Art Nouveau is the world’s last great traditional art movement and it’s nowhere better represented than in Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city. The Capital of Catalonia is truly the peak of everything Art Nouveau. However, Art Nouveau is not a universal art style. Therefore, it comprises several regional variations, including the one that developed in Catalonia: Modernisme Català – Catalan Modernism. Exceptionally colorful and warm, the style incorporates elegant designs and pays special attention to the use of materials.
Antoni Gaudí is Barcelona’s most famous art nouveau architect. Nevertheless, several other masters worked here creating some extraordinary architectural masterpieces, including Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch. Therefore, a plethora of residential buildings, palaces, public venues, churches and parks make Barcelona such an art nouveau wonder! Some of the places to be visited are: Palau Gúell, Palau de la Música, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Casa de les Punxes, Sagrada Família, Hospital de Sant Pau, etc.
Barcelona Art Nouveau
The following tour includes the best buildings of Art Nouveau in Barcelona. The city has such great weather all year round that you can tour them by bike. For such purpose, you will require at least 4 hours. However, if you prefer walking or plan on entering some of the venues, you may need more than just one day.
- Palau Güell
Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5
Gaudí’s first entirely art nouveau building featuring typical elements such as colored chimneys and iron ornaments. The Palace was built as a mansion for the industrial magnate Güell. The building was designed so important people could access it directly with their horse carriages.
- Palau de la Música Catalana
Carrer Palau de la Música, 4-6
This is Lluís Domènech i Montaner’s most important building dedicated to the choral society Orfeó Català. Unlike most art nouveau buildings in Barcelona its style is functional, though still decorative. The centerpiece of the Palace is the majestic Concert Hall covered by an impressive stained glass dome.
- Casa Batlló
Passeig de Gràcia, 43
When the Batlló family bought the building in 1900 they commissioned Gaudí to redesign it. The original building on the site was built by him too, but in a more conservative classical style. It’s Gaudí’s first project without any straight line, with the famous arched roof and dragon like spire.
- Casa Sayrach
Avinguda Diagonal, 423 – 425
Manuel Sayrach i Carreras built Casa Sayrach according to the late art nouveau style. It was influenced by Gaudí, although with a pretty reserved exterior. A tall spire dominates it and there is a continuous first floor and a curved roof. On the other side the interior is lavishly decorated with organic elements.
- Casa Milà
Passeig de Gràcia, 92
This house is Gaudi’s last residential work. In fact, Casa Milà was considered revolutionary because of its exaggerated curves expressed in the marble façade and steel iron balconies. The curves are applied in every dimension and there is no rectangular line. The whole building represents nature.
- Casa Comalat
Avinguda Diagonal, 442 – Carrer Còrsega 316
Another Gaudí influenced building is Casa Comalat, an interesting art nouveau experiment by Salvador Valeri i Pupurull. The house has two different façades. While the main stone façade is more conservative with a regular shape, the rear façade combines different materials and displays many colors.
- Casa de les Punxes
Avinguda Diagonal 416 – 420
In 1905 the Torrades Sisters hired famous architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch to build a monumental building occupying an entire block. The building resembles a gothic structure with a brick façade and tall spires. On the other hand, all the ornaments are actually art nouveau with flower motifs dominating the facade.
- Sagrada Família
Carrer de Mallorca, 401
The unfinished Sagrada Familía is Gaudí’s most spectacular work. The original plan included three façades, with several spires representing the Bible characters. Though it is an art nouveau building, it has a strong Gothic influence. In fact, the impressive decoration forms part of the structure.
- Hospital de Sant Pau
Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167
Another Lluís Domènech i Montaner’s masterpiece, the former Hospital de Sant Pau is one of the largest art nouveau complexes in the world. The main administrative pavilion occupies the central position towards the Sagrada Família. Behind it there is a long square surrounded by 8 similar pavilions.
10. Park Güell
Carrer d’ Olot
To me, Park Güell is Gaudí’s masterpiece blending perfectly architecture and nature. It was rendered as a housing estate with 40 buildings surrounding a park. However, it was converted into a public park with only two buildings executed. The park displays Gaudí’s obsession with organic forms.