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.

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