barcelona contemporary

Modern vs. Modernism: the contemporary Barcelona

Barcelona is a city of contrasts. Mountain and beach, tradition and the newest trends, local atmosphere in an international environment. All these elements live together in the famous Condal City.

Art and architecture, of course, are not an exception of this great cultural and technological mix that makes of Barcelona one of the most visited touristic destinations of the world. This way, we can find gothic buildings, modernistic jewels and contemporary art coexisting together in the same neighbourhood.

Sagrada Familia and Agbar Tower

Sagrada Familia is probably the most iconic building of Barcelona. The wonderful building designed by Antoni Gaudi is the maximum representation of the modernistic boom lived in the Catalan city during the end of 19th century. Sagrada Familia is a piece of architectural art with impossible curved shapes and forms and constant references to nature, religion and Catalan society and politics. We could be looking this modernistic work for years and still discover new details and representations.

Not so far from this breath-taking temple, we find Agbar Tower: a 34 floors and 145-high tower designed by the prestigious French architect Jean Nouvel. The characteristic form of this building is described by its own designer as “a geyser rising into the air” and is inspired by Montserrat, the biggest group of mountains in the surroundings of Barcelona.

Additionally, this construction is equipped with more than 4.500 luminous LED devices that allow the lightning of the façade. This way, from a studio near Sagrada Familia we can see this jewel of the contemporary Barcelona lightning during nights with hundreds of colours and shapes.

Montjuïc: Olympic and modern

Montjuïc is a hill located between the sea and Plaza de España. While in this emblematic square we can find several monuments from 1929, if we walk along Avenida Reina María Cristina and go around the beautiful National Palace (built in 1929 too) we will find the Olympic area. There, we can enjoy of a very different architectural style.

The Anillo Olímpico (Olympic Ring) is a group of sportive facilities that were remodelled in 1992 because of the celebration of Olympic Games. Some of the construction we find here are truly jewels of the contemporary Barcelona. Olympic Stadium Lluís Companys, Sant Jordi Palace or the huge telecommunications tower are great examples of what we try to explain here.

Barri Gòtic and Raval

Another clear example of the mix of modern and modernistic art in Barcelona is the beautiful contrast of two famous and centric neighbourhoods: Gòtic and Raval.

Barri Gòtic is full of precious gothic constructions (that is why is known as Gothic Neighbourhood) such as Barcelona’s Cathedral, San Felip Neri Church, Casa Martí (also known as Els Quatre Gats) or Episcopal Palace of Barcelona.

On the other side, just a few streets of distance from Barri Gòtic, we find El Raval. This neighbourhood has again the perfect mix of modernism and modern art. Beautiful buildings like Güell Palace designed by Gaudi or Boqueria Market are a compulsory stop in our way. But if we like better modern and contemporary Barcelona, we can visit Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona (MACBA), a great building with astonishing exhibitions. We can also enjoy with the “proportional exaggerated” style of Fernando Botero and his famous cat sculpture, placed in Rambla del Raval.


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Modern vs. Modernism: the contemporary Barcelona
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