How to define a city as “architectural”? Certainly this must be one that offers different styles, different point of views and personal designs which provide a unique personality that is not only subscribed to a stream, but that becomes into a world reference of the architecture. This is the case of Barcelona, but…why?
Barcelona for architects: the perfect ecosystem
This sweeping statement is based on each of the styles that Barcelona has adopted over the years. It has been its style and personal atmosphere. Since the undoubted modernism movement which is considered the “quintaessencia” of the city, to more classic style such as Gothic, was moved to an entire neighbourhood at such a late age for this style as the beginning of the twentieth century but printed of differentiating form and integrating at par, fully enjoyable from your Little Jaume Studio.
Barcelona offers something else, something that not all cities have got: planning and respect for the environment. Barcelona has entire modernist neighbourhoods, but not mixed with other more contemporary than become a patchwork of styles without any coherence. Similarly, he has embraced contemporaneity in a clear and well defined project as the 22@.
The undoubted influence of Gaudí
If we redirected this article to an audience keen on architecture, an obligatory reference is Gaudí, with permission from other artists such as Lluis Domenech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch or other more modern as discussed below. Gaudi is and will probably be over centuries, the Catalan architect par excellence.
La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and Casa Batlló endorse him, but also the Casa Vicens, Palau Güell or Bellesguard Tower, and other jewels of modernism like the Casa Ametller, Casa de les Puntxes, the Hospital de la Santa Creu or the Palau de la Música Catalana.
The transition to modernity
Barcelona has specially focused on erasing the marks that the dictatorship left in a prevailing style of rationalism and brutalism, choosing quickly other styles that would provide the cosmopolitan profile that Barcelona has got today.
This transition to modernity started clearly in the 1992 Olympics, for which renowned architects as Rafael Moneo, Ricardo Bofill, Santiago Calatrava, Arata Izosaki or Norman Foster, among many others, rushed to wash the face of a Barcelona, which awakened and flourished in front of the world.
The significant new skyline that offered the Mapfre Tower and Hotel Arts to the sunsets of the also new Olympic Port, the new Collserola Tower presiding the city from the Tibidabo, the TNC, the shopping Centre L’Illa, the MACBA and the CCCB, as capital of contemporary art centres, and many other buildings were added to the Olympic party in which was already a new city being born.
The S.XXI Barcelona
But the twenty-first century arrived and the memories of those that have been considered as one of the best Olympics Games held and with the best infrastructure passed away. Barcelona however lost no brake and went on focusing on reforming the industrial neighbourhood of Poble Nou to dress it with a new contemporary look.
Thus two recent milestones were born: the Forum of Cultures and the 22 @ district, reflected especially in the Agbar Tower, presiding over the remodeling of the new Glories square. But there were also other important works such as the Forum building, the Design Hub, the International Convention Centre, the Old market of Els Encants and many other buildings that dominate the former fisherman neighbourhood of Poble Nou and Diagonal Mar, converted today into the spearheading technological and innovative Barcelona.