Catalan Modernisme
Students' Corner

Without a doubt, the presence of Catalan Modernisme is one of Barcelona's most defining and esthetically unique features. Modernisme itself goes beyond architecture; it was a cultural movement championed by Catalan intellectuals, artists and writers who saw cultural revamping of Catalunya as the key to getting the society on par with its European neighbors. It extended to all sorts of disciplines, ranging from literature to plastic arts, ways of thinking and - of course - architecture.

In terms of architecture, Catalan Modernisme is characterized by:

  • Curves instead of straight lines
  • Rich decoration
  • Organic forms derived from nature
  • Experimentation with different mediums and materials: stained glass, ironwork, stone, tile, etc.
  • Ideal blend of bold design and architectural function
  • Vibrant colors
  • Elements of Islamic and Gothic architecture: ceramics, spires, towers, repeated patterns, etc.

Catalan Modernisme in Barcelona: Architects & Buildings

Antoni Gaudí

  • Sagrada Familia
  • Park Güell
  • Casa Milà / La Pedrera
  • Casa Batlló

Lluís Domènech i Montaner

  • Hospital de Sant Pau
  • Palau de la Música Catalana
  • Casa Lleó-Morera
  • Castell dels Tres Dracs

Josep Puig i Cadafalch

  • Casa Martí
  • Palau del Baró de Quadras
  • Casa Amatller
  • Casa Macaya

Illa de la Discòrdia / Block of Discord

This block of the Passeig de Gràcia is a tourist attraction in itself, as it has buildings by Barcelona's three most important architects of Catalan modernisme: Antoni Gaudí, Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch. The three buildings - Casa Batlló (Gaudí), Casa Lleó-Morera (Domènech i Montaner) and Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch) - were all built at the beginning of the 20th century in the modernisme style yet are very distinct from one another due to the very different styles of their respective architects. Casa Batlló is the only one of the three that's opened to the public; the other two are privately owned, but you can venture as far as their lobbies.

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