Barcelona Architecture Highlights Are Simply Not To Be Missed

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Any trip to Barcelona would not be complete without checking out the impressive Barcelona architecture. One of the world's most famous architects, Antoni Gaudí, created works throughout the city. You'll find that a signature of his buildings is colored tiles and mosaics. Architecture in Barcelona reveals his great use of color, combined, of course, with interesting design and unique stonework.

Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí

Who is Antoni Gaudí?

Antoni Gaudí was born in 1852 in the Catalonian region. He is considered the leader of Catalan Modernism. In addition to his interest in architecture, Gaudí was inspired by nature and religion. Due to his religious influence, you can see different religious iconic images in his work. Some call him "God's architect".

Another interesting feature you can see in Barcelona architecture through Gaudí's work is that he was inspired by the art of the East, and he studied that of India, Persia and Japan. Works such as the Güell Palace, the Güell Pavilions and Casa Vicens reflect this Eastern influence. At a later point in his life, Antoni Gaudí became inspired by the neo-Gothic movement and you can see that influence in some of his other architecture outside of Barcelona like the Episcopal Palace in Astorga and the Casa Botines.

UNESCO has made seven of Gaudí's works into World Heritage Sites. First in 1984, the Park Güell, the Palau Güell and the Casa Milà were bestowed with this special designation. Then later, the Nativity facade, Sagrada Família, the Casa Vicens and the Casa Batlló in Barcelona, along with the Colònia Güell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló all became World Heritage Sites as well. In fact, one of these creations, Sagrada Familia, is one of the most important monuments in all of Spain.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia
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Visiting Sagrada Familia

Gaudí was commissioned to begin work on La Sagrada Família, or the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, in 1883. The work had been previously initiated by his former professor, Francisco de Paula del Villar. Antoni Gaudí focused diligently on this project for more than 40 years until his death in 1926.

This work still is incomplete and is scheduled to be done in 2026. Every tourist interested in Barcelona architecture should see La Sagrada Familia, and actually it is the most visited attraction the entire city! This building is truly breathtaking.

Barcelona architecture - La Pedrera

La Pedrera and its impressive façade

La Pedrera is Another Fascinating Work by Antoni Gaudí

No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to La Pedrera, which is another one of Antoni Gaudí's works. When considering Barcelona architecture, this building is very interesting to study, as it is one of the best examples of the Catalan Art Nouveu period or "Modernista". It is sometimes also called Casa Mila.

La Pedrera was built between 1906-1912. Within La Pedrera is a cultural center that contains exhibitions and some other spaces accessible to the public. At the time of its creation, the design was quite controversial and bold by the standards of Barcelona architecture in the early 1900's.

It has a stone facade made from large blocks of limestone and wrought iron decorating the window and balconies. Also quite innovative for its time was the fact that La Pedrera featured an underground car parking lot.

As a tourist, it is possible to take a tour of this building to learn about its conception. Throughout the building are explanations of how Gaudí handled its creation and what makes it so special. In fact, there is a museum on one of the floors dedicated to Antoni Gaudí.

Park Güell is another must see work of Gaudi

Park Güell is another must see work of Gaudi

Other Must-See Works by Antoni Gaudí

Other essential works to check out include Gaudí's Park Güell, which is a garden located in the Gracia district. Originally conceived as a housing development, it is now a municipal garden full of nature, wildlife, mosaics and innovative architecture.

Casa Batlló was built by Antoni Gaudí betwen 1904-1906. This building has a memorable facade that is both creative and playful. Once a house, Casa Batlló has been converted into a museum that is open to the public. You can find it on the "Block of Discord" where you will find buildings by the city's most famous architects.

When it comes to Barcelona architecture, you will certainly see and hear a great deal about Gaudí, as he is one of the most impressive and unique architects to date. Plus, he has an extremely distinctive and unique styles. While touring throughout the city looking at Barcelona architecture, you will see a great deal of his work. Even if you aren't very knowledgeable about architecture, you will still be quite impressed by what Gaudí achieved during his lifetime.

Barcelona Architecture by Lluis Domenech i Montaner

No discussion of Barcelona architecture could be complete without mentioning Lluis Domenech i Montaner who was the director of the School of Architecture of Barcelona. Montaner was responsible for works of extraordinary beauty including Hospital de Sant Pau, Palau de la Musica Catalana and Casa Lleó Morera.

Barcelona Walking Tour Modernism

Barcelona Walking Tour Modernism

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Hospital de Sant Pau

The hospital was created as an innovative way to boost healthcare in the city. Huge interior spaces were created by means of underground passageways and pavilions. It is unlikely that you will ever see a hospital more beautiful than this one!

Palau de la Musica CatalanaPalau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana (façade)

Palau de la Musica Catalana

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall of extraordinary beauty, with a capacity of 2,015 seats. The building was designed in the Catalan Modernista (Art Nouveau) style, and it was built in 3 years, from 1905 to 1908. It serves as the home of the Orfeó Català, a choral society managing the Palau de la Musica, and a symphonic choir that still performs locally and internationally.

The Palau de la Musica is like a big music box, with a main structure of metal surrounded by stained glass windows and covered by an acoustical, carefully designed stained glass skylight. Besides the extraordinary beauty of this kind of structure, it makes good use of daylight. The building was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

With Palau de la Musica Catalana, Montaner also used high tech architectural solutions. The building showcases glorious sculptures, ceramics, mosaics and ironwork. Don't miss the chance to see this concert hall full of stained glass and other ornate detailed work.

Casa Lleó Morera

The elegance of Casa Lleó Morera

Casa Lleo Morera, a reference in Barcelona architecture

In 1902 the family Lleo Morera commissioned Lluis Domenech i Montaner to refurbish their old building from 1864, known as Casa Rocamora. The old house was completely remodeled with the genius of Montaner by using new and different materials, until this impressive work was finished in 1906.

This is another extraordinary work of Modernist architecture where you can appreciate details of stained-glass windows, diverse mosaics, ceramic works, as well as other materials. This jewel of Modernism is located in the known “block of discord” in the Eixample district, on Passeig de Gracia 35.