Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona

Works Spanning the Modernista and Noucentista Periods of Catalan Architecture

Josep Puig i Cadafalch

If you look at the sheer quantity of buildings and projects by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona, you realise that he is the most prolific but often the least consistent of the three great Modernista architects.

Born in 1867, Josep Puig i Cadafalch was 15 years younger than Gaudí and 17 years younger than Domènech i Montaner under whom he studied architecture in Barcelona and who definitely influenced his early Modernista period.

In fact, the buildings by Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona can be divided into three broad periods.

The Modernista period lasts roughly from 1895 to 1905 and includes the majority of his most attractive buildings, such as Casa Martí, Casa Amatller and the Casa de les Punxes amongst others, which are often referred to as Urban Gothic Palaces.

Overlapping this period are a number of buildings, such as Casa Trinxet, Casa Muntades and Casa Company, which have been described as Rational Idealist or more simply the White Period and bearing in mind the tastes of his bourgeois clients, are a little less ornate.

The final period of Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona uses Monumental, Neoclassical and Neo-Baroque elements in what became known as the Noucentista architectural style, which coincided with the run up to the 1929 Barcelona Universal Exhibition, and in many ways was a backlash against the ornamentation of Modernisme.

Like Domènech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch was also a Catalanist politician, who was actually President of the regional government the Mancomunitat of Catalonia between 1917 and 1924, so much of his work involves Catalan nationalist symbols.

He had difficulty working under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, went into exile in France during the Spanish Civil War and on his return to Barcelona in 1942 was prohibited from working as an architect by the Franco regime.


1896 - Casa Martí

Casa Martí - Els Quatre Gats

Carrer Montsió, 3 bis, Ciutat Vella, 08002 Barcelona

Casa Martí was Puig i Cadafalch's first major project in Barcelona and was commissioned by the in-laws of the textile magnate Francesc Vilumara.

With its polychrome windows and ornamented balconies, the house is more North European in style than Catalan and it is worth noting the sculptures by Eusebi Arnau, the wrought ironwork by Manuel Ballarín and Josep Llimona's stautue of Sant Josep on the corner.

In 1897, the ground floor was occupied by the Quatre Gats café, where Ramon Casas and Santiago Rusiñol accepted a young Pablo Picasso into their group of Modernista artists and musicians.

The bar is still open to the public and retains much of the original decoration with paintings by Casas, Rusiñol and other Modernista luminaries.

1898 - Casa on Carrer Boqueria

Casa on Carrer Boqueria - Hotel Petit Palace

Carrer Boqueria, 12, Ciutat Vella, 08002 Barcelona
Commissioned by the owners of Casa Martí, the building has had many uses including being home to the Fonda Sucursal del Universo.

This unremarkable house has a sgraffito facade topped by parapets and as usual the wrought is by Manuel Ballarín and the doorway is flanked by two sculptures by Eusebi Arnau.

The building was restored in 2009 and now houses the Petit Palace Boqueria Hotel.

1898-1900 - Casa Amatller

Casa Amatller

Passeig de Gràcia, 41, Eixample, 08008 Barcelona

Considered one of Puig i Cadafalch's masterpieces and located alongside Gaudí's Casa Batlló and Domènech i Montaner's Casa Lleó Morera on the Manzana de la Discordia, Casa Amatller was commissioned by chocolate manufacturer Antoni Amatller i Costa.

It is fact a remodelation of a house built in 1875 that Amatller wanted transformed into an Urban Gothic Palace.

Puig i Cadafalch put together a particularly talented group of collaborators for this project and the sculptures by Eusebi Arnau and Alfons Juyol are really something special.

Following a period of restoration, Casa Amatller opens to the public again in February 2014.

1900 - Casa-Estudi Fotògrafs Napoleon

Frontó Colom - Fotògrafs Napoleon

La Rambla, 18, Ciutat Vella, 08002 Barcelona
When the pioneering photographers Napoleon moved from their former premises in Plaça de l'Àngel, they commissioned Puig i Cadafalch to restore the ground floor of this three-storey building by Francesc Rogent.

This was where the very first movie using Lumiere technology was projected in Barcelona.

Unfortunately nothing remains of the original photographic studio as it was converted into Frontó Colom in 1941.

1901 - Palau Macaya

Casa Macaya

Passeig de Sant Joan, 108, Eixample, 08009 Barcelona

I don't know much about the owners of this charming urban residence but the white facade, sgraffito and ornamented gothic windows are typical early Puig i Cadafalch.

However, the building is considered the first example of the architect's white period.

The sculptures and capitals are by Eusebi Arnau and you should look out for the figure of the man on the bicycle next to the door,which is supposedly is the architect rushing between jobs as he had so much work on at the time.

In 2012, the house was converted into the Caixa Espai exhibition space so if you visit you will see the fine entrance, interior patio and stone stairway.

1901 - Casa Muntadas

Casa Muntadas

Avinguda Tibidabo, 48, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08035 Barcelona

The Muntadas family, who were owners of the España Industrial textile factory, commissioned Puig i Cadafalch to this villa in 1901.

Set in extensive gardens overlooking Barcelona, the form of the facade harks back to the typical Catalan masia or country house but the floral decorations are typically Modernista.
This white period house is still a private residence.

Thanks to Joan Palau of Barcelona Modernista Singular for the photo.

1902 - Demolished buildings

Café Torino

Both the Cafè Torino at Passeig de Gràcia, 18 shown in the photo and Hotel Terminus at Carrer Aragó, 282 are iconic buildings that have been demolished but deserve a mention.

The Cafè Torino had an Arabian smoking room by Gaudí and was the bar responsible for popularising Martini in Barcelona.

Hotel Terminus was a ornate rose-coloured building that formed part of the Passeig de Gràcia train station when the line ran along what is now Carrer Aragó.

Quite a few more buildings by Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona have disappeared but these are perhaps two of the most important because their location on or close to Passeig de Gràcia means that they linger in the Barcelona collective memory.

1903 - Casa Serra

Casa Serra - Diputació de Barcelona

Rambla de Catalunya, 126, Eixample, 08008 Barcelona

Commissioned by Pere Serra, this fine urban palace was never occupied by its owner but became a convent.

The stone facade is magnificently decorated by Eusebi Arnau with famous people from the arts and the turrets are reminiscent of the Casa de les Punxes.

When building was restored in the 1980s to house the Diputació de Barcelona part of the building was demolished and a modern glass construction was erected in its place.

1903 - Casa Mercè Pastor de Cruïlles

Torre Pastor

Carretera Vallvidrera Tibidabo, 102-104, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08035 Barcelona

Also known as the Torre Pastor, this family residence and studio was commissioned by Mercedes Pastor.

Built in stone, it is modeled on 15th century Catalan houses with a square base and large overhanging roof.

It is currently occupied by the Salesian religious order.

1904 - Casa Trinxet

Casa Trinxet

Carrer Còrsega, 268, Eixample, 08008 Barcelona

Demolished in 1967 by developers Nuñez i Navarro in spite of public outcry, Casa Trinxet is another of Barcelona's iconic lost buildings.

The building was part of Puig i Cadafalch's white period but in my opinion can still be described as broadly Modernista.

The disappearance of Casa Trinxet is often cited as an example to modern developers who seem intent on destroying Barcelona's architectural patrimony.

Panteó Terrades

1904 - Panteó Terrades

Cementiri de Montjuïc, Carrer de la Mare de Déu de Port, 56 - 58, Sants-Montjuïc, 08038 Barcelona

This pantheon was built for the Terrades family who would later commission the Casa de les Punxes.

Once again it is a collaboration with Eusebi Arnau and is in excellent condition.

1904-1906 - Palau del Baró de Quadras

Palau Baró de Quadras

Avinguda Diagonal, 373, Eixample, 08008 Barcelona

Following the completion of a palace in Massanes, the Baron de Quadras commissioned Puig i Cadafalch to build him another house in Barcelona.

What I find particularly interesting is that house has two facades with the one on Avinguda Diagonal resembling a severe Gothic palace whilst the back on Carrer Rosselló is much more of a simple townhouse with Modernista features.

Until recently, the Palau was home to the cultural organisation Casa Asia and it was possible to visit the first floor rooms.

The building now houses the Institut Ramon Llull and visits are limited to the entrance and fine staircase.

1905 - Casa de les Punxes

Casa de les Punxes - Casa Terrades

Avinguda Diagonal, 416-420, Eixample, 08037 Barcelona

The official name of this iconic building is Casa Terrades but everyone knows it as the Casa de les Punxes or House of Spikes.

The project was commissioned the Terrades sisters who owned three buildings in the trianlgle between Diagonal, Rosselló and Bruc and wanted to rent them out.

It is undoubtedly one of Puig i Cadafalch's most brilliant works with its Gothic appearance and witch's hat towers.

You should also look out for the ceramic panes on the facades - one includes the Sant Jordi with the Catalanist slogan 'Sant Patró de Catalunya, torneu-nos la llibertat' - 'Patron Saint of Catalonia give us back our freedom' - which caused an uproar in the Madrid press at the time.   

Unfortunately, the building is occupied by shops and private flats and it isn't possible to see inside.

1905 - Casa Sastre i Marqués

Casa Sastre i Marques

Carrer Cardenal Vives i Tutó, 29-35, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08034 Barcelona

Commissioned by the doctor and pharmacist Sastre i Marquès, whose shop Puig i Cadafalch had designed earlier the same year.

Casa Sastre i Marqués shows the architect at the height of his white period, where he also combines brick, sgraffito and ceramic tiles.

The most eyecatching feature is the pavilion in the corner of the garden.

The house is in private hands and has been restored recently.   

1911 - Casa Pere Company

Casa Pere Company-Museu de l'Esport de Catalunya

Carrer Buenos Aires, 56-58, Eixample, 08036 Barcelona

This is another white period building but it has a definite nordic feel along with Viennese Sezession elements so strikes me as a mixture of styles.

The building was restored in 1986 by Joan Bassegoda i Nonell and now houses the Catalan Sport Museum so you can visit the interior and walk round the garden.

I particularly like the old photographs of the house set apart on its own and it is important to remember that so many of these buildings were never conceived to be jampacked into the urban environment but rather admired from a distance.

1911 - Fàbrica Casaramona

Fàbrica Casaramona

Carrer de Mèxic, 36-44, Sants-Montjuïc, 08038 Barcelona

The Fàbrica Casaramona is one of the largest projects by Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona and was commissioned Casimir Casaramona i Puigcercós, who wanted to relocate his textile factory to the foot of Montjuïc after the previous one had been destroyed by fire.

The factory is a series of fine brick buildings    all one level with only the two water towers break the uniformity of the design and as an exercise in utilitarian architecture reminds me of Hospital de Sant Pau by Domènech i Montaner.

Following the company's closure, the building as barracks for the Policia Nacional until 1992 when it was bought and restored by La Caixa and Fàbrica Casaramona now houses the CaixaForum Barcelona art museum.

1914 - Casa Miele

Casa Miele

Carrer Ferran 2, Ciutat Vella, 08002 Barcelona
On the corner of Carrer Ferran and La Rambla, Casa Miele sold objects manufactured using a metal called 'plata Miele', a German invention that was a kind of synthetic silver, which was considered the utmost in modernity in turn of the century Barcelona.

Puig i Cadafalch did the adaption of the whole building but very little of the original design remains apart from parts of the bars and decorations on the balconies and windows.

Sadly, the first two floors are now occupied by Kentucky Fried Chicken and the jarring red definitely distracts from the rest of the building.

1914 - Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya

Palau de la Generalitat

Plaça de Sant Jaume, 4, Ciutat Vella, 08002 Barcelona

The establishment of the Mancomunitat of Catalonia meant the recuperation of Palau de la Generalitat as a symbol of Catalanism.

Enric Prat de la Riba commissioned Puig i Cadafalch to do the restoration and remove the marks of two centuries of Bourbon occupation.

The work also involved creating a space inside the building for the National Library - La Biblioteca de Catalunya.

The fact that Puig i Cadafalch was given the responsibility of restoring the building indicates the extent of the architect's influence in political circles of the time.

He was, of course, to become President of the Mancomunitat himself in 1917.

1914 - Casa Muley Afid

Casa Muley Afid

Passeig de la Bonanova, 55, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08017 Barcelona

Muley Afid, the son of Hassan I of Morrocco was exiled in Barcelona commissioned this white period building with a certain oriental air.

It is a particularly lovely two-storey house with terraces, miradors and turrets set in a garden.

The interior is just as nice and features a celebrated fresco by Opisso.

Casa Muley Afid is completely restored and now houses the Mexican Consulate.

1917 - Casa Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Puig i Cadafalch

Carrer de Provença, 231, Eixample, 08008 Barcelona

This was Puig i Cadafalch's private home where he lived and died in 1956.

It is a sober building from the yellow period when Puig has overcome his obsession with Gothic palaces and Central European chalets and the house is mose Noucentist than Modernist.

It is a simple three-storey house with a relatively plain facade that includes sgraffito above the door and a curved tribune window.

The interior is also a practical family home and includes studio space where the great architect worked on his projects.

1918 - Restaurant de la Font del Gat

Restaurant de la Font del Gat

Parc de Montjuïc, Sants-Montjuïc, 08038 Barcelona

Puig i Cadafalch directed the urbanisation of the whole Font de Gat area, which had been designed by Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier

The restaurant was part of this project and was a popular place in the early 20th century.

This squat building has a slightly oriental feel in my opinion and shows how difficult it is to categorise much of Puig i Cadafalch's work.

It was restored in 2002 but has not been a restaurant in decades and now houses the Reial Federació Espanyola de Tennis.

1920 - Casa Carreras

Set de Gòtic - Casa Carreras

Carrer Montsió, 5, Ciutat Vella, 08002 Barcelona

Casa Carreras is another remodelation of an existing building and the most attractive feature are the two panels of Modernista painted tiles showing Saint Joaquim and Saint Eloi on the facade.

Although built 20 years later, its Gothic brickwork is actually quite in keeping with neighbouring Casa Martí and now houses the Set de Gòtic tapas bar.

If you are lucky, the gates to the passage between Casa Carreras and Casa Martí will be open and you will be able to get a better view of the two buildings.

1919 - Quatre Columnes

Les Quatre Columnes

Plaça de les Cascades, s/n, Sants-Montjuïc, 08004 Barcelona   

The four ionic columns were a monument to the Catalan nation and represented the four stripes on the Senyera - the Catalan flag and were to be a centrepiece of the Exposició Barcelona International Exposition in 1929.

They were demolished by Dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera in 1928 as part of his campaign to remove all symbols of Catalan identity.

Rebuilt in 2010, what you now see is a very close approximation to the Puig i Cadafalch originals.

1920 - Palaus d'Alfons XIII i de Victòria Eugènia

Palau d'Alfons XIII

Fira de Barcelona, Plaça de les Cascades, s/n, Sants-Montjuïc, 08004 Barcelona

Symmetrically located next to the Magic Fountain, at the foot of the Palau Nacional, these two pavilions were built for Barcelona International Exposition in 1929.

Each had a surface area of 14,000 m2, rectangular floors formed by quadrangular modules, and a set of four towers for each building, topped by pinnacles in the shape of pyramids and decorated with sgraffito, representing Solomonic columns and plant motifs.

Along with the columns, the pavilions are two of the few buildings by Puig i Cadafalch that can really be described as Noucentista.

They are currently part of the Barcelona Trade Fair and so are still used as exhibition spaces, which was of course their original purpose.

1921 - Casa Pich i Pon

Casa Pich i Pon

Plaça de Catalunya, 9, Eixample, 08002 Barcelona

The original structure of this imposing office building on the corner of Plaça de Catalunya and Rambla de Catalunya was by Josep Vilaseca.

Puig i Cadafalch did a complete reformation and added the Catalan baroque elements that we see today.

The building is definitely monumentalist in inspiration and was considered very modern at the time.

Casa Pich i Pon cuts a striking presence in Barcelona's central square and current houses a mixture of banks and political institutions.

1922 - Casa Luis Guarro

Casa Luis Guarro

Via Laietana, 37, Ciutat Vella, 08003 Barcelona

Commissioned by the industrialist Luis Guarro, this building of offices and apartments is difficult to distinguish from the others alongside it on Via Laietana and is probably one of Puig i Cadafalch's least inspiring buildings in Barcelona.

It is basically a yellow period building with a few Neo-Baroque elements such as the columns and the garlands of flowers and fruit on the frontispiece.

Much of the architects work at this time is purely functional and it is safe say that he had fully turned away from his early Modernista influences

1924 - Casa Casaramona

Casa Casaramona

Passeig de Gracia, 48, Eixample, 08008 Barcelona

Located directly opposite the marvellous Casa Amatller, this rather uninspiring commission by Casimir Casarramona, whose factory Puig i Cadafalch had built a few years earlier.

It is a restoration of an existing building and like Casa Guarro offers little in the way of Modernisme being firmly in the yellow period.

The turrets and the ornate facade do give the building a monumental feel but today, this is easily missed as the ground floor now houses the Passeig de Gràcia branch of MacDonald's.

1924 - Casa del segle XVII

Casa Segle XVII

Carrer Sant Pere Més Alt, 24, Ciutat Vella, 08003 Barcelona

A reformation of an 17th century building is another piece of practical architecture and once again difficult to distinguish from the houses around it..

However, the setting on Sant Pere Més Alt is more intimate and the fact that the building is just a few doors down from Domènech i Montaner's magnificent Palau de la Música Catalana means it is probably worth a visit.

1928 - Casa Rosa Alemany

Casa Rosa Alemany

Avinguda República Argentina, 6, Gràcia, 08023 Barcelona

Commissioned by politician Joan Pich i Pon and built in collaboration with Lluís Planas, this Noucentista building was considered ultramodern at the time as the owner's residence was located on the top floor.

The composition of the facade is based around the positioning of the tribune and the balconies and above the doorway there is a statue of Diana the Hunter.

This was to be the last building by Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona as the political events that would first lead to the Second Republic and then the Spanish Civil War were beginning to take over.

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