Barcelona’s architecture is one of its many attractions

The Torre Agbar is one of the most representative symbols of Barcelona.  In 2004 it was regarded as the best skyscraper in the world.

The city has a long and rich architectural history, beginning with the ancient remains of a Roman settlement founded in Barcelona.  Archaeological remains, and scattered fragments, such as the columns of the temple of Augustus in the building of the Centre for Excursionista Catalonia and the remains of Barcino in the subsoil (integrated within the Museum of the City of Barcelona) are within the ancient walls.  So too is the Romanesque church of San Pau del Camp Marcús or chapel.

The medieval period has many preserved buildings, some of them very prominent, particularly works that proliferate in a Gothic town known as Barrio Gothic. The Cathedral of Santa Eulalia and the Church of Santa Maria del Mar, are characterized by their austerity and harmony, for which many consider the most prominent of Catalan yards as one of the few examples of civil Gothic buildings in Europe. It also highlights the medieval buildings Tinell the lounge of the cone, the Palace of Lloctinent or the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya. They also stress the mansions built by wealthy families in the city, structured around a courtyard whose museum now houses the Picasso.

After a period of little relevant architecture in the city, due to poor growth, lack of suitable soil and economic hardship caused by the war of succession, there are now some important actions from the church concerning land.  For example, the actual construction of the plaza and notable buildings in iron, such as the Boqueria market. Years later, a new architectural movement took power in Barcelona, accompanied by a time of great economic prosperity and the expansion of the city beyond the walls, Modernism.

Barcelona is known as the capital of modernism, for the great quantity and quality of work that holds, with gems such as the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and the Palau de la Música Catalana by Lluis Domenech and Montana, or by Josep Palau Macaya Puig i Cadafalch, but undoubtedly the most famous modern piece of architecture is Antoni Gaudi and it is recognized as its most important works, which each year attracts millions of visitors from around the world.

The Expiatori Temple de la Sagrada Familia and Gaudi are left unfinished and continues to be built with donations and contributions from individuals and visitors, and is due to finish by 2020. Another of the most famous works of Gaudi are the Parc Güell, Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera and Casa Batllo.

The city also has several samples of contemporary architecture. Highlights are the German Pavilion of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, which was built during the International Exposition of 1929, or the Foundation Joan Miro’s Catalan architect Josep Lluis Sert. After the Civil War, the city came under the control of the regime and its vision to develop prevents any popular movement. It was not until years after the return of democracy for the 1992 Olympics, that the city went through a period of major changes.  This resulted in works like the Palau Sant Jordi by Arata Isozaki, the Tower of Collserola Norman Foster and the Montjuic Communications Tower by Santiago Calatrava.

Before the Games refurbishment and expansion of the Airport of Barcelona was carried out. The post-Olympic city has maintained remarkably architectural, building buildings like the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (MACBA) by Richard Meier, the Torre Agbar by Jean Nouvel, a new station to Sagrera and the Railway Triangle Tower by Frank Gehry.

In 1999 the city was awarded by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) the Royal Gold Medal, a prize given to architects for all their work, and for the one and only time, it has been awarded to a city and not an individual architect.