Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau- a Modernista triumph

IMG_0583Scaffolding, barriers and grey skies are not what you want to see on your first afternoon in Barcelona.  I had already had a glimpse at Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, and was still trying to assimilate what I had seen.  A stroll along Avinguda de Gaudi led me to this spectacle.  According to the guidebook it was Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau, the work of Modernista architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner.

I had read about his incredible work of art, the Palau de la Musica Catalana, but this building was nothing like any hospital I had ever seen.  Apparently when it was completed in 1901 it was the most advanced in Europe. Domenech i Montaner conceived of a hospital which was modern and functional but also aesthetically pleasing.  He designed 12 pavilions, each with a different medical speciality, and linked them with underground passages. Light, ventilation and decoration were crucial to his plan, with open spaces for the use and wellbeing of the patients.

Standing on tiptoe I tried to take a shot of these magnificent buildings.  I never truly believe that barriers like this are meant to exclude me, so I made a circuit of the enormous site, looking for a way in.

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You can see, it didn’t happen!  But I saw enough to be seriously impressed. When I got home I checked the website and it seems that guided tours are available. You get to wear a crash helmet and orange jacket too.  Never mind! There never was time for everything in Barcelona, and I have a new passion in life- Lluis Domenech i Montaner.

I know that Paula has a healthy curiosity about life too, so I’m hoping she’ll enjoy this tribute and welcome it into her Thursday’s Special.



    1. There’s a surprise round every corner in Barcelona, Ruth. Did you see the Palau? I was absolutely blown away by it. 🙂 Many thanks for your visit, hon. (I did think about taking Flat Ruthie to Barca, but it would have been too much excitement, even for her! 🙂 )

    1. No, it’s a toss up between the Palau de la Musica, La Pedrera and Sagrada Familia for me, Rich. I’d be very hard put to choose. 🙂 Missed out Parc Guell too! See how impossible it is to choose? 🙂

    1. It wasn’t easy to see what is going on, Jude. There appears to be a new modern monstrosity (pardon my French) being built alongside Sant Pau! Barcelona has a reputation for embracing old and new so I should reserve judgement for the moment. I will be following progress though, out of curiosity.
      I like using different types of photo display. The mosaic type doesn’t always look the way I want, then I fiddle about and get cross! 🙂

      1. I have to agree with you about the mosaic. It can look very good, but sometimes I find the images are too big (even though I resize everything first). I also shift them around to see if it looks better. I think it depends on the theme as they look better on my Travel blog. I tried the slideshow on the latest Weekly Photo Challenge after seeing it on here. Thanks for the idea 🙂

  1. Incredible! Thanks for the intro to this architect and for the wonderful photos. Patients coming here for treatment had to have felt some hope as they entered this place of beauty.

    1. It was quite revolutionary at the time of building, Angeline. Patient welfare was pretty low priority then (not sure it’s a lot higher in some places, even today) Almost makes being ill worthwhile, doesn’t it? 🙂

  2. Glorious architecture! Can’t believe it’s a hospital. I really enjoy the tour, Jo 🙂
    Btw, last time when we visited Vintican, they had scaffolding at the front of the St. Peter’s Basilica.

  3. Jo, I know how frustrating it is when you’re on holiday wanting to photograph these amazing sites and you find unsightly scaffolding and bad weather. Oh well, what can we do? I guess KidazzleInk is right is saying that it’s good that these monuments are being maintained. I remember going to Angkor Wat and finding the whole facade covered in metal poles and green netting. I was so disappointed!!

    Nonetheless, your photos are amazing; this hospital truly is a work of art. I would have liked to see you in a crash helmet! 🙂

  4. Scaffolding is a real nuisance isn’t it. A few years ago it seemed everywhere I went was decorated with metal poles and timber boards including Barcelona Cathedral. This year I had the same issue in Lecce where the most famous church in the city was hidden from view. Oh well, I suppose it is good that we are looking after these treasures.

  5. Darn it! You missed your crash helmet and orange jacket! I got to wear a bright yellow crash helmet at Craco…. Seriously unflattering, my MS nurse, when shown the photo, didn’t recognise it as me!!

  6. Scaffolding is a great sign I believe Jo. Signals a city that’s still growing. Good or bad I believe we should be happy to see the scaffolds. Barcelona and Spain are both certainly places I want to visit when D.b. and I have a little more freedom

  7. I am welcoming it with my both arms stretched wide :D. This is another spot I missed in Barcelona. I am so graterful for these beautiful photos and a very helpful iinsight 🙂 Thanks a million, Jo 🙂

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