The MUST-SEE Architecture in Barcelona

Updated: 27 October 2018

It’s crazy to think that there was a time when Barcelona looked down on its greatest works of architecture. The city first made its mark at the Barcelona World’s fair in 1888 when its greatest emerging architects, Gaudi, Casanovas, and Montaner introduced Catalan modernism or Modernisme to the world. At the time, none of Gaudi’s major works had been completed and La Sagrada Familia had only just started construction. The fair was mostly celebrated for the construction of the Arc de Triomf and the Parc de la Ciutadella, which brought the city its first-ever public green space. Following the fair, Modernisme flourished for over two decades and the Casa Batlló, La Padrera, and Palau de la Música were all built in that short time. The emergence of a new right-wing Catalan Nationalism after it, encouraged by the Catholic Regionalist League, brought in a new wave of pragmatism and idealism called Noucentisme that can be seen in buildings throughout the city.

More recently, the turn of the 21st century has brought in a new wave of contemporary architecture that blends Spanish regionalism with new technologies.

Check out Barcelona’s amazing #mustseearchitecture below.

 

Historical Architecture


La Sagrada Familia

Visiting La Sagrada Familia is like watching history unfold in front of your eyes. One of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I have ever visited, this unfinished Roman Catholic church by Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi has been under construction since 1882. Characterized by its overly ornate detailing, when completed in 2032, the church will feature over 18 spires and 3 grand façades. The 18 spires represent the 12 apostles, the four evangelists, the virgin mary, and Jesus Christ. So far, 10 of the spires have been completed and the church will be the tallest in the world when completed.

Practical Information

Architect: Antoni Gaudi
Built: 1882-2028
Type: Chrich
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Winter: 9:00am – 6:00pm, Summer: 9:00am – 8:00pm
Cost: 15,00 €
Website: www.sagradafamilia.org/index.html

 

Casa Batlló

Widely considered one of Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces, the Casa Batlló is an incredible example of Catalan modernism due to its unique stonework, oval windows, and mosaic facade. A curved rooftop along with a narrow turret and cross is generally considered to be inspired by the lance of Saint George, thrust into a dragon’s back.

Practical Information

Architect: Antoni Gaudi
Built: 1904
Type: Housing
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Daily: 9:00am – 9:00pm
Cost: 23,50 €
Website: www.casabatllo.es/en/

 

Palau de la Música

A post shared by Moon (@lenamoon22) on

A beautiful theatre filled with flowing curves, and rich floral and organic detailing, the Palau de la Música was designed by Spanich architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. At the request of the theatre’s patrons, Montaner commisioned local artisans and craftsmen to design and build several beautiful ornamental and sculptural pieces. The theatre played a significant part of the Catalan cultural movement dubbed the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth).

Practical Information

Architect: Lluís Domènech i Montaner
Built: 1908
Type: Concert Hall
Address: C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Daily: 10:00am – 3:30pm
Cost: 8,00 €
Website: www.palaumusica.cat/ca

 

Casa Milà (La Padrera)

 

Casa Milà was the last private residence designed by Antoni Gaudi. The building is known for its undulating stone facade and roof terrace that overlooks the old city. The building’s structure was actually quite progressive for its time. The stone facade is self-supporting which allows for an open floor plan. Nicknamed “La Padrera” or “The Stone Quarry”, the nickname was originally not intended to be a compliment, and the owners who first commissioned Gaudi were the subject of much ridicule at the time.

Practical Information

Architect: Antoni Gaudi
Built: 1910
Type: Housing
Address: Provença, 261-265, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Daily: 9:00am – 8:30pm
Cost: 22,00 €
Website: www.lapedrera.com/ca/home

 

Park Güell

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Delfina Ante Baquela (@delfina.ab) on

The brainchild of entrepreneur Eusebio Güell and Antoni Gaudi, Park Güell is a UNESCO World Heritage Site designed during Gaudi’s naturalist phase where he derived inspiration from nature and organic shapes. The park was conceived as a series of technologically-advanced homes integrated into a garden setting. Several of its iconic structures celebrate this feeling, from its colonnaded pathways, serpentine benches , and entrance houses.

Practical Information

Architect: Antoni Gaudi
Built: 1914
Type: Park
Address: 08024 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Daily: 8:00am – 9:30pm
Cost: 7,50 €
Website: www.parkguell.cat/en/

 

Arc de Triomf & Parc de la Ciutadella

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @covenant_27 on

For several decades, the Parc de la Ciutadella was Barcelona’s only public park. It was originally the site of a large fortress or citadel that the city fought to remove in resentment to its past role in the war with Spain. In 1888, the Arc de Triomf was built asa  new entrance to the park by Josep Fontserè and is characterized by its red brick and frieze stone carvings.

Practical Information

Architect:  Josep Fontserè
Built: 1882
Type: Park
Address: Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Website: www.barcelona.cat/ca/

 

Santa Maria del Mar

A post shared by Suzan 🖤 (@suzilove_) on

The Santa Maria del Mar is a gothic cathedral built between 1329 and 1383. The church has several striking features including a decorative rose window and slender columns that allow natural light to flood the interior.

Practical Information

Architect: Berenguer de Montagut
Built: 1384
Type: Church
Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Mondays to Saturdays: 1:00 – 5:00pm, Sundays: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Website: www.santamariadelmarbarcelona.org/home/

 

Casa Amatller

The Casa Amatller was designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch as a residence for a famous local chocolatier. It combines Catalan modernism with Dutch gables and busts of dragons and knights.

Practical Information

Architect: Josep Puig i Cadafalch
Built: 1900
Type: Housing
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 41, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Daily: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Website: fundacionamatller.org/

 

Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau

A post shared by Susanna Aarnio (@susannaaarnio) on

A shining example of Catalan civil Gothic architecture, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau was designed by Spanish architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was a functioning hospital until 2009 when it went underwent massive renovations to become a museum and cultural center. The hospital is characterized by its ornate detailing and stain glass windows.

Practical Information

Architect: Lluís Domènech i Montaner
Built: 1930
Type: Hospital, Museum
Address: Carrer de Sant Quintí, 89, 08026 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Website: www.santpau.cat/

 

Barcelona Pavilion

The German Pavilion for 1929 International Exposition, the Barcelona Pavilion is widely regarded as one of the most important works of modern architecture due to its simple form and lavish use of material like marble, red onyx, and travertine. The pavilion was actually designed to be bare, with only a single sculpture and carefully curated furniture (the Barcelona Chair).

Practical Information

Architect: Mies van der Rohe
Built: 1929
Type: Pavillion
Address: Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 7, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Daily: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Website: miesbcn.com/

 

Contemporary Architecture


Torre Agbar

A post shared by ana (@ana.bmh) on

Despite its rather phallic shape, this 144m tall tower designed by French architect Jean Nouvel is actually inspired by a geyser rising into the air. The building is a leading example of high-tech architecture due to the 4,500 LED’s that illuminate the building, along with the temperature sensors that open and close its blinds to moderate solar exposure.

Practical Information

Architect: Jean Nouvel
Built: Office
Address: Avinguda Diagonal, 211, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00am – 6:00pm

 

Mercado de Santa Caterina

The Mercado de Santa Caterina is Barcelona’s oldest food market and it was wonderfully renovated in 2004 thanks to local architects EMBT. The building features a striking undulating roof comprised of a colourful mosaic that glistens in the summer Barcelona sun.

Practical Information

Architect: EMBT Architects
Built: 2004
Type: Market
Address: Av. de Francesc Cambó, 16, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Website: www.mercatsantacaterina.com/Index.php

 

Forum Building (Museu Blau de les Ciències Naturals)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sudheesh S (@architectsudhi) on

Designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, this triangular-shaped building is most noted for its interplay between the textured grey-blue concrete facade and reflective planes. Be sure to stroll around it to capture it from all angles.

Practical Information

Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
Built: 2004
Type: Exhibition & Conference Centre
Address: Plaza Leonardo da Vinci, 4-6, 08019 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours:
Tuesday to Friday (10:00am – 6:00pm)
Saturday and Sunday (10:00am – 7:00pm)
Website: museuciencies.cat/

 

The Barcelona Fish

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ok Barcelona Tours (@okbarcelonatours) on

In planning for the 1992 Olympic Games, the city of Barcelona transformed its waterfront with a number of architecturally interesting projects. One of those projects is the Barcelona Fish designed by Frank Gehry which has become one of the city’s most beloved icons. Over 56 metres long and 35 metres tall, the fish was created with gilded intertwining stainless steel strips that sparkle in the sun.

Practical Information

Architect: Frank Gehry
Built: 1992
Type: Sculpture
Address: Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes, open 24 hours

 

Torre de Collserola

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Luke (@luke.szyszka) on

Located on the Tibidabo hill in the Serra de Collserola, this futuristic communications tower was designed by Norman Foster for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Standing at over 288m, the tower offers one of the best views of the city.

Practical Information

Architect: Norman Foster
Built: 2004
Type: Tower
Height: 288m
Address: Ctra. de Vallvidrera al Tibidabo, S/N, 08017 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours:
Wednesday to Friday (12–1:30p.m. and 3:30–7:30p.m.)
Saturday and Sunday (12–1:45p.m. and 3:30–7:45p.m.
Website: www.torredecollserola.com/

 

MACBA: Museum of Contemporary Architecture

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Nubia Garcia (@nubigarcia) on

Clad in Meier’s iconic white enameled steel panels, MACBA creates a new plaza that connects the building with the old city’s pedestrian streets. Welcomed by an expansive glass facade, the transparent volume orients people within the building, directing them up a vertical ramp with expansive views of the plaza.

Practical Information

Architect: Richard Meier
Built: 1995
Type: Museum
Address: Plaça dels Àngels, 1, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Check website, closed Tuesdays
Website: www.macba.cat/

 

Montjuïc Communications Tower

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Joyly✨ A Photo Diary (@joylystevens) on

Widely known as Torre Calatrava, the Montjuïc Communications Tower was built to transmit television coverage of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Located within the Olympic park, the design is shaped like an athlete holding the Olympic flame. Fun fact: the building also operates as a giant sundial.

Practical Information

Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Built: 1992
Type: Communications Tower
Address: 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Height: 136m

 

Barcelona Design Museum

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Valentin Chrétien (@valentinchrt) on

The museum houses Catalonian design history dating back to the 3rd century. Designed by local architecture office MBM Arquitectes, the building is clad in metal and rises above the Placa de les Glòries Catalanes, a depressed garden in the middle of a roundabout.

Practical Information

Architect: MBM Arquitectes
Built: 2014
Type: Museum
Address: Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, 37, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (10:00am – 8:00pm)
Cost: 6 €
Website: ajuntament.barcelona.cat/museudeldisseny/

 

Media TIC

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by f_dsf (@f_dsf) on

[email protected] is an experimental district in Barcelona and Media-TIC is its brain. The building’s structure is on the exterior of the building to free the interior floors for intercommunication, research, and training. Most notably, the building is draped in ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluor Ethylene), a translucent skin that uses sensors to inflate and deflate itself to provide shading.

Practical Information

Architect: Enric Ruiz Geli
Built: 2010
Type: Office
Address: Carrer de Roc Boronat, 117, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Monday to Friday (8:00am – 8:00pm)
Website: www.elconsorci.es/

 

Suites Avenue Apartments

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Azza MEHRI (@azzamehri) on

These luxury apartments were designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito and are actually a reused office building. Ito was entrusted with the design of these suites which face Gaudi’s La Pedrera. His solution was a woven, organic facade consisting of aluminum sheets that reveal openings into the apartments.

Practical Information

Architect: Toyo Ito
Built: 2009
Type: Commercial, Hotel
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 83, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
Open to the Public: No
Website: https://www.suitesavenue.com/

 

Els Encants Vells

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Alejandro Wirth (@alejandrowirth) on

Els Encants Vells has been around for almost 100 years serving the back-alley variety of retailers and hawkers looking to make a quick sale. In 2013, Spanish architects b720 Arquitectos were tasked with designing a new market area that combines the elaborate street network around it. Their solution was to design a dynamic canopy that reflects the action going on below.

Practical Information

Architect: b720 Arquitectos
Built: 2013
Type: Flea Market
Address: Carrer de los Castillejos, 158, 08013 Barcelona
Open to the Public: Yes
Hours: Daily, 9:00am – 8:00pm (closed Sunday, Tuesdays, and Thursdays)
Website: www.encantsbcn.com/es

 

CMT Headquarters

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Knijnik (@knijnik_construtora) on

Located on a long and narrow site, the new addition to the CMT Headquarters sits on top of one of the old Can Tiana factory buildings. Comprised of 11 stories of offices, the building twists to offer views of the ocean and is complete with horizontal slats to shade the interior spaces.

Practical Information

Architect: Battle & Roig Architects
Built: 2010
Type: Office
Address: [email protected] Park Poblenou, Bolivia Street 56, 08022 Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain.
Open to the Public: Yes

 

We do our best to provide accurate and up-to-date information, locations, and opening hours whenever possible. It is recommended that you double-check any information that you may need to ensure your visit is a success.

Want to see your picture featured or wish to have it removed? Send all inquiries to [email protected]