Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

It was my friend Jo who pointed out this place in Barcelona. When she visited the site was still undergoing renovation, but knowing how much I love Art Nouveau she prompted me to seek it out during my visit to the city last October. So I did. And I loved it. So much so that I am going to have to break a post about the site into several parts as there is so much to share. To begin with we will take a look at the entrance to the site. The Administration Pavilion.

The entrance to the site is at the end of Avenue de Gaudi and at the other end the Sagrada Familia is situated. It was designed as a monumental altarpiece with one central and two lateral components in the form of a great ‘supreme being’ who welcomes with open arms, those who visit the site.

The origins of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Paul date back to 1401 when six Barcelona hospitals were merged. In 1902 work began on a new hospital to serve the growing needs of the city and the architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner was commissioned to build the new hospital which opened in 1930. It was funded by a legacy from banker Pau Gil whose statue adorns the front staircase.

Pau Gil (the banker who funded the building)

Designs by Francesc Labarta and mosaics by Marius Maragliano run around the facade.

It is a masterpiece of Catalan Modernism and a city within a city, with separate pavilions for the different medical specialities and landscaped gardens. Twenty-seven pavilions were built, sixteen of which are modernist. The buildings are linked by underground tunnels.

The pavilions are arranged along two main north/south and east/west axis 500m x 50m wide and adjacent streets 300m x 30m wide. The buildings are symmetrical which may be one reason that I find them appealing. And to visually even out their heights some are one storey and others two storeys above a basement.

From within the site you can see that the rear of the Administration Pavilion is as charming as the front. It was built between 1905 and 1910 and is the most ornate (wait until you see the interior), and was designed to be the main entrance as well as administration and hospital admission offices.

The Art Nouveau site was officially opened at the end of February 2014 after four years of refurbishment work. Of the twelve pavilions, six have been finished and two are ongoing. The completed pavilions will be used as functional work spaces.

I hope this has whetted your appetite as next time we are going to have a look inside the site.

Source: All the information in these Sant Pau posts is taken from the admission booklet. 

How to get there:
Metro: L5 Sant Pau / Dos de Maig or L2 to Sagrada Familia and walk up Avenue de Gaudi
Bus: H8, 19, 20, 45, 47, 50, 51, 92, 117, 192

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

24 thoughts on “Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site”

  1. Fabulous to see it completed, Jude. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first spotted it. We wandered round the outside on tiptoe trying to get a good look over barriers and still it was astounding. Thanks for the link, and yes please- take me inside 🙂 🙂

  2. A very grand entrance. A location that presumably beckons the visitor in to be rewarded with even more visual delights. So the entire site is a hospital precinct? Is it still in use?

  3. Your friend Restlessjo pointed me towards this post. I visited this week, and am so glad to have your post as a souvenir. Your photos are great, and you’ve summed up the history of this beautiful place so well. Thank you.

    1. You are very welcome Margaret. Nice to have you visiting and glad you enjoyed the post(s) – I loved this place as you can tell 🙂

        1. Not at all. I was disappointed in my own photos, and you’ve taken great shots and written a really interesting account.

        2. I am very happy that you like the photos. As you can see from all the posts, I really love the architecture there. 🙂

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