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Sagnier and the modernistas

Living architectural heritage

By Brian Gallagher 21.09.21

This recently published volume provides a wealth of information for anyone curious about Barcelona’s extraordinary architectural heritage. Specifically the book looks at the frenetic creative activity that happened between 1890 and 1930, first marked by a style known as modernisme, and later neo-classicism. The main subject is Enric Sagnier i Villaveccia (1858 – 1931) but also includes four other contemporary architects of that period; Puig i Cadafalch, Domènech i Montaner, Gaudí and Jujol. Sagnier was extremely prolific, his better known works include, Palacio de Justicia (paseo Luis Companys), Edificio de la Aduana (Port Vell), la Casa Pons (Passeig de Gràcia), Templo  Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón del Tibidabo and many, many more.

If we know how to look for it we are surrounded by the architecture of Sagnier in Barcelona. Inevitably with more than 400 buildings, most of which have survived. The buildings have a rigour and a whimsical quality that is very typical of that age, when architects worked under a moral and political imperative. There are many lessons about human scale, expert craft and joie de vivre that these buildings still teach us today if we are willing to look more closely.

  • Sagnier and the modernistas

    Caixa Pensions, Via Laietana

    © .

  • Sagnier and the modernistas

    Palau de Justícia (Courts), Sagnier with Doménech y Estapa

  • Sagnier and the modernistas

    Casa Pascual i Pons, Passeig de Gràcia and Ronda San Pere

    The hard back book is a beautiful object in itself, with a white cover that simply features the names and signatures of the 5 architects included in the pages. A clue perhaps to how their imaginations worked. The quality of the paper, the typography and the structure are user-friendly. The texts contain numerous anecdotes and graphic information with pull-out graphs / timelines, contemporary photography of the buildings today, sketches and historical images of buildings and monuments now disappeared. There are three editions of the book, in English, Spanish and Catalan.

  • Sagnier and the modernistas

    Nova Duana

  • Sagnier and the modernistas
  • Texts BY Lluís Permanyer
  • Edition by Antonio Sagnier & Fernando Villavecchia coordinated by Ramón Úbeda
  • Published by RBA
  • Photography: Marcela Grassi