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The Architectural Delights of Barcelona
Colour, sunshine, music, architecture and art – Barcelona really is the city that has it all. Last week our Digital Assistant, Max took a trip to Spain’s most eclectic city and today we want to share with you the highlights of his stay.
Barcelona is known throughout Europe for its stunning mix of modern and historical architecture. From the dizzying heights of Spanish nouveau artist Antoni Gaudí’s elaborate, intricate, 1900s buildings to skyscrapers in crystal glass, it’s this juxtaposition that really caught our attention. It’s a unique and distinctive mix that is only found here.
One of the first buildings we noticed as we rambled through the city was the Torre Agbar Tower – a looming and curvaceous structure designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, which opened in 2005. Drawing inspiration from Gaudí’s mosaic masterpieces, the tower blended into Barcelona’s colourful architectural landscape seamlessly.
A brief stroll along the famous Barceloneta boardwalk, the W Hotel, designed by world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill, also captured our attention. Its sleek, design-led exterior belies its impressive size and rather than hotel, resembles a modern sculpture – especially when silhouetted by the setting sun. Its reflective glass façade is a prominent example of high-tech architecture in the city.
Barcelonian’s love Frank O Gehry’s Fish Sculpture. Originally commissioned for the 1992 summer Olympic games, the Fish, or Peix, has been a main attraction at the beach since its inception. It sits serenely, facing out to sea, where its copper-steel body can catch the fading sunlight and glisten beautifully.
Not to be outdone by the Torre Agbar, Gas Natural HQ is the latest innovative design to puncture the city’s skyline. It is a building that truly blurs the line between architecture and art and, despite its corporate usage, is popular amongst tourists and locals alike.
As an ancient city, Barcelona naturally has a labyrinth of narrow, meandering streets, and it’s by wandering down these wonderful paths that you’ll discover the city’s historic architectural gems. From stuccos, to sculptures, and even to elaborate mosaic-fronted residential homes, there is always something to surprise.
At the city’s historic epicentre is the dazzling Basilica de la Sagrada Familia – an exceptionally beautiful cathedral that was, fascinatingly, started way back in 1882. Gaudí took over the project in 1883 and saw over the design until his death in 1926. Since then a plethora of different architects have continued the artist’s groundwork. It is a masterpiece that the architectural world just cannot wait to be complete.
Continuing the historic architecture, the famous Barcelona City Hall located in the city’s Gothic Quarter is another masterpiece which shows just how important architecture, and preserving it, is to the people of Barcelona.
The city has so much more to offer than architecture, however. From graffiti-filled streets, to great food and music, there really is something for everyone in this magaical city. Here’s a brief round-up of our favourite sights along the way…