Casa de les Punxes
  10. Casa Lleò Morera

    Ironwork, ceramics, sculpture and stained glass come together here in a synthesis of the decorative and fine arts. The interior of this house, by Domènech i Montaner, has some superb sculptures by Eusebi Arnau and some of the finest Modernista furniture in existence.

    • Pg de Gràcia 35

    • Closed to public

    Stained-glass windows, Casa Lleò Morera

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