Barcelona is the capital of Modernisme architecture. The most well known architect in the group is Antoni Gaudi but there are many more. Rick Steves makes reference to an historical society that is devoted to restoring, protecting and making Barcelona’s Modernista heritage available to the public; they publish a guide book and map that explores 116 works. As a bibliophile, I wanted to add this to my collection – I try not to buy very many books when I travel because the weight adds up quickly!
The society’s office is only a few blocks off Les Rambles, not far from our hotel. It was tricky to find; it’s in an office building on the 21st floor. I was expecting it to be more of a tourist information center. The people that work there are very friendly and speak pretty fluent English, they were a big help.
Institut Municipal del Paisatge Urbà
Av. Drassanes, 6, 21st Floor
Only labor days from Monday to Friday
from 9am to 2pm
You can also purchase their publications online at:
The Modernista buildings are concentrated in the area of the city between Av Diagonal and Ronda St Pere and along La Rambla. As you wander through the grid of streets in this area you are treated to fanciful and ornate facades.
The Mansana de la Discordia (Block of Discord) is not far from the Plaza Catalunya and is the best place to go if you are short on time. This block contains 3 masterpieces by the 3 main modernista architects: Lluis Domenech i Montaner (on the left) Josep Puig i Cadafalch (center) and Antoni Gaudi (right).
We were able to tour Gaudi’s building, which is included in the next blog in this series; the other 2 buildings were closed. The middle building has a cafe on the street level that was open and we could get a glimpse of the interior. The building was owned by a chocolate manufacturer and Faborit Cafe specializes in chocolate! My kind of place!
After our visit to the Sagrada Familia, we headed up Ave de Gaudi to catch a bus to Parc Guell. The bus stop was outside the walls of the hospital that Gaudi designed. With all the security right now, I could not get inside the gates to photograph it but I was able to get a few interesting shots. The hospital was designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner in 1902.
Here are just a few examples of the wonderful creations you will see. I love the monkey on the front of this building; it houses on of Barcelona’s most famous groceries. The signs are Modernista fire-tinted glazing.