Barcelona Photoblog: architecture
Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts

December 11, 2015

Crypt Pillars and Ceiling at Sagrada Familia Cathedral

Close your eyes and think about architecture, try to establish a pattern of what is something astonishingly beautiful for you and for people in general and I am sure that when you open them again you will hardly come even closer to what Antoni Gaudi should have had in his mind when he created these beautiful pillars and that odd ceiling for his Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Who would have thought of such daring strange shapes then, by the end of the XIX century and who can think of them right now unless you take a computer and use an advanced software to calculate mathematical possibilities for architectural impossibles.

July 28, 2014

Barcelona Buildings Main Entrance: Rambla Catalunya

Main Entrance Hall at Casa Modernista in Rambla Catalunya, Barcelona

Barcelona map is studded with numerous emblematic casas modernistas. 

Sumptuous Barcelona modernist buildings with exquisite main entrances, built by renowned Catalan Art Nouveau artists along Rambla Catalunya or Passeig de Gracia are a pleasure to the eyes of those who take the time to stop and snoop inside.

This modernist house is a good example. You can find it at Rambla Catalunya near Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.

That polished floor, the elaborate ironwork and the old elevator so well preserved, make you feel as if you were traveling in time somehow.

Another nice entrance you can admire for example is at the Palau del Baro de Quadras

Here is a list of modernist houses to start your tour or check this previous post: Modernist Building, Rambla Catalunya 61 next to Arago St.

March 27, 2014

Catalan Modernist Ceiling at Hospital de Sant Pau to Celebrate Barcelona Photoblog's 2.000.000 visits!

This is one of the ceilings inside one of the many pavilions in the modernist complex at Hospital de Sant Pau.

All buildings have been restored  and opened to the public inside a complex called Recinte Modernista. Now a small fee is charged to enter and admire these beauties reborn.

This and other pictures I have, were taken with a cellphone and do not make justice to the real thing. The impression I get when I take a look at the result of such magnificent restoration is that everything has turned back to be like brand new, as if the hands of the skillful craftsmen had been working on those mosaics and those stain glasses yesterday.

A whole range of architectural wonder has been unveiled for all the world to see.

(By the way, I am happy to announce that today Barcelona Photoblog has reached 2.000.000 visits since it first saw light back in 2006. It's been years of hard work and of meeting very nice people here at the blog. I hope you have enjoyed it somehow. That really means something to me. Thanks to all those that made this incredible figure come true, thanks for your time and your comments. Happy to share my modest work with you all)

Update: In 2017 Barcelona Photoblog reached almost the 3 M figure but I decided to stop using the website that kept track of my visits.

December 19, 2013

Palau Baro de Quadras - Ramon Llull Institute's Brand New Headquarters

Built between 1904 and 1906, Palau Baro de Quadras, is a beautiful sample of Catalan modernisme. This palace was designed by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch for Baro de Quadras (baron of Quadras). The building's main entrance is at Avinguda Diagonal 373, where you can appreciate a very elaborate façade of European Gothic influence blended with Neo-Plateresque style.

From across the street you seem to be standing before a Renaissance Italian palazzo rich in lattice work. Worth mentioning are the gargoyles and floral adornments on this side of the palace. On carrer Roselló there is a backdoor entrance. That side, features a Modernista style with some hints of the Wiener Sezession school (Vienna Art Nouveau or Jugendstil).

This emblematic place was known till last October as Casa Asia, which is a public cultural institution devoted to the promotion of projects to strengthen relationships with that continent and that is going to inaugurate its new premises inside Hospital de Sant Pau's modernist complex. For those who don't know, the old Art Nouveau buildings there have been restored and will be used for other services.

Palau Baro de Quadras has been donated by the City Town Hall to Ramon Llull Institute. As part of their mutual collaboration, the City Council will integrate in the institute's consortium with the intention of participating in the international promotion of Barcelona and Catalonia.

Institut Ramon Llull is a public body created to foster Catalan language studies at international universities and to promote Catalan cultural production in all artistic areas.

But let's return to our palace. Notice in the image above, the stairway to the upper floor. Upon entering through either the main gate or the backdoor, you arrive to this place which has a small fountain to the right over a beautiful mosaic floor. Besides the profuse adornments surrounding the stairs, you really ought to see the stained glass ceiling that is slightly shown in the upper part of the photo. Some other day I will show you the gallery in the second floor and other details of this wonderful building so well preserved.

I hope you enjoyed yet another Barcelona photo here at Barcelona Photoblog. Perhaps you want to check this previous post about Palau Baro de Quadras.

But to know a place you need to see it for yourself and not just an image. Take a look at this very short video with slides that show the whole palace.

December 03, 2013

Casa Comalat Backside at Carrer Corsega 316, Barcelona

Casa Comalat: Balcony and Windows

Casa Comalat is one of those secret places of Barcelona everyone would like to discover but sadly it is closed to the public. This Modernista house has two completely different sides which have been featured in Barcelona Photoblog in the past. There is the front side, magnificent, full of adornments, but sober in comparison with the backside façade, at carrer Corsega 316, which I find much more interesting and attractive.

But before we start, you should know some facts: The building is named after the its proprietor, Sr. Comalat, a moneylender that commissioned it to architect Salvador Valeri i Pupurull (1873-1954). Salvador Valeri built a house that is slightly different to other Modernista houses of the times, very rich in ornaments, very decorative, it became a perfect sample of Late Modernisme. Maybe you need a video to fully comprehend what Late Modernisme looked like and to discover what only a local Barcelona TV has unveiled, the inner secrets of Casa Comalat. The video is not in English but you really ought to watch it.

With regards to the Barcelona photo of the day, Casa Comalat Backside, you can appreciate the elaborate  ceramics on balconies and windows by artist Lluís Bru i Salelles and the over-undulating shapes framing wood blinds for the first time in Modernisme. Rigalt i Granell, a renown company at that time, was in charge of the stained glass works. Certainly, never backsides were so much better than front doors.

Previous posts:
Art Nouveau Balconies

October 23, 2013

Casa Comalat: Art Nouveau Balconies

Casa Comalat Barcelona: Balcony

Casa Comalat is the most emblematic modernist house by Catalan architect, Salvador Valeri. This jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau, has two façades, the main entrance facing Av. Diagonal and the rear at carrer Roselló.

At first sight, nobody could tell the two of them belong to the same building if it were not for the intense use of undulated shapes and exuberant decoration, prominent features in the work of this artist.

Built between 1909 and 1911, the house inevitably reminds you of the strong influence of Gaudi's famous curves upon the artists of his times.

In the image today, there is only a balcony, as both sides of the house have been covered here in Barcelona Photoblog in the past (Avinguda Diagonal - Casa Comalat and Catalan modernisme: Casa Comalat).

Of course, this is not any kind of balcony as you can appreciate in the extremely beautiful and whimsical shapes of this wrought ironwork. I could tell you about the fabulous doorway, the gallery defiantly protruding from the façade crowned by an impressive pinnacle or about the shape of the turret on top of the building, or what is more, we could be talking for hours about the wooden galleries and the delightful ceramics on the other side of Casa Comalat, that are not precisely what you would choose to adorn the back side of anything, in the sense that, on that part, you feel like you are about to enter the Candy house in Hansel and Gretel fairy tale but why not concentrating on the details of this single balcony and let imagination fly. I took more pictures that will eventually appear on this blog, so do not miss them. Thanks for your time.

February 08, 2013

Barcelona's Twin Towers


Barcelona's Twin Towers, called 'Las Torres Gemelas' in Spanish, are tied for the tallest buildings in the city. At 154 metres tall, the Torre Mapfre (on the right) and the Hotel Arts (on the left) look over the Catalan capital from their location by the beach at Port Olímpic. The Torre Mapfre is owned by insurance company Mapfre and is home to their offices, as well as those of several other companies. Its sister, the Hotel Arts, is quite different as it is one of the city's most luxurious hotels. Many a celebrity has been known to stay in one of the Hotel Arts' 483 rooms that overlook Barcelona's beaches.

Photo is courtesy of Oh-Barcelona

March 05, 2012

Gallery on Building by Enric Sagnier, Gran Via 654, Barcelona

Gallery, Enric Sagnier, Gran Via 654, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Eclectic building influenced by Catalan Art Nouveau but rich in baroque ornaments built by Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia back in 1904. Notice the beautiful undulated shapes of the stone gallery and the impressive ironwork of the balconies. You can find this building at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 654 exactly between Carrer Roger de Lluria and Carrer de Pau Claris.

January 22, 2012

The New Skyline of Barcelona: Corruption and Hedonism

Barcelona New Hotels [enlarge]

Near the forum area and Diagonal Mar, new hotels and office buildings see the light of day like flowers in the spring. Once, we were told that the height of new buildings would be controlled in order to respect traditional Catalan architecture in the city. There were times when only Hotel Arts and Mapfre Tower overlooked the sea, as solitary twins down there by the beach. I am not sure if they ever passed the law but it seems that regulations are there to be broken by real estate companies in connivance with prestigious architects and dubious local government representatives and so the story goes, all of a sudden we have a myriad of new tall buildings on the waterfront or along Diagonal Avenue that may be wonderful for touristic revenues and for the city but that have sent the initial good criteria straight down the drain. This modest blogger does like hotels and beautiful skylines but I can't help being astonished at how power tends to corrupt those we vote.

December 20, 2011

Catalan Modernisme: Cal Calixto, 26 Calle de la Diputación, Sant Sadurni D'Anoia

Stained Glass balcony at Cal Calixtus house, Sant Sadurni D'Anoia

This beautiful balcony partly covered in stained glass can be admired on a house at 26 Calle de la Diputación in Sant Sadurni D'Anoia not far away from Cavas de Freixenet, the renown Catalan cava cellars. This is the exact spot in town to find Cal Calixtus (1885) which is the name of this beautiful sample of Catalan modernisme.

November 22, 2011

Gaudi Chimneys: The Amazing Surreal Shapes of Catalan Art Nouveau

Amazing Chimneys on the roof of Casa Mila or La Pedrera building by Antoni Gaudi
Chimneys by Gaudi - Casa Mila aka La Pedrera's Roof

When you step into Casa Mila's rooftop, you enter a surreal realm of uncanny figures begotten in the womb of some eerie creature or conceived in the unfathomable labyrinth of a very insane but wise mind, figures that remind alien chrysalids about to eclose or deceiving chess pieces that seem to move ominously behind your back.

Apparently they are only chimneys but definitely there is something mysterious about them, as if they had been alive and were now under some spell. Some may resemble totems, others look vigilant towards the horizon like soldiers watching from the battlements of some medieval castle. Many interpretations are possible here. Whatever your appreciation is in the end, you certainly will not remain indifferent.

August 29, 2011

Las Arenas in Barcelona, From Bullring to Shopping Center

Las Arenas Shopping Mall by Richard Rogers

Inaugurated back in March, 2011 Las Arenas de Barcelona shopping center that arose from the "ashes" of an old bullring is clearly one the best examples of modern architecture in Barcelona.

I took some more pictures of the surroundings and from above that I will post someday but not too many of the building as such. Maybe this link to a gallery published in the Guardian portraying Las Arenas before and after helps.

A long time ago, when this project was starting I published a couple of images where you could see the whole building held above the ground by a steel framework: Las Arenas bullring in Plaça Espanya and Las Arenas: A Historic Barcelona Bullring to Become a Leisure Center. The posts are so old that some links are not working.

Learn more about this project's architect, Richard Rogers.

Las Arenas has 105.000 sq meters of retail and leisure. 12 movie theaters. A fully equipped gym, including a jogging track. A wonderful 360 degree platform around the dome to enjoy one of the best panoramic views of Barcelona city, especially Plaza España and the fountains of Montjuic.

I suppose the place will be crammed packed for La Merce celebrations in September.

Find here the Las Arenas shopping centre's main site, unfortunately just in Spanish.

March 11, 2011

La Pedrera or Casa Mila: Inner Court and Air Shaft

La Pedrera or Casa Mila: Inner Court and Air Shaft [enlarge]

Casa Mila also known as La Pedrera, by Antoni Gaudi, as seen from above is a magnificent sample of fully functional organic Art Nouveau design. Notice the undulated eaves, the arched attic walls that used to hold the washrooms, the small windows not always at the same level to allow ambient light and provide ventilation for the laundry and the peculiar inner court and air shaft of the building. Perhaps you would get the mood better if you admired La Pedrera in this video on YouTube about modernista architecture in Barcelona.

February 21, 2011

Faculty of Medicine, Carrer Casanova, Barcelona, Spain

Faculty of Medicine, Carrer Casanova, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Although the Faculty of Medicine is located at present in carrer Casanova and has been there since 1906, the original premises were originally (1843) at carrer Carmen where the Royal Academy of Medicine is now. The 1906 building by architect Josep Domenech i Estapa, is a good example of eclectic classicism. This is a detail of the frieze that gives the building this magnificent look from every possible angle along Casanova street. Worth mentioning is the beautiful cloister inside. Notice the rhomboid figure with a hand inside to the right on the frieze: these are masonic symbols. You can check other pictures of the faculty in this album at Universitat de Barcelona official site

January 30, 2011

Modernist Building, Rambla Catalunya 61 next to Arago St.

Modernist Building, Rambla Catalunya 61 next to Arago St.

Newly restored modernist building on the corner of Rambla Catalunya and Carrer Arago.

Located exactly at Rambla Catalunya 61 this apartment building with offices to rent (I have seen one with 150 square meters advertised for 2500 EUR/month!) immediately grabs our attention for that interesting combination of undulated balconies, exuberant ironwork and glass covered galleries.

I think you should examine this Eixample quarter Art Nouveau gem closer in Google street view: Modernist House Rambla Catalunya 61.

January 20, 2011

Casa Batlló: Masked Balconies

Mask Balconies at Casa Batllo by Gaudi, Barcelona

To stay in Barcelona without visiting Casa Batlló is like being in Paris and forgetting about the Eiffel tower, with all due respect to Sagrada Familia and Sacre Coeur respectively.

The famous house designed by Gaudi is so, let's say, 'different' that tiptoeing her is almost a sacrilege.

Besides the exquisite trencadis (shattered tiles) on the façade, the balconies are like carnival masks, concealed faces watching upon passersby.

The whole building has more to do with patterns we usually find in nature than with man's rationale, like the peculiar contours of the roof that simulate some sort of scaly skin as that of a lizard or a snake, or why not, a dragon, or the impossible arches and oval windows in the lower floors deprived of everything that recalls a straight line.

I tried to apply some symmetry at the moment of framing the picture but it was certainly pretty hard.

Here is a previous post about Casa Batllo.

January 11, 2011

An Exclusive Bird's Eye View on Barcelona: Diagonal 00

Diagonal 00, Barcelona - Telefonica S.A Headquarters [enlarge]

As covered by Barcelona Photoblog in a previous post, the skyline of Barcelona is experiencing a drastic change and the waterfront is no longer spilled with industrial warehouses or fishermen shacks. The explosion of high rise buildings is evident and it is not strange to listen to testimonies of tourists that have enjoyed a wonderful view from one of those state-of-the-art hotels or employees that have the privilege of working in brand new company headquarters facing the sea and surrounded by an idyllic neighborhood. Such is the case of gravity defiant Diagonal 00, Telefonica's flagship head office, a sort of modern Flatiron building in Europe. I am sure that staff working on top floors must have an impressive panorama in front of them every morning, almost like a bird's eye view considering the rest of our urban perimeter is quite flat.

By the way, today I would like to recommend this fantastic video in 3D about Barcelona city in which you have the opportunity to virtually travel on bird's eye view mode over several Barcelona hallmarks. In fact, the video is the result of Oh-Barcelona staff efforts to introduce more advanced visual technologies like 3D in the world of city maps and travel guides. I hope you enjoy the trip!

December 09, 2010

La Pedrera: The Gaudinian Mastery of Geometry

Roof detail of Casa Mila - La Pedrera by Gaudi

Antoni Gaudi, a genius of architecture and superlative artist dominated geometry like few others.

In modern times he would certainly be working in the video game industry as a designer creating 3D virtual worlds with due respect to the obvious differences of course.

This is the roof of renown Casa Mila, which is, together with Casa Batllo and Sagrada Familia, one of the best samples of Gaudinian creative and geometry aware imagination.

In black and white the lines are more evident as in some sort of charcoal sketch.

November 22, 2010

Diagonal 00 Tower Reflected on Barcelona Forum Mirror

Diagonal 00 Tower Reflected on Barcelona Forum Mirror [enlarge]

Architectural abstraction showing brand new Diagonal 00 tower reflected on one of the many mirrors hanging from the Forum building in Barcelona. My daughter says people will not tell what is what here but I trust your imagination. Anyway this is about shapes. Have a nice new week everyone!

November 15, 2010

Skyscrapers in Barcelona: Diagonal 00, The New Telefonica Headquarters

Diagonal 00 or ZERO ZERO, The Telefonica Head Office, Barcelona, Spain

It is no secret that Barcelona skyline is changing, specially near the coast. Even locals are surprised when in just a year interval they come across new skyscrapers here and there. That's precisely what happened to me today. What was just a small rhomboid base with three or four floors and a bunch of workers had turned into a magnificent jewel of modern architecture, fragile in appearance, with no pillars inside but just an exoskeleton, an external framework of beams, defying the strong winds of this esplanade in Barcelona waterfront.

Diagonal 00 located on the corner of Carrer del Taulat and the start of the Avinguda Diagonal, will hold all the administration offices and the future R + D headquarters of Spanish telecommunications company, Telefónica. The rhombus stands next to that small blue triangular building known as the Forum by Herzog and De Meuron, and the Spiraling Tower, designed by Zaha Hadid. Massip-Bosch Arquitectes Studio designed these 24 floors of glass and steel that will rise 110 metres over Barcelona city. It was supposed to be inaugurated this year and I would say they are giving it the final touches by the way it looked today.

Update: Learn more about the final result Diagonal Zero Zero today
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