Theme of the month - Architecture

 

Lufthansa Highlights Travel reports Barcelona

 

Barcelona - Roman ruins, Postmodernist pearls

It looms large, as if straight out of a parallel world or a fantasy film, but Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia church is very much bricks and mortar. Its bizarre intricacy and sheer scale not only make for visual overload, but have also earned Barcelona a reputation as a lab for a somewhat different kind of architectural experiment. The Mediterranean city has always been a veritable El Dorado for architecture fans, a unique and blessed juxtaposition of Roman ruins, Modernist experiments and Postmodernist pearls.

 
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Roman ruins, Postmodernist pearls

Roman ruins, Postmodernist pearlsn

Museu d’Història de la Ciutat:
Elevator or time machine? The display counts down years, not floors, and the doors open only when visitors reach the year 12 BC to emerge among the ruins of the old Roman settlement of Barcino. The excavation site directly beneath Barcelona’s old town covers an area of 4000 square meters and, like the 14th century Palau Reial Major, or Grand Royal Palace, above it, today belongs to Museu d’Història de la Ciutat, the city’s history museum - and provides an impressive insight into the architecture of antiquity.

Information:
Museu d’Història de la Ciutat: Plaça del Rei, Tel. +34/93 256 21 00. Opening times: Tue-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-8pm. Admission: €7, reduced €5 (young people and seniors, under 25 and over 65), free for children and under 16. Tickets are also valid for admission to all of the museum’s other centers.
www.museuhistoria.bcn.es
Roman ruins, Postmodernist pearls

Sagrada Família:
“My client’s not in a hurry,” the legendary architect Antoni Gaudí liked to quip when asked how long he expected his famous church would take to build. Construction began in 1882 and is currently expected to be completed by 2026. The singular design of the Sagrada Família - no two stones are quite the same - has been one reason for the many delays. Many younger sections of the edifice - like the entire west facade - are not Gaudí’s work at all, but that of architects and artists of later generations. The differences in style are immediately noticeable even to an untrained eye and regularly give rise to heated debate.

Information:
Sagrada Família: Carrer de Mallorca 401, Tel. +34/93 207 30 31. Opening times: daily. 9am-6pm (October-March), daily 9am-8pm (April-September), 9am-2pm (Dec 25+26 and Jan 1+6). Admission: €12.50, reduced €10.50 (retirees, students, under 18s). Long waiting times at the entrance and especially at the elevators are unfortunately the norm!
www.sagradafamilia.cat


Roman ruins, Postmodernist pearls

All Gaudí’s work!
No architect has influenced the face of Barcelona quite like the man who created its most famous landmark, the Sagrada Família church. The residential buildings Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (La Pedrera) and Parc Güell, which was originally intended as a housing development, are also Antoni Gaudí’s work - and among the city’s most-visited attractions. Gaudí and his Catalan contemporaries borrowed heavily from nature and its organic shapes to create Modernisme, which was their own take on Art Nouveau. A particularly good example of this can be found in Casa Milà, which follows the concept religiously and is all but devoid of corners, right angles and straight lines.

Information:
Casa Milà: Passeig de Gràcia 92, Tel. +34/902 40 09 73. Opening times: daily 9am-6:30pm (November-February), daily 9am-8pm (March-October). Admission: €15, reduced €12.
www.lapedreraeducacio.org.Casa Batlló: Passeig de Gràcia 43, Tel. +34/93 488 06 66. Opening times: daily 9am-9pm. Admission €18.15, reduced €14.55
www.casabatllo.es. Parc Güell: Carrer d’Olot 1-13, Tel. +34/93 213 04 88. Opening times: daily 10am through dusk. (Opening times vary slightly at all sites on public holidays)


Roman ruins, Postmodernist pearls

MACBA:
The Barcelona Museum for Contemporary Art became an immediate city landmark,
visible from afar, when it opened in the early 1990s. Designed by US architect Richard Meier and built between 1992 and 1995 in the formerly run-down district of El Raval, the snow-white MACBA building soon came to symbolize the city's cultural rebirth in what is now one of Barcelona's trendiest neighborhoods.

Information:
MACBA: Plaça dels Àngels 1, Tel. +34/93 412 081 0. Opening times: Mon, Wed-Fri 11am-7:30pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-3pm (Sep 25–Jun 26), Mon, Wed-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-3pm. (Jun 27–Sep 24), times vary on public holidays. Admission: €7.50, reduced €6 (students), free for children and seniors (under 14 and over 65). Annual pass: €12 www.macba.es


Roman ruins, Postmodernist pearls

Edifici Fòrum:
Paving the way for a new city: Built between 2000 and 2004, Edifici Fòrum was conceived as a symbol of Barcelona’s future; indeed, the city fathers commissioned nothing less than an iconographic edifice from the two Swiss star architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. The Fòrum, an ensemble encompassing an auditorium with space for 3200 and a series of exhibition halls, was the focal point of the Universal Forum of Cultures - and just as controversial as that mega-event. In fact, its critics still refer to the massive triangular structure as the “floating blue cheesecake.”

Information:
Edifici Fòrum: Rambla de Prim 2-4.


Roman ruins, Postmodernist pearls

W-Hotel:
The Barcelona skyline has been reaching for the clouds since the 1980s and in 2010 received its latest addition: the W hotel designed by acclaimed Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill. This 99-meter tower resembling a vast billowing sail set on top of the old harbor pier has 26 floors and from its upper levels guarantees some spectacular views out over the Mediterranean. Book a room here and you’re not just right by the beach but also in a hotel of the first water.

Information:
W-Hotel: Plaça de la Rosa del Vents 1, Tel. +34/93 295 28 00. Double rooms start at €320 per night.
www.w-barcelona.com
 

Photos: Thinkstock, Corbis (3), Gaillarde/Gamma/laif, Rafael Vargas, PR

 
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