Barcelona's amazing Modernista architecture


El Quadrat d'Or (1990) por manuelhuerga

The wonderful video shows you what the Quadrat d'Or looked like in 1900 (with no cars!), at the time Barcelona's Eixample district was just acquiring its amazing Modernista architecture. Come along with us on our social program Thursday to see it for yourself…

  • Tuesday 2nd | Come with us this afternoon to visit the Raval, the district on the right of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port. One of the best places in Barcelona to go to find street art (see photo, above), it was a rather seedy red light district but is now home to the CCCB and the MACBA and Fernando Botero's fat cat, and (in keeping with its past) to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas negras. Our walk will also take us down to the Avinguda del Paral·lel (so named because it lies parallel to the Equator). Inaugurated in 1894, and running down to the port from Plaça Espanya, it was once the centre of Barcelona nightlife, with theatres and cabarets and music halls (16.00).
  • Wednesday 3rd | It's five years now since the 300th anniversary of the siege of Barcelona but the Barcelona 1714 route is still a historically fascinating one. The remains of the city blocks demolished to build the post-siege fortress now to be seen at the Born Centre Cultural are particularly interesting. Come along if you're interested in the history of the city (16.00)!
  • Thursday 4th | Come with us for a stroll this afternoon to see something of the Ruta del Modernismo. We can't and won't (promise!) take you to see all the 116 Modernista buildings officially included in the Route, but you'll get at least a taste of Barcelona's magnificent architecture. It's Antoni Gaudí that got all the fame and credit for it, but we'll also be telling you about Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (and we ought also to give an honourable mention to the prolific Enric Sagnier) (16.00).
  • Friday 5th | Kick off the weekend — and practise your Spanish — at our Friday Club language exchange (in the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | We have the 37th edition of Barcelona's Fira del Comic (April 5-7), which attracted 120,000 visitors last year, and is always hugely successful.

In the Spanish League, we have Barça vs Atlético Madrid (Saturday, kick-off 20.45), with Atlético — ten points adrift in second place — the only team now standing between Barça and yet another league title.

The Ramblas, Velázquez and medieval Barcelona on this week's social programme

Barcelona gets two opportunities to go completely bonkers this week (see the football, below), as it periodically likes to do. Meanwhile, on our social programme this week, we've got some actual culture for you 😉 !

  • Tuesday 26th | Come with this afternoon down the Ramblas, to discover some of the amazing things on and just off it — including one of our favourite Barcelona dragons and the Palau Güell, one of the few Modernista buildings to be found outside the Eixample district. If you are an Antonioni fan, the Palau Güell is where Jack Nicholson meets Marie Schneider in The Passenger and — if you're a fan — a selfie coming out of the Hotel Oriente is on your to-do list (16.00).
  • Wednesday 27th | Until March 3rd (so about to end!), the CaixaForum has a Velázquez y el Siglo de Oro exhibition on. Formerly a textile factory, later used as police horse stables, the CaixaForum is now one of Barcelona's best art museums and, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, an excellent example of how Modernist architecture wasn't just used to build houses for the rich! Entrance fee €5 (unless you happen to be have a bank account with La Caixa, in which case its free) (16.00).
  • Thursday 28th | Our walk this afternoon takes us round the barrios of La Ribera and El Born, full of cool bars and history, home to the lovely church of Santa Maria del Mar and the Estación de Francia, as well as the fascinating remains of the medieval city of Barcelona in the old Born Market (16.00).
  • Friday 1st | Join us this evening at our Friday Club language exchange. It's a great place to kick off the weekend — and to practise your Spanish !! In the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00.

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | We have two big, big games this week, both in Madrid. First, it's the return leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, Real Madrid vs Barça, with the score 1-1 after the first game (Wednesday, kick-off 21.00). Then it's the same again in the League, Real Madrid vs Barça again — the third "clásico" in a month! — (Saturday, kick-off 20.45), with Barça currently comfortably top, with Real third, lagging 9 points behind.

There's also MWC19 Barcelona (previously known as the Mobile World Congress) (25th-28th), which is why the Metro is on strike all week (you probably have to have lived in Barcelona for some time to understand the logic of that one!)

The buildings of Barcelona, their history and architecture

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllò: just one of the houses on Barcelona's most famous block | Photo: Tom Walton

Barcelona's buildings, and their history and architecture, probably one of the most fascinating things about the city. Come with us on our social programme this week and see:

  • Tuesday 22nd | Our walk this afternoon takes us to the Manzana de la Discordia, the block on Passeig de Gracia with three of Barcelona's best examples of Modernista architecture — the Casa Batlló (Gaudí, in the photo above); the Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch); and the Casa Lleó i Morera (Domènech i Montaner); as well as to the Casa Milà (also by Gaudí), which is further up the street on the other side. Shoutout for the Casa Mulleras (Nº37, 1898-1906) by the astonishingly prolific Enric Sagnier (1858-1931) (16.00).
  • Wednesday 23rd | It's hard to believe, but Via Laietana is little more than 100 years old. Driven through the heart of the old city between 1908 and 1913, it's now one of Barcelona's busiest streets — and just a two-minute walk away from IH. Come with us and discover more of its history this afternoon (16.00).
  • Thursday 24th | It's one of the things that makes Barcelona so amazing, isn't it — the contrast between the old and the newer, like what we saw Tuesday and Wednesday. Contrast that with what we'll see on today's walk, which takes us into the Call, the area of narrow streets (which is what Call means) just off the Plaça Sant Jaume that was Barcelona's historic Jewish quarter. One of the most medieval parts of the Barrio Gótico. Come with us and explore (16.00)!
  • Friday 25th | Come get yourself some extra Spanish practice at our Friday Club language exchange (in the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Come with us and see some of Barcelona's wonderful architecture

The Passenger: Marie Schneider and Jack Nicholson meet in the Palau Güell, then visit the Pedrera, back in 1975

Comes with us on our social programme this week and discover how much more there is to Barcelona's amazing architecture than "just" Gaudí!

  • Tuesday 11th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to the Manzana de la Discordia, the block on Passeig de Gracia with three of Barcelona's best examples of Modernista architecture — the Casa Batlló (Gaudí, in the video above); the Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch); and the Casa Lleó i Morera (Domènech i Montaner); as well as to the Casa Milà (also by Gaudí), which is further up the street on the other side (16.00).
  • Wednesday 12th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to visit the lovely Parque de la Ciudadela, which lies on the site of the fortress built to dominate the city after the siege of 1714, which was demolished in 1868 and then became the site — in 1888 — of Barcelona's first Universal Exposition. If you're interested in architecture, and the history of Barcelona, there are some fascinating things to see on today's trip (16.00).
  • Thursday 13th | Come with this afternoon down the Ramblas, to discover some of the amazing things on and just off it — including one of our favourite Barcelona dragons and the Palau Güell, one of the few Modernista buildings to be found outside the Eixample district. If you are an Antonioni fan, the Palau Güell is where Jack Nicholson meets Marie Schneider in The Passenger and — if you're a fan — a selfie coming out of the Hotel Oriente is on your to-do list (16.00).
  • Friday 14th | We have a special "Hawaii" Friday Club for you this week. Why not join us on the terrace and in the bar after class this evening (19.00-21.00)?

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | In the Champions, it's the last game of the group stages, with Barça vs Tottenham(Tuesday, kick-off 21.00). Barça have won the group with something to spare while Tottenham must win this one to qualify. Tickets start at €69 (or €440 for a VIP ticket! Does anyone actually pay that to watch football?)

Art and architecture and Barcelona's best bravas on this week's social programme

MNAC

The MNAC: an outstanding art collection | Photo: Tom Walton

It's one of those crazy weeks when Spain still thinks it's a good idea to have a holiday on a Thursday so there's no class and no event on our social programme then — but we do have two events for you on Friday.

  • Tuesday 4th | We have a trip up to the barrio of Sarrià [map] this afternoon. A separate town until it was incorporated into Barcelona in 1921, Sarrià still feels a little like a small town. Look out for wild boar, stop off at the posh bakers Foix de Sarrià (Plaça de Sarrià 12-13) if you're feeling peckish — or try the world's best ever patatas bravas at Bar Tomás (Major de Sarrià 49). Shame it's rather expensive to find a flat there (16.00) !
  • Wednesday 5th | Our trip this afternoon takes us down to the Plaza España to see the 1000 years of art in the outstanding collection at the MNAC, the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña (16.00).
  • Thursday 6th | National holiday in Spain for the Día de la Constitución
  • Friday 7th | Come with us for a stroll this afternoon to see something of the Ruta del Modernismo. We can't and won't (promise!) take you to see all the 116 Modernista buildings officially included in the Route, but you'll get at least a taste of Barcelona's magnificent architecture. It's Antoni Gaudí that got all the fame and credit for it, but we'll also be telling you about Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (with an honourable mention for Enric Sagnier (16.00).
  • Friday 7th | Come and join us on the terrace/in the bar after class this afternoon for our very popular Friday Club language exchange (19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Note that Saturday is also a holiday (Spain is still different!), this time for the Immaculate Conception, so school will be closed then, too.

Also this week | In the Copa del Rey, it's the return leg of the Barça vs Cultural Leonesa tie (Wednesday, kick-off 21.30, with Barça 1-0 after the first leg); while on Saturday in the Spanish League we have the local derby, Español vs Barça (Saturday, kick-off 20.45).