The fantastic architecture known as Modernisme comes from the turn of the last century. Many visitors can’t wait to see the Gaudi buildings, especially the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) church and the two famous works on Passeig de Gracia – La Pedrera and Casa Batllo.
UNESCO has given World heritage status to several works from this period (1890 to 1920) – seven works by Antonio Gaudi and two important works by Lluis Domenech i Montaner – La Palau de la Musica and the Hospital Sant Pau complex. Josep Puig i Cadafalch and is another award winning architect from this period. He designed Casa Amatller, which stands next door to Antonio Gaudi’s Casa Batllo. The beautiful Casa Lleo Morera designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner is on the same block on the corner.
Many works of these three architects are found through the Exiample area of the city, and some like the Palau de la Musica and the Palau Guell were built in the old part of the city.
You will find modernisme throughout the city. Wrought iron balconies, sculptured facades, beautiful wooden doors. You can take tours of some buildings, having lunch or dinner in others, or go shopping. Look out for the characteristic ceramic tiles, brass door knockers, stained glass, modernist lamps or sculptures that adorn so many of the buildings. The modernist period coincides with the extension of the city beyond the old city walls. It was a period of great industrial wealth that has left a stunning legacy.
During weekends and holiday periods you will face long queues or delays if buying tickets online. Plan ahead and be ready to consider alternatives. Some buildings attract the crowds, whilst others are less noticed. Casa Amatller opened to the public in 2016 and has a great cafe out the back. Casa Vicens opens to the public September 2017.
Modernisme and Museums
The Caixa Forum near Plaza Espanya is housed in a former factory from this period. It is well worth a visit, has a great cafe and offers interesting exhibitions. The Tapies Foundation on Career Arago, between P. De Gracia and Rambla Catalunya was built for a publishing company. Striking from the outside, it is also worth a visit to explore the works of Antonio Tapies.