2010年12月29日 星期三

Barcelona’s Other Architect, Domènech

Lluís Domènech i Montaner (December 21, 1850 - December 27, 1923) was a Spanish Catalan architect who was highly influential on Modernisme català, the Catalan Art Nouveau / Jugendstil movement. He was also a Catalan politician.

Born in Barcelona, he initially studied physics and natural sciences, but soon switched to architecture. He was registered as an architect in Barcelona in 1873. He also held a 45-year tenure as a professor and director at the Escola d'Arquitectura, Barcelona's school of architecture, and wrote extensively on architecture in essays, technical books and articles in newspapers and journals.

His most famous buildings, the Hospital de Sant Pau and Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, have been collectively designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As an architect, 45-year professor of architecture and prolific writer on architecture, Domènech i Montaner played an important role in defining the Modernisme arquitectonic (Art Nouveau / Jugendstil in architecture) in Catalonia. This style has become internationally renowned, mainly due to the work of Antoni Gaudí. Domènech i Montaner's article "En busca d'una arquitectura nacional" (In search of a national architecture), published 1878 in the journal La Renaixença, reflected the way architects at that time sought to build structures that reflected the Catalan character.

His buildings displayed a mixture between rationalism and fabulous ornamentation inspired by Spanish-Arabic architecture, and followed the curvilinear design typical of Art Nouveau. In the El castell dels 3 dragons restaurant in Barcelona (built for the World's Fair in 1888), now the Zoological Museum, he applied very advanced solutions (a visible iron structure and ceramics). He later developed this style further in other buildings, such as the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona (1908), where he made extensive use of mosaic, ceramics and stained glass, the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona, and the Institut Pere Mata in Reus.

An interesting characteristic of Domènech i Montaner's work was the evolution towards more open structures and lighter materials, evident in the Palau de la Música Catalana. Other architects, like Gaudí, tended to move in the opposite direction.

Domènech i Montaner also played a prominent role in the Catalan autonomist movement. He was a member of the La Jove Catalunya and El Centre Català and later chaired the Lliga de Catalunya (1888) (Catalonian League) and the Unió Catalanista (1892) (Catalonian Union). He was one of the organisers of the commission that approved the Bases de Manresa, a list of demands for Catalan autonomy. He was a member of the Centre Nacional Català (1889) and Lliga Regionalista (1901), and was one of the four parliamentarians who won the so-called "candidature of the four presidents" in 1901. Though re-elected in 1903, he abandoned politics in 1904 to devote himself fully to archeological and architectural research.

He died at Barcelona in 1923.

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Education and teaching career

Born in Carrer Avinyó in Barcelona,[1] he was the second son of Pere Domènech i Saló, a prestigious publisher and book-binder, and Maria Montaner i Vila, a member of a prosperous family from Canet de Mar, where Domènech i Montaner spent much time in his home/office, now converted into a museum.[2] After having studied physics and mathematics, he studied as an architect in Barcelona and at the school of architecture of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, from where he graduated on 13 December 1873.[1]

Having completed his studies, he travelled through France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Austria to gain experience of trends in architecture.

In 1875, as soon as the Barcelona school of architecture opened, he joined it, along with his friend Josep Vilaseca, as a teacher of topography and mineralogy. In 1877 he became professor of "Knowledge of materials and the application of physiochemical science to architecture". In 1899 he was appointed professor of "Architectural Composition" and project teacher. In 1900 he became director of the school of architecture, and betwen 1901 and 1905 he was substituted by Joan Torras i Guardiola, Domènech at this time being in Madrid as a deputy in the Congress. He returned to the post from 1905 to 1920.[3] His teaching career lasted 45 years, and he exercised a considerable influence on what was to become Modernisme in Catalonia. With his colleague Antoni Maria Gallissà he subsequently set up a workshop for advanced work on the decorative arts applied to architecture.[4]

Casa Fuster
Casa Navàs in Reus
Editorial Muntaner i Simón, now the home of Fundació Antoni Tàpies


Domènech contributed to the leading Catalan publications: La Renaixença, Lo Catalanista, Revista de Catalunya, El Diluvio and La Veu de Catalunya. In 1904, after falling out with Francesc Cambó, he ceased to contribute to La Veu de Catalunya and founded the weekly El Poble Català. He was also the author of many books, some technical works (Historia general del arte: arquitectura, 1886; Iluminación solar de los edificios, 1877) and some political and social essays ("La política tradicional d'Espanya", 1898; "Estudis polítics", 1905, "Conservació de la personalitat de Catalunya", 1912, "La Política tradicional d'Espanya: com pot salvar-se'n Catalunya", 1919).

In an article entitled “En busca de una arquitectura nacional” (In search of a national architecture), published on 28 February 1878 in La Renaixença, he set forth the guiding principles for a modern, national architecture for Catalonia. [5]

He was also active as a publisher. He was editor of the Biblioteca Artes y Letras, published by Editorial Domènech, the family firm, for which he also designed many book-covers, and which included the works of the country’s best writers and translations of the most important European authors of the time. Between 1886 and 1897, the Editorial Montaner i Simón published under his direction the monumental Historia General del Arte. Domènech also illustrated the first part, and it was continued by Josep Puig i Cadafalch.[6]

In company with his friends Antoni M. Gallissà and Josep Font i Gumà and with members of the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya, he visited Romanesque churches in several parts of Catalonia; in 1904, those of Pallars, Ribagorça and Cerdanya; in 1905, those of Ripollès, Gironès, Vallespir, Rosselló and Vall d'Aran; and finally, in 1906 he visited the churches of Empordà, whose style he dubbed First Romanesque. In this way Domènech collected material for his work on Romanesque architecture, and he provided the School of Architecture with an important photographic archive.[7]



The Spanish Wikipedia was used as a source for this article.


Cultured Traveler

Barcelona’s Other Architect, Domènech

Lourdes Segade for The New York Times

Lluís Domènech i Montaner created the dazzling 1908 Palau de la Música Catalana, a jewel of Catalan modernisme, adorning surfaces and choosing stained glass to fill the space with light. More Photos »

IT’S sometimes hard to have a conversation about Barcelona that does not include the name Gaudí in it. The world is so gaga for Antoní Gaudí — the genius of Catalan modernisme (the Spanish version of Art Nouveau) whose early 20th-century buildings are virtual emblems of the city — that most of his modernista contemporaries go little noticed by tourists.

But if you’re like me, and don’t much like the structural theatrics and unbridled mannerism of Gaudí’s buildings, check out those of Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1849-1923), an under-sung hero of the movement. A journey to the three places in Catalonia where his buildings made a splash a century ago — including Barcelona — is made easier by following the Barcelona Modernisme Route, which was created in 2005. A guidebook and map of the route can be bought for 18 euros, or $23.50 at $1.31 to the euro, at several kiosks around the city, and can be viewed online at rutadelmodernisme.com.

Domènech is often hailed as the most modern of the modernistas, notably for his mastery of lightweight steel construction. Unesco, at least, doesn’t give him short shrift, having designated his most important buildings in Barcelona a World Heritage Site (just as it did with the works of Gaudí). Multifaceted and astonishingly productive, Domènech wore many hats. Besides being an architect and professor (Gaudí was his student at Barcelona’s School of Architecture), he was also a prominent politician and Catalan nationalist and a pre-eminent scholar of heraldry.

For architects, Barcelona at the turn of the 20th century was the right place at the right time. Nineteenth-century industrialization brought tremendous wealth, and between the Universal Exposition of 1888 (for which Domènech created two of the most noteworthy buildings) and the construction of the Eixample — the vast grid of streets laid out in 1859 to decongest the old city — there was a heady mix of civic pride and social ascension in the air. The rising middle class was eager to make its mark on the rapidly growing city, and the new modernista style seemed perfectly suited to this task, rife as it was with neo-Gothic motifs that linked the newly minted mercantile titans to Barcelona’s rich medieval history.

Robert Lubar, an associate professor at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, points out that, much more so than Gaudí, Domènech was influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement of Ruskin and Morris. “He believed that ‘the complete interior’ served some kind of ethical purpose,” Professor Lubar said.

Domènech’s most “complete interior” is the 1908 Palau de la Música Catalana, a stunning concert hall miraculously shoehorned into a small lot at the junction of the old city and the new. Often likened to a conductor, Domènech knew how to get the best performance from the sculptors, ceramicists and woodworkers who executed his designs. Indeed, nearly every surface inside the auditorium has been adorned with color, texture and relief and, because the walls and ceiling are made almost entirely of stained glass, colored light.

Atop the balcony’s mosaic-clad columns, bronze chandeliers tilt like sunflowers toward the stained-glass sun that seems to float in midair from the ceiling’s inverted dome. The astonishing expanses of glass were achieved with the use of structural steel — invisible beneath so much decoration.

The other pillar of Domènech’s World Heritage status is the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul), set on 40 park-like acres at the northern edge of the Eixample. Heeding the latest theories of hygiene, Domènech envisioned a complex of 20 pavilions to ensure ventilation and access to sunshine. He ingeniously sunk the corridors and service areas of the hospital underground so that patients and visitors in the pavilions and gardens above would feel as if they were in a village — a fantastical one with myriad domes, spires, finials, sculptures and mosaics. Currently, the 12 pavilions Domènech built (his architect son completed the last eight) are being restored; some will become a museum of Modernisme and others offices for humanitarian organizations like Unesco. Until its scheduled opening in 2016, hard-hat tours are offered daily.

With the Modernisme Route’s map and guidebook in hand, you can lead yourself around Domènech’s residential structures in Barcelona, most of which are clustered between the Passeig de Gracia and Carrer Girona. You can stay in one of the grandest of his palatial homes, Casa Fuster, now a five-star hotel, at the top of Passeig de Gracia. In the street-level Café Vienes, you can sip Champagne and admire a vaulted ceiling and a forest of marble columns.

Near the port is the Hotel España, which, though not built by Domènech, had its restaurant, La Fonda España, renovated by him a century ago. It’s just been spruced up and shines anew with Domènech’s strappy wood and ceramic wainscoting, murals by Ramon Casas and a sculptural fireplace by Eusebi Arnau.

Want to see more? Eighty miles south, in the town of Reus, is Casa Navàs, another “complete interior,” which surrounds you the minute you step into the stair hall — a tiny indoor garden of flowers and vines wrought in mosaic, stained glass and carved stone. Throughout the house, the capital of each column features a different floral motif. Most of the rooms contain their original, exuberant furnishings by master craftsmen like Gaspar Homar.

On the outskirts of Reus, the Pere Mata Institute, a mental health hospital begun by Domènech in 1898, was meant to counter the tradition of keeping the mentally ill out of sight. Today you can visit one of the six pavilions, the one that housed “rich and illustrious men,” as the guide explains on the 90-minute tours. The sumptuously decorated men’s pavilion has a billiard room, grand salon and formal dining room. But lest it be confused with a typical men’s club, the delicate-looking leaded glass windows were reinforced with iron to keep patients in.

Upstairs, the rooms contain many of their original furnishings, including clever armoires with basins (and running water) built into them. There were also suites with office spaces (and secretaries) for those patients who still had empires to run.

About 50 miles northeast of Barcelona in the coastal town of Canet de Mar, one can see three charming structures in the space of about 100 yards. Domènech’s mother was from the region and he also had a home here, which is now a museum that displays his drawings and original furnishings. Across the street is the Ateneu Canetenc, once a cultural and political club and now a library.

Perhaps the most satisfying stop in Canet is Casa Roura, a little fortress of a house that is now a restaurant. The facade’s bravura brickwork creates a lively play of light and is further animated by turrets, parapets and gleaming roof tiles glazed in cobalt blue and canary yellow. The old double-height salon with its baronial fireplace is now the main dining room. On par with the rich architectural surroundings is the amazing lunch menu (13.50 euros) — especially the seafood fideua (like paella, but made with pasta instead of rice).

The tour ends where Domènech’s love of medieval architecture may have begun: at his mother’s house. (One of them anyway — the Castell Santa Florentina in the hills above Canet has been in the Montaner family for centuries.) Around 1909, Domènech expanded the original fortified stone house, deftly mixing his neo-Gothic riffs with authentic Gothic architectural elements like columns, portals and arcades “harvested” from a defunct monastery into a modernista masterpiece, one that quite literally spans the ages.



For 18 euros, or $23.50 at $1.31 to the euro, a Modernisme Route pack of two guidebooks with maps and discounts for many sites can be purchased at special Modernisme tourist offices in Plaça de Catalunya, Hospital de Sant Pau and Pavellons Güell. Information: www.rutadelmodernisme.com.

Palau de la Música Catalana, Palau de la Música 4-6, (34-90) 247-5485; www.palaumusica.cat. A tour is 12 euros.

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, San Antoní Maria Claret 167, (34-93) 291-9000; www.santpau.es.

Hotel Casa Fuster, Passeig de Gracia 132, (34-93) 255-3000; www.hotelescenter.es.

Hotel España, Sant Pau 9-11, (34-93) 318-1758; www.hotelespanya.com


Tours of both the Pere Mata Institute and Casa Navàs can be arranged on specific days through the Reus tourism office.

Reus Turisme, Plaça del Mercadal 3, (34-97) 701-0670; turisme.reus.cat


Casa Museu Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Xamfra Rieres Buscarons i Gavarra, (34-93) 795-4615; www.canetdemar.cat. Entrance fee: 2 euros.

Casa Roura, Riera Sant Domènec 1, (34-93) 794-0375; www.casaroura.com.

Castell Santa Florentina is a private home but tours can be booked some Saturdays and by appointment. Riera del Pinar s/n, (34-609) 813-339; www.santaflorentina.com.