Taking a stroll and taking in the sights of the Eixample Dreta....
Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
C/ Sant Quintí, 89
The buildings of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau aren’t technically in the Eixample Dreta but are very close by. The Hospital de la Santa Creu had been nursing the sick of Barcelona since 1401 when it was set up in Raval in the Old Town. At the beginning of the 20th Century, with Barcelona’s booming population the old hospital simply couldn’t cope with the health needs of the city and a new hospital was commissioned. Pau Gil I Serra, a Catalan banker who had emigrated to Paris, left a hefty amount of money in his will for the building of a new hospital in Barcelona. Gil had only two stipulations; that the hospital should be at the cutting edge of innovation and medical technology and that it should bear his name. And so the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau was born and brought on board to design the new hospital was the famous modernista architect; Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Domènch’s idea was to take inspiration from other European hospitals of the time in having a central building surrounded my separate ‘pavilions’ which, in the case of Hospital de Sant Pau, separated the men and women’s wards with each one assigned a different medical speciality. All these separate building were connected by underground tunnels and surrounded on the outside by gardens making it a unique design in the world at the time. The buildings of the hospital are also decorated with mosaics and frescos showing the story of the hospital from medieval times and also depicting flora and fauna known for its medical uses. The complex was opened in 1930 and in 2000 a new, modern hospital complex was built with all procedures eventually being transferred there. Now the building is undergoing restoration work and has been open to the public so that everyone has the chance to visit this modernista masterpiece.
Between Carrer de Aribau and Passeig de Sant Joan
The Quadrat d’Or (Golden quarter) is an area of the Eixample Dreta, from Carrer Aribau to Passeig de Sant Joan with its nucleus in Passeig de Gràcia. This area has a high concentration of some of the most impressive buildings representing Catalan Modernism. One of the most famous examples is the ‘Illa de la Discordia’ (Island of discord), the block on Passeig de Gràcia where we find Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, the Casa Lleó-Morera by Lluís Domènech i Montaner; Casa Mulleras designed by Enric Sagnier; Casa Bonet, by Marcel·lí Coquillat i Llofriu; and Casa Amatller, by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. This block alone holds some of the most important and famous examples of modernisme architecture but there are many more to discover. Casa Thomas by Domènch I Montaner (C/Mallorca, 293) is an extremely decorative mansion, with floral tiles and a forged iron staircase. Casa Terrades or Casa de les Punxes as it’s more commonly known (Av. Diagonal 416) was designed by Puig i Cadafalch and is clearly influenced by gothic castles, with medieval style turrets lining the roof. The Palau Montaner (C/Mallorca, 278 and in the picture to the right) has the air of an Italian palazzo and is one of the few placetes (mini palaces) still left in the Eixample. Designed by Josep Domènech i Estapà and later, Domènch i Montaner, this mini palace blends Italian style with Catalan Modernism and with the decorative elements of the sculptor Eusebi Arnau and glassmaker Antoni Rigalt, creates an imposing structure in the heart of the Eixample Dreta. There are many more examples of Catalan Modernism in the area, take a stroll and marvel at the many beautiful buildings and design talent the neighbourhood possesses. Fundació Antoni Tàpies C/ Aragó, 255 This gallery, dedicated to the life’s work of Antoni Tàpies, also serves as a cultural centre, holding workshops, lectures and temporary exhibitions to fulfil the aim of the artist to promote the study and knowledge of contemporary art. The permanent exhibition is a complete collection running the whole length of Tàpies’ career with many works having been donated by the artist himself. The collection starts with Tàpies’ early work, influenced by Dadaism and travels through the decades, showing his changing influences; surrealism, Eastern philosophy, political turmoil and dictatorship in Spain and ‘art brut’. The building itself is a work of art built by Lluís Domènch I Muntaner who also designed the Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau as well as many other breathtaking modernista buildings. Antoni Tàpies then added to this when he created the sculpture seen on the roof entitled Núvol i cadira (Cloud and Chair, 1990). A must visit for any modern art lover.
Passeig de Gràcia, 107
In the 19th Century the wealthy financier Robert Robert i Surís acquired six chalets on the corner of what are now Passeig de Gràcia and Avinguda Diagonal. With the building boom in the Eixample this prominent Girona business man decided to build a family home on the site. He commissioned the French architect Henry Grandpierre and the neo-classical mansion took three years to complete with the Robert family setting up home there in 1903. The building was later put up for sale by the family and throughout the years plans were made to demolish the building and build ballrooms, theatres and hotels on the site. In 1981 the building was acquired by the Government of Catalonia and opened its doors as the ‘Information Centre of Catalonia’ in 1997. Now Palau Robert holds exhibitions, activities and events intended to educate the visitor about all different aspects of Catalonia. The gardens of the Palau Robert are also particularly stunning. Designed by municipal gardener Ramon Oliva, who also designed the gardens of Plaça Catalunya, he used the palm trees of the 1888 Universal Exhibition. The gardens today are an oasis of calm in the busy Eixample district. Barcelona, Spain, Catalonia, sightseeing, travel, tourism, Eixample Dreta, architecture, Gaudí, Catalan modernism, art nouveau, modern art, Antoni Tàpies, contemporary art