Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The OTHER Barcelona Architect

Art Nouveau was an art period full of great architectural works.Of course, the architect most remembered for that period is Gaudi. (see Archives, January, 2014). Another architect known for his Art Nouveau works was Victor Horta, (1861-1947). (My blog of March 14, 2011 about Horta remains one of my most popular all-time blogs.) Like Gaudi, Horta's architecture and designs exemplified the Art Nouveau movement.

However, there was someone else noted for his architectural Art Nouveau style, and like Gaudi, his reputation was built in Barcelona. That architect was Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923).

Domènech was not only an architect, he was also a professor at the Barcelona School of Architecture. (Gaudi was one of his students.)
In fact, if you've ever been to Barcelona or viewed the famous architecture of that city, you have oohed and aahed over Domènech's architecture. Even UNESCO has awarded his most important works as "World Heritage" sites.

Here is one of the sites so designated. It is Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul).  Domènech designed it with the patient very much in mind. He made sure to allow for windows and views. He sunk the service areas below ground level so that patients and guests could have street access to the gardens. It consists of 20 pavilions on 40-acres of park. (The complex is being restored. It's expected to re-open in 2016.)

 The other one of Domènech's amazing architectural buildings recognized by UNESCO is the Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music). This is the one that he was most involved in the interior design. (It was very difficult to find a photo that showed the entire scope of the interior.) The last image shows the combination of mosaics and sculptures of musicians that surround the orchestra stage.

As with so many of my blogs about artists, this is only an introduction to Domènech and his works. If you're ever in Barcelona, remember that Gaudi wasn't the only exciting and delightful Art Nouveau architect.