Postcards from a Barcelona architecture tour

Taking a walk through the districts and narrow streets of Barcelona is an architecture buffs dream, whether ambling down Passeig de Gracia or strolling through Las Ramblas it is a feast for the eyes.

Antoni Gaudi is almost synonymous with the Catalan capital and his presence is evident everywhere in the Barcelona cityscape. The Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Park Guell and Casa Milà are must visits for most tourists, and a number of tours are possible taken linking his most popular creations.

Architecture and design in the Catalan capital Barcelona, Spain on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

Ornate lamposts on Las Rambla

Choir practice inside the Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

Choral practice inside the Palau de la Música Catalana

His buildings are described as Art Nouveau style and are greatly influenced by nature. Flowing curves, twisted metal sculpted into figurines and colourful tiled mosaics are typical features of his designs. His approach was so personalised it is almost a separate form of modernisme.

Each building is a work of art”

His distinctive style is greatly admired, the attention to detail is amazing. Each building is a work of art, there are so many intricate designs within them that it takes an observant eye to spot the almost hidden detail. Taking time to soak it all in is highly recommended. Standing or sitting outside one of his creations, allowing the eyes to wander over the façade will reveal much that might otherwise have easily been missed.

The Sagrada Familia is possibly his greatest work, though yet completed. It mixes the modernisme style with neo-gothic influences it is one of the cities most popular attractions.

Barcelona is one of the great seats of the modernist movement in Europe, which is where it gained most popularity. Although the landscape of the city is dominated by Gaudi’s presence, he is not the only great architect to have plied his art here.

The Lluís Domènech i Montaner designed Casa Lleó Morera in trendy Barcelona, Catalonian Spain on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

The Lluís Domènech i Montaner designed Casa Lleó Morera

Antoni Gaudi's Casa Batlló in the the Catalan capital of Barcelona in Spain

Antoni Gaudi’s architectural wonder the Casa Batlló

Lluís Domènech i Montaner also built many of the cities famous landmarks including Casa Lleó Morera,  Hospital de Sant Pau and Palau de la Música Catalana which were both granted UNESCO status as World Heritage sites in 1997. His buildings also display amazing ornamentation but still retain the flowing lines of Art Nouveau.

The Tarragona born architect Josep Maria Jujol collaborated with Gaudi on a number of projects including the Casa Batlló and Casa Milà. However he left his own mark with several of his works including the Can Negre and Casa Mañach. He also built a number of buildings in his home city.

The skyline of the city has changed significantly since the time of the modernist architects. New buildings have sprouted from the barrios, space-age looking-glass sculptures reaching skyward including Jean Nouvel’s Agbar Tower a new city landmark. The city planners have managed to blend these skyscrapers with the classical Art Nouveau Barcelona architecture providing a cityscape which is both pleasing and interesting.

The weather in the Catalan capital is usually pleasant and even if architecture isn’t every visitors favourite subject spending an hour or two exploring the city and some of its beautiful and impressive buildings is a great way to spend afternoon. There are plenty of coffee shops to get some refreshment along the way, if the tour stretches into the evening the bars will be open too!

Antoni Gaudi's La Pedrera at the Barcelona skyline dominated by the Torre Agbar built by Jean Nouvel on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

Mixing modernisme with the modern

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17 Responses to “Postcards from a Barcelona architecture tour”

  1. Jennifer September 28, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    I love your pictures! Makes me want to go back to Barcelona for another visit.
    Jennifer recently posted..Madrid Tapas Cooking Class

  2. Jeff @ GoTravelzing July 2, 2012 at 2:54 am #

    I can not get enough of Barcelona or Gaudi. I could spend months just walking around the city. I like it so much that I have a big picture of Casa Batlo hanging above my desk.

  3. Mike Hinshaw June 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I have always felt that architecture is a form of art and reflects current philosophies when designed and built by specific individuals. One can only guess how Gaudi’s mind worked. When my son went to Barcelona several years back and took many pictures of Gaudi’s work, I knew I would have to visit in person. I plan on going next year your pictures are fantastic and make me want to visit even more!

  4. Turtle June 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    I still haven’t been to Barcelona but your photos make me think I should move it up the list. Looks like such a beautiful city!

    • Iain June 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      You really should Michael its a great city, you won’t regret visiting

  5. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls June 22, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    Love these photos! When we were in Barcelona, staring up at these works of art, I couldn’t help but wonder why so few copycats are out there. Why do we build in boring squares when we know beautiful architecture like this exists?!

    • Iain June 22, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      Thank Jess I’m really happy you liked the images and yes I agree the new stuff could definitely learn a thing or two from Barcelona and Art Nouveau.

  6. Jeff Dobbins June 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    I LOVE this…as I love Barcelona. You’ve said it so well, “every building is a work of art.” The Palau is probably the most breath-taking place I’ve ever seen. Okay, I’ll stop gushing, but this piece got me fired up.

    • Iain June 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      I love your passion Jeff, it is great to see and glad you love Barcelona

  7. Laurence June 21, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    I’m recently back from Barcelona myself and we had a really fabulous time too. I was just blown away by all of Gaudi’s work, and in particular the Sagrada Familia – what an incredible building. Fantastic city, great photos :D

    • Iain June 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Thank you Laurence, it is a great city and the Sagrada Familia is one of its many treasures, it is fantastic even with the ever present cranes.

  8. Caz Makepeace June 21, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Barcelona is such a beautiful city. I think Gaudi is the only architect whose name I know and remember! Genius

    • Iain June 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      Barcelona is indeed a beautiful city Caz and Gaudi is one of only a few I can remember too, most of the others have easire names too ;)

  9. Jeremy Branham June 21, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    I love Gaudi. I shouldn’t. I am not a big fan of modern architecture or the art nouveau that influenced his style. However, I like Gaudi because I see it and know it is him. I don’t necessarily know what all of that means. However, Gaudi is unique and different. He belongs to his people and they now embrace him. There is something about his story I connect with which makes me appreciate his architecture a little more.

    • Iain June 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      Great to here you are a Gaudi fan Jeremy, I have to admit architecture doesn’t always excite me although I can appreciate a great or impressive design. Like you though Gaudi is something special, maybe it is his comnnection with Barcelona a rare city which is also able to excite me just thinking about it. Cities and buildings are not my favourite places but this city is one of the exceptions.

  10. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey June 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Thanks for the reminder about just one of the reasons we love Barcelona! The Sagrada Familiia seems to keep edging closer to completion but we hope it remains a “work in progress” forever.

    • Iain June 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

      Thanks Karen, being a work in progress is possibly how it should remain, though would like to see the cranes moved once and for all.

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Postcards from a Barcelona architecture tour