The central body of the main facade is structured as if it were an altarpiece, in three vertical streets separated by four pilasters, of stone to the first floor and of brick the rest, and in three levels.
At the lower level are three arched arched access doors with an arched arch decorated with blue and white tiles with the initials “P” and “G” alluding to their patron; the cross, from the original hospital; the four Catalan bars; and a ship, of the Parisian shield. These iconographic elements are repeated in different places of the enclosure and especially in this building.
The arches are supported by triple stone columns on which four large stone sculptures are attached, a kind of Wagnerian angels in the shape of Hermes that merge into the same architecture, by Gargallo, which represent the three theological virtues Christian: Faith, Hope, Charity and Works (Operibus) that must necessarily accompany our virtues. These are ironic pieces with closed wings and a very personal style that are repeated on the north facade of this building and on the porch pillars of the operating building. The arches are decorated externally with a series ofarcades that house half-spherical ceramic pieces in blue and white, a form widely used by Domènech at the Thomas House, at the Spain inn and at the Comillas Seminary. These ceramics combine four themes: the “P” (initial of Pau), the two bars of the shield of Barcelona, the “G” (initial of Gil) and the patent cross.
On the second floor there are large windows with arches similar to those of the entrance doors, but with a stone decoration worked around them. These are lobed windows with a neo-Gothic design, the central part is tripartite and the two sides are bipartite with fine pillars for separation and with stained – glass windows of a moderate modernism. In front of the windows is a ceremonial balcony running from end to end.
On the third level is a large sculptural ensemble consisting of:
The shield is located in the middle of the main facade of the administration building: it is a evolution of the original coat of arms of the old Santa Cruz hospital, following the same iconographic guidelines, although the old one does not he was crowned, and the angels flanking him were kneeling. It is a work of Eusebi Arnau and is located inside a circle under a blind arch. The circle is decorated with blue and yellow mosaic, imitating the celestial sphere on which the shield stands out with profusely worked bars and crosses and with golden inlay. Above the shield, the royal crown and, on the sides, two winged characters representing Aesculapius, with a helmet and a cane with a coiled snake,considered the father of medicine and who carries the book of life. They are located on pillars that represent the axis of the world.
The protective saints, three of the men on the east side: Saint Joseph, Saint James and Saint John the Baptist, and three of the women on the west: Santa Teresa, Santa Anna and Santa Caterina de Siena. Domènech also stated here the separation of sexes that governed the hospital. These reliefs on a background of mosaic yellow reminiscent of the golden of altarpieces work of Pau Gargallo.
The angels, located under a canopy in each of the four front columns, protect the entire iconographic set of this level. They are the work of Gargallo, although they have a more realistic and humanized style than those on the ground floor and will repeat in other sculptures in the pavilions.
Above the floors of the building rises the clock tower finished off by a large cross. It reaches a height of 62 meters from the street and 32 above the building. It is a set of geometric tracery in stone supported by four hollow arched buttresses made of stone that rise on a quadrangular brick architecture with five gaps on each side, giving it a gallery look. On each of the four corners of the tower are sculptures of winged beings, by Gargallo. They are sitting under a canopyand in their hand they hold a book, a cross, an anchor, and the body of the raised robe, which has been interpreted as the symbolism of the cardinal virtues: Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance. The clock tower is an area richly decorated with sculptures of all kinds. The canopies that cover the described beings have four heads of young people and infants, each of them; the quadrangular gallery is surrounded by a tracery railing combined with shields with crosses and alternating bars, with small ceramic pinnacles on the top of its pillars and with gargoylesof different fantastic creatures; on the same base of the watch are four ladies’ busts of a distinctly modernist style, and a griffin between the watch faces. On the spheres, still eight more gargoyles to drain the body that forms the base of the tower’s final kick.
The whole set is preceded by a large, free-angel, with its wings open at the apex of the main facade, in a position similar to the one that culminates in the pediments of the operating building. Domènech i Montaner commissioned Eusebi Arnau the bill for the pinnacles and other decorative elements, while Gargallo commissioned him for the set of angel figures.
The administration building is located just behind the main entrance and gives the official image of the complex. Its façade is the most decorated in the whole and is the tallest, as well as being topped by a tower that gives it an imposing air.
Here Domènech took the opportunity to display the use of ceramics and ornamental mosaics and a large sculptural ensemble. He took advantage of the religious nature of the institution that had to manage the hospital, to unfold an iconography that covered the different sensitivities of the historical hospitals that formed the institution, and emphasized the beneficial nature of the new hospital. His mastery of Christian symbolism and heraldry allowed him to be the author of the designs to the smallest detail.
He was soon criticized for setting up a hospital which “had more the air of residence for royalty, than for the stay of ‘poor patients’, and on the occasion of its official inauguration, Alfonso XIII himself said:’ You are the locals are paradoxical, a palace is set for your sick and a block for your king. ”
The building consists of three bodies. The central, with most of the iconography on its façade, contains the most institutional spaces and on which the clock tower stands; both sides are slightly angled relative to the central one, giving the whole of a receptive concavity, as is its main access function. The space between the street fence and the access to the building provides the distance that allows to observe the majesty of the complex and has a discreet gardening surrounding the double staircase that leads from the street to the porch of the building. In the center of the stairs and presiding over the entrance is the monument to the patron Pau Gil, a set of
The structure of the two lateral bodies is three levels and has a less sumptuous decoration than the central body, with large windows glazed at the level of the ground floor, twin windows on the first floor and trilobules on the second. In both buildings, the end facing the street is wider than the rest of the block and inside it houses noble rooms; to the east is the Cambó library and to the west is the archive room, spaces that were damaged with a “more functional” use during the 20th century and are currently being restored.
Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul
The Hospital de Sant Pau is located in a complex of buildings located in Barcelona, designed by the architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner, one of the main representatives of Catalan modernism. It was built between 1902 and 1930 in two phases: the first by Domènech himself, between 1902 and 1913, it consists of thirteen modernist buildings; the second, made by his son Pere Domènech i Roura from 1920It consists of six other buildings of moderate modernism and other later buildings. With its main building and its numerous pavilions, the Hospital de San Pablo is, together with the Pere Mata de Reus Institute (also by the same architect), one of the largest ensembles of Catalan modernist architecture.
The Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, formerly the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, is one of the most prominent buildings of modernist architecture in Barcelona. Its author, the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, was responsible for building another of the main modernist buildings in Barcelona, the Palau de la Música. Both were declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1997, valuing their uniqueness and beauty.
The Modernist Site is the largest architectural ensemble of this style in Europe and is one of the main examples of Catalan modernism. Domènech devised a “city within the city” with pavilions surrounded by gardens and connected by a network of underground tunnels.
Thought for what would be their use, a hospital, the architect designed a constructive space and force in the Eixample, but with a rotation of 45 degrees with respect to the grid of islands designed to Ildefons Cerda. In this way, it gave the space a perfect North-South orientation, obtaining more adequate ventilation and more light hours.