Pronunciation: \ī-ˈti-nə-ˌrer-ē, ə-, chiefly British -ˈti-nə-rē\

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural itin·er·ar·ies

Date: 15th century

1) the route of a journey or tour or the proposed outline of one

2) a travel diary

3) a traveler's guidebook

This blog is intended as a personal guide to the architecture and cityscape of Barcelona, and is a fusion of my own experience as an architect living and working in the City for the last 19 years, and of my responsibilities as a professional architectural guide for the last 12. These itineraries are intended both as a shared personal record, and as the basis for the proposed outline of tailor-made tours to be undertaken by myself and other professionals. The idea is the result of conversations with other professionals (photographers, architects, artists & hoteliers), and our intention is offer a service that provides a relaxed but unique insight into the City, including architecture, history, and gastronomy, with the optional presence of a professional photographer to record the days activities.

We propose itineraries in small groups of four to six people through medieval, modernist or modern Barcelona,, as well as the rest of Catalunya, including the occasional tapa of Sardines a la Planxa, Ous Estrellats or Moixama amb Ametlles, but definitely avoiding Sangria. The duration of the itineraries is flexible but will be realistic: the tours may be undertaken on foot or
by bike. These itineraries are intended primarily although not exclusively for architects, designers, photographers & groups interested in the cultural history of Barcelona, and may or may not include museums, visits to specific buildings or restaurants, depending on the requirements of each group.

We will be happy to answer any enquiries, and we will endeavour to propose itineraries that will satisfy your requirements in terms of content, programme and budget. Your guide is trilingual ( English/Catalan/spanish), but can arrange for simultaneous translations into most languages.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

m2 modernisme

all day itinerary: modernisme at walking pace

Palau Güell 1886-1889 Nou de la Rambla Antoni Gaudí

Fanals de la Plaça Reial 1878-1879 Plaça Reial Antoni Gaudí

Palau de la Música 1908 C/Amadeu Vives Lluis Domènec i Muntaner

Casa Martí (Els 4 Gats) 1896 C/Montsió Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Calvet 1898-1899 C/Casp Antoni Gaudí

Casa Ametller 1898-1900 Passeig de Gràcia Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Lleó Morera 1905 Passeig de Gracia Lluis Domènec i Muntaner

Casa Batlló  1904-1906 Passeig de Gràcia Antoni Gaudí

Editorial Montaner i Simon 1885 C/Aragó Lluis Domènec i Muntaner

Casa Milà 1906-1912 Passeig de Gràcia Antoni Gaudí

Casa Comalat 1911 C/Córsega/Diagonal Salvador Valeri

Casa de les Punxes 1905 Avda. Diagonal Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Macaya 1901 Passeig Sant Joan Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Planells 1923-24 Avda DiagonaL Josep María Jujol

Sagrada Família School 1908 Antoni Gaudí

Sagrada Família 1883-1926 Antoni Gaudí

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

k miralles+pinos+tagliabue

enric miralles (1955-2000) & carme pinos (1954)

La Llauna School, Badalona, Barcelona 1984

Canopy for the Plaça Major, Parets del Vallès 1985

Igualada Cemetery, Igualada, Barcelona 1985-94 

Civic Centre, Hostalets de Balenyà, Barcelona 1986-1992

Boarding school in Morella, Castelló 1986-93

La Mina Civic Centre, Sant Adrià de Besòs, Barcelona 1987-93

House, Bellaterra, Barcelona 1988-92 

Olympic Archery Range Vall d'Hebrón, Barcelona 1989-91

Sports Centre in Huesca, Huesca 1988-92 

Centre for rhythmic gymnastics, Alicante, Alicante 1990-91 

Pergola for the Passeig Nova Icària, Barcelona 199-92 

enric miralles (1955– 2000) & benedetta tagliabue (1963)

House Conversion, Barcelona 1995 

Six houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands 1996-2000

Parc Diagonal Mar, Barcelona, 1997-2000 

Utrecht town hall extension, Netherlands, 1997-2000

Library in Palafolls, Barcelona, 1997-2001

Market hall conversion, Santa Caterina, Barcelona, 1997-2001

Extension of the national youth music school, Hamburg, 1998-2000

Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1998-2002

Maretas Museum, Lanzarote, 1999 

Parc Santa Rosa, Mollet del Vallés, Barcelona, 1999-2001

Opera Scenery Don Quijote, Teatre de Liceu, Barcelona 1999

University Campus, Vigo, Pontevedra, 1999-2003

Torre Mare Nostrum, Gas Natural headquarters, Barcelona, 1999-2006 

embt/ benedetta tagliabue after 2000

Marco Polo Platz, Western Hafencity, Hamburg, 2002

Spanish Pavilion, Beijing Expo, 2009-10

carme pinos after 1991

Urban Park and Bridge, Petrer, Alicante, 1999

Juan Aparicio Waterfront Torrevieja, Alicante, 1999

La Serra High School, Mollerussa, Lleida, 2001

Parc de Ses Estacions, Palma, 2002

Torre Cube, Guadalajara, México, 2004

Sports centre, Egues, Spain, 2005

Primary School, Castelldefels, Spain, 2006

Plaça de Gardunya, Barcelona, 2009-

© estudiSP 2010

Friday, 21 May 2010

j - jujol

Teatre Metropol (Teatre del Patronat Obrer)(1908), Tarragona.

Interior Casa Manyac (1911), Barcelona.

Taller Manyac (1911), Barcelona.

Casa Ximenis (1914), Avinguda Imperi Romà  17 Tarragona.

Casa Bofarull (1914-1931), Els Pallaresos.

Torre de la Creu (1916), Plaça de l'Estació, Sant Joan Despí.

Tallers Manyac (1916-18), Barcelona. Now Escola Josep Mª Jujol.

Casa Planells, (1923-24) Avda Diagonal 332, Barcelona.

In colaboration with Antoni Gaudí:

Casa Batlló

Casa Millà

Parc Güell

Restoration of Palma Cathedral

© estudiSP 2010.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

c-rambles raval

les rambles

rambla de canaletes / rambla dels estudis / rambla de sant josep / rambla dels caputxins / rambla de santa monica / rambla del mar

"the only street in the world which i wish would never end".  federico garcía lorca.

la rambla is in fact "les rambles", as it comprises the rambla de canaletes, the rambla dels estudis, the rambla de sant josep, the rambla dels caputxins, and the rambla de santa monica.  the "rambles" follows an ancient water course (ramla in arabic), situated outside the original (xiii c.) medieval city walls and still gurgling aromatically beneath the pavement, running from the original torre de canaletes to the portal de les drassanes.

"les rambles" is in fact a central boulevard flanked by a pavement and two lanes of traffic on each side,  it is (they are) neither flat, straight or homogeneous in section: the continuous subtle changes of direction, slope and width beneath a canopy of trees along the almost 4 km of it's trajectory are what make it  a unique urban space. there are no traffic lights or zebra crossings to interrupt the "rambler", although the traditional stroll is now more likely to punctuated  by alcoholically challenged weekenders and equally aggressive transvestite hookers than by pavement painters and street artists.

the rambla de canaletes hosts the famous (xix c.) cast-iron fountain of the same name, once the meeting point for lost travellers, now a focal point for the collective delirium for barça fans and fellow travellers whenever the occasion demands. the other focal point for less directionally challenged travellers and a more civilised delirium is a small cocktail bar built in the 1930's, less than a stone's throw from the fountain.

the rambla dels caputxins continues towards the port between the medieval portal (city gate) de santa anna and portaferrissa, and contains the baroque betlem jesuit church (xvi-xvii c.), whose baroque interior was burned by the local population in 1936, and the palau moja, finished in 1790, the city home of the comillas-güell family, the poet jacint verdaguer, and the headquarters of the anarchist cnt during the civil war (see george orwell, homage to catalunya).

the rambla de sant josep continues seaward until the portal de la boqueria, from which the spectacular market derives its name. officially named el mercat de sant josep, the boqueria (from boc, meaning "goat" in catalan) was originally a popular street market and goat-killing fields, which was officially organised and inaugurated in its present location in 1836 and covered with a prefabricated and riveted cast-iron structure in 1914. the boqueria market stalls are rightly famous both for their photogenic displays and their produce, ranging from aggressively alive crustaceans to mercifully defunct edible beetles and grasshoppers. one can also eat virtually anything on sale in the market cooked in various styles at any one of the various bars situated in the market, although the world famous pinochio bar is now unfortunately so jammed with tourists that eating there after 7.00 am is only enjoyable for those who also enjoy playing rugby whilst they attempt to eat. the palau de virreina (xviii c.), built for the widow of the viceroy of peru, is adjacent to the market, and houses the city cultural institute and exhibition spaces.

the rambla dels caputxins runs as far as the portal dels ollers (potters gate), now carrer dels escudellers, and hosts the liceu opera house, the home of catalan opera and ballet since 1844. founded by the catalan aristocracy, and patronised by the same new industrial elite that also patronised modernist architecture, it became a preferred target for anarchists, who killed 20 people with homemade bombs in 1893. in 1994, it suffered a second major fire which destroyed all but the external walls, providing, as one noted architectural critic wryly pointed out, " only it's second truly public spectacle". it has subsequently been restored and rebuilt incorporating the latest theatrical technology. it was as his downtown post-operatic drawing room that eusabio güell built the palau güell in his own honour, situated just off the main rambla in the carrer nou de la rambla, less than a block away from the opera house. designed and completed by antoni gaudí in 1890, the building is an eloquent statement of architectural principles, blurring the divisions between structure, space, ornament and nature, which was to become a trademark in his later buildings. on the other side of the rambla, the plaça reial occupies the former site of the caputxin santa madrona monastery, destroyed during the convent burnings of 1835. originally designed by francesc molina in 1848, this neo-classical square was subsequently enhanced by the addition of a cast iron fountain and lamposts, designed by antoni gaudí. immediately opposite the carrer dels escudellers is the teatre principal, begun in 1597 as the teatre de santa creu, burned down and rebuilt on various occasions over subsequent centuries, and over the last 80 years it has been used as a cinema, a rehearsal space for the liceu, a cabaret, and the barcelona atheneum, before finally closing in 2006. it is currently being converted into yet another hotel.

the rambla de santa monica also derives its name from a monastery, the remains of which now constitute the santa monica arts centre (1988) designed by albert viaplana. on the opposite side of the rambla is the palau marc, designed by joan soler in 1776 and occupied 4 years later by francesc marc, a merchant from reus. les rambles originally terminated at the colom(bus) monument, the 60m high tower constructed as part of the 1888 barcelona universal exhibition, (and whose crowning figure enigmatically points away from the continent he is supposed to have discovered), but now the addition of the rambla del mar extends the the limit to the new maremagnum centre, situated on one of the wharves of the port vell.

el raval

to the south-west of the colom monument is situated the medieval shipyard (drassanes), gaving its name to the last gate in the walls of medieval barcelona, commissioned in 1378, and now the city maritime museum. the shipyard was originally located on the waterline, and is a fine example of secular gothic architecture, within whose confines were constructed most of the craft that  guaranteed originally catalan and subsequently castillian sea power. the museum contains a replica of the royal galley that took part in the battle of lepanto in 1571.

the raval borough comprises what were effectively the city allotments situated between the original medieval city walls that followed the course of les rambles completed in 1268, and the second medieval city wall completed in 1348. originally intended to guarantee food supplies during sieges and and as  site for some of the more insalubrious activities within the city, these fields were first occupied  by various religious orders following the counter-reformation instigated by the council of trent (1543-1563), and then during the xviii century  by the textile factories that grew up during the first wave of industrialisation. many of these monasteries were later burned by the residents in 1835.

to the west of the drassanes is the medieval church of sant pau de camp, which together with the small chapel in the plaça del padró constitutes one of the few remaining witnesses to the rural origins of the borough. within the raval, and within its typically medieval street plan, there also remain vestiges of the religious orders that occupied the borough during the counter-reformation. the best preserved example is the hospital de santa creu (1401-1414) which continued as a hospital until 1902. it is now home to the catalan national library, the institute of catalan studies and la massana design school. passing through the courtyards of this gothic complex to the north-west, there is the chapel of the convent dels angels (1562-1568), with the museu d'art contemporani de barcelona macba (1995) by richard meier occupying what were once the grounds of the convent. behind the macba, the centre de cultura contemporània de barcelona cccb 1994 occupies the ancient casa de la caritat, which was extensively remodelled and extended by viaplana and piñon, and completing the complex is the extension to the universitat ramon llull, by dani freixes. the casa de la caritat also contains the baroque pati manning, completed in 1743, now the home of the centre d'estudis i recursos culturals.

the carrer tallers (workshops) links the medieval city gate of the same name to les rambles, and contains the original site of the first steam powered textile factory in catalunya, the fàbrica vapor bonaplata. built in 1833, it was then burned down along with many of the monasteries in 1835 when anticlericalism and luddism were apparently compatible. as tallers reaches les rambles, the small art deco cocktail bar mentioned at the beginning of this itinerary merits at least a second glance.

© estudisp 2010.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

d-industrial & modernisme 1833-1929


Catalan Modernisme was the local variant of Art Nouveau (France), Modern Style (Great Britain),Tiffany (USA), Jugendstil (Germany), Sezessionstil or Wiener Sezession (Austria), Style 1900, Style Noville, Florale, Stile Liberty (Italy), Modernismo (Spain).

Modernisme was a western cultural movement that sprang to prominence at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries The influence of Modernisme was mainly felt in  Architecture and the Decorative Arts, although in Catalonia it had a much wider cultural influence, influencing the Fine Arts and Literature. Modernisme was  originally coined as an insult within Catholic circles by Popes Leo XIII and Pious X, then more generally as an insult directed at anything vaguely modern, and finally  a term worn as a badge of pride by it's practitioners (Francisco Rico, El Modernismo como actitud, p. 46).


Regenerate society through the Arts, opposition to prevalent bourgeois taste and values, Eclecticism.


Inspiration in Nature
Curves and asymmetries, in plan and elevation.
Stylisation towards abstraction as opposed to realism.

Extensive use of female imagery.

Sensuality and eroticism.

Eclectic use of exotic (Japan, Egyptian, Mozarabic), Gothic or fantastic imagery. In Catalonia, there was also a strong Nationalist imagery, above all Sant Jordi (St. George).

Application of all or some of the above in the design of ordinary or everyday objects.

Application of new Industrial techniques and prefabrication (Cast and Wrought Iron, Ceramics).


Modernista art and architecture was mostly commissioned by the very groups of people that it's practitioners professed to despise: The Catalan Bourgeoisie (Girona, Güell, Comillas, Batlló, etc),  and the Catholic Church. 

modernisme and the slave trade

The families of Güell and the Marquis of Comillas were not only linked by marriage and by their patronage of Antoni Gaudí, but also by the origen of their fortunes. Although the slave trade had been abolished in 1807 by the British and other European countries, the Güell, Comillas and Vidal-Quadras families rose from humble origens by continuing to supply slaves to Spanish colony of Cuba and Venezuela until after the American Civil war and the abolition of slavery in the US. Their ill-gotten gains enabled them to buy aristocratic titles, "respectability", Banks, Royal favours, and the British coal and industrial technology that enabled them to increase their economic power. The workers in their factories in and around Barcelona were treated with similar brutality as their less fortunate counterparts in Cuba as the Güells and the Comillas amassed the fortunes that they would then lavish on their new houses, palaces and estates, designed by their modernist architects.

main characters - architecture and decorative arts

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, (1852-1926) See Itinerary G

Josep Puig i Cadafalch, (1867-1956) 

Lluis Doménec i Muntaner (1850-1923)

Josep María Jujol, (1879-1949) See Itinerary J

Josep Fontseré i Mestre, (1829-1897)

Pere Falqués, (1850-1916)

Salvador Valeri, (1873-1954)

Bernardí Martorell, (1870-1937)

selected examples of modernist architecture

Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867-1956)
Casa Ametller 1898-1900, Passeig de Gràcia.

Designed for a Chocolate magnate, featuring Gothic and Dutch influences, a Darkroom,  and domestic appliances such as telephones as decorative iconography.

Casa Martí (Els Quatre Gats) (1896), Montsió, 3 bis. 

Bohemian bar and cabaret, meeting point for Casals, Rusiñol, Utrillo, Picasso etc. Picasso held his first individual exhibitions here.

Casa Muntadas (1901) Avda. Tibidabo, 48

Casa Macaya (1901), Passeig Sant Joan, 108

An austere neo-gothic facade masks the exuberant interior decoration and scuptures by Arnau, Juyol and Ballarin. The entrance features a capital in the form of a a bicycle, athe preferred means of transport for architect  to commute between  the Macaya and the Casa Amatller for his daily site visits.

Casa de les Punxes o Casa Terrades 1905. Avenida Diagonal, 416 - 420 

Casa Sastre i Marqués (1905), Cardenal Vives i Tutó, 29-35

Palau Baró de Quadres (1906), Diagonal, 373 / Rosselló, 279

Double fronted building with distinct facades to Diagonal and Rosselló, featuring interesting interior stair and decoration by Arnau, Juyol and Ballarin.

Casa Serra (1908), Rambla Catalunya, 126

Fàbrica Casarramona (1909-1912) C/Mèxic 36-44.

Internal streets as fire breaks, wrought and cast iron, natural lighting and ventilation, electric power, twin water towers for fire extinction, exposed brickwork

Casa Muley Afid (1914), Passeig Bonanova, 55

Lluis Doménec i Muntaner (1850-1923)

Editorial Montaner i Simon (actualmente Fundació Antoni Tapies) (1885), Aragó, 255

Castell Tres Dragons (actualmente Museu de Zoología) (1888), Parc de la Ciutadella

Casa Thomas, (1895-1898), Mallorca 291-293

Fonda España (1902), Sant Pau, 9-11

Casa Lleó Morera (1905), Passeig de Gracia, 35

Palau de la Música (1908), Amadeu Vives, 1

Casa Fuster (1911), Passeig de Gracia, 132

Hospital de Sant Pau (1926), Sant Antoni María Claret, 167-171

Josep Fontseré i Mestre, (1829-1897)

Mercat del Born (1876), Comerç, 11

Dipósit de les Aigües (1877), Wellington, 46-48

Umbracle (1884), Parc de la Ciutadella

Pere Falqués, (1850-1916)

Torre Macosa (1882), Selva de Mar, 9

Fanals Pg. Lluís Companys (1888), Pg. Lluís Companys, s/n

Font Plaça Sant Pere (1896), Plaça Sant Pere, s/n

Hidroeléctrica de Catalunya (1897), Avda. Vilanova, 12

Casa Laribal (Antiga Central Telefónica) (1902), Avinyó, 11

Casa Ferrer (1906), Pº de Gracia, 113

Farolas Paseo de Grácia (1906), Passeig de Gracia, s/n

Monument a Pitarra (1907, Plaça del Teatre

Farolas de Avda. Gaudí (1909), Avda. Gaudí, s/n

Mercat de Sants (1913), Sant Jordi, 6

Salvador Valeri, (1873-1954)

Casa Comalat (1911), Córsega, 316 / Avda. Diagonal, 442

Bernardí Martorell, (1870-1937)
Casa Laplana (1907), Pg. Sant Joan, 6

© estudiSP 2010.

f-post war modern 1941-1979

hotel park 1950-53 de moragas
apartment building 1941-3 mitjans
marina apartment block 1952-4 coderch

a-barri gotìc

santa maria del pi
santa maria del mar
plaça del rei
santa ana
la mercè
plaça reial