BARCELONA CITY OF ARCHITECTURE

To Barcelona, architecture is so much more than just Gaudí. Architects from around the world flock to the city to visit much of its more modern architecture.

Whilst Gaudí’s influence is not always visible in the style of modern architecture, it is often apparent in the use of colour and imagination. It often seems as though architects, when designing for Barcelona take more risks and use brighter colours than they would when designing for other cities. It is as though Gaudí and the other modernist architects bring out a brave streak in even the most conservative of architects. Gaudí was particularly influenced by natural forms. Most of his buildings are based on naturally occurring organic shapes. If you visit the Sagrada Familia museum you will learn more about how Gaudí used natural shapes to create the basis of his architecture.

Bold, brash, colourful, distinctive, harmonious, varied and unique are just a few adjectives that come to mind when describing Barcelona architecture. Barcelona has successfully blended the old and the new in a way that makes this city simply breathtakingly beautiful. There is nothing more enjoyable than strolling around the streets of Barcelona and taking in the atmosphere that radiates out from the architecture. Traditional Catalan Gothic architecture such as the Iglesia de Pi church is reserved and stoic in its design, but just a 5 minute walk away we have the Barcelona Cathedral with is beautiful arches and facade. A short metro ride we have the famous Sagrada familia Basilica which towers into the sky and has different architectural styles on all four sides of the building.

Barcelona is often praised by architects for its town planning. You will notice as you walk around the city that buildings on corners have a flat edge – this is known as a ‘chamfered corner’. It means that crossroads have a more open feel and there is room on street corners for terraces – this helps to give Barcelona its sociable and communal atmosphere.

Barcelona’s Avenida Diagonal is also praised by architects and town planners. It is a large street that runs diagonally right through the centre of the city. When it was built it was a original piece of town planning.

Central Barcelona can be separated into three main areas. The old town or Barri Gòtic which was the original Barcelona. Characterised by winding old streets and tall dark ancient buildings. The Raval area which was an extension to the original old town and finally Eixample which is the large organized “grid” structure area that was appended to the old town. Each area has its own unique and distinctive character.

Barcelona architecture is truly distinctive and at every corner can be seen iconic buildings which can both inspire and influence the builder, designer or artist in all of us.

Article excerpts taken from Barcelona Tourist Guide