Auditorium, Historic building of the University of Barcelona, Spain

The Auditorium the space that best represents all the interests of the institution, “the idea of a university.” From here it is located not only in the center of the whole building, but also in the center of the transverse axis that unites, on the one hand, the building of Lletres, and on the other, the one of Sciences, and just Above the main lobby, downstairs.

Of a total of 530.57 m2, (32.55m x 16.30m) the Hall of Degrees, or Auditorium is a space for the most important and distinguished academic events of university life, is the space where they are awarded degrees, and is understood as the space that symbolizes all the activities carried out at the university and represents all the people who make it up. That is why it is so important.

Following the idea of Rogent, learned by Milizia, to create an expressive architecture, the architect wants to stand out above all this space, and does so by placing it in the center of the architectural composition, just above the lobby. entrance and giving it a completely different air compared to the rest of the building in terms of decoration, creating a space of great decorative exuberance that creates a sharp contrast with the austerity of the rest of the building. The elements of stylesneomudéjar and plateresco are present in all the points of the space; the ceiling, the polychrome plaster on the walls, and all the furniture and accessories such as benches, high chairs, canopy with green marble columns, medallions, etc.

The auditorium was just built in 1884, the latest intervention being the placement of the six history boxes, related to research, higher education and the university in the Hispanic kingdoms (understood as a unit), which decorate and at the same time project and reinforce the ideas of it. These paintings, painted between 1884 and 1885, are:

The council of Toledo of 633 presided over by San Isidoro of Seville, represented the visigoda Spain, by Dionís Baixeras (1883)
The civilization of the Caliphate of Córdoba in the era of Abderraman III by Dionís Baixeras, representing Arab Spain (1885)
Alfonso X and the School of Translators of Toledo de Dionís Baixeras, representing the medieval Castile (1884)
“The Councilors of Barcelona ask Alfons V to create the University in 1450” by Ricard Anckermann, representing the Middle Ages in the Crown of Aragon (1884)
Cardinal Cisneros receives a copy of the polyglot Bible printed at the University of Alcalá de Henares by Joan Bauzà, representing Renaissance Spain (1884)
The studies promoted by the Board of Trade in Barcelona of Antoni Reynés (1884), representing the 18th century.

The gallery of the Auditorium is a long corridor that communicates the Cloister of Sciences and Letters, that is to say, the two lateral bodies of the building. The gallery has access to three emblematic spaces of the institution: the Aula Magna, the Auditorium, in the center of the corridor, and the Library.

Historic building of the University of Barcelona
The historic building of the University of Barcelona, initially called the Literary University building, was built between 1863 and 1892/93 according to the project of the architect Elies Rogent i Amat and began teaching in 1871. Located on University Square, it housed for almost a century most of the city’s colleges and universities, divided between the Courtyard of Letters and the Courtyard of Science. On February 26, 1970 the building was declared a national historical and artistic monument. The Plaça Universitat building is currently the oldest campus of the University of Barcelona. It houses the faculties of Philology and Mathematicsfrom the University of Barcelona.

A neo-Romanesque building, the building is the paradigmatic example of nineteenth-century architecture, a search for a national cultural identity that is typical of the moment. It is important, then, to know the context and at the same time the architectural theory of Rogent, which, as some authors have said, is more important and more transcendental than the work of the architect himself. The most important aspects of Rogent’s theory, when approaching the study of this building, are the constant rejection of the classifying training he received at the Escola de Llotja de Barcelona, the influence of the work by Francesco Milizia and his relationship with the group of Catalan Nazarenes. Milizia’s work; Principles of Civile Architecture, gathers the most advanced thought of the eighteenth century, which denounces classicist practice in architecture, elevates gothic architecture as an alternative to outdated classicism, and elaborates a whole theory on the organizational adequacy of space for the use to which the buildings are intended. The last point Milizia addresses is what we can see Rogent addressing in the University building.

Another important aspect to keep in mind when talking about the style of this building is the discovery that Rogent made during his 1855 voyage to France and Germany, where he discovered the Rundbogenstil (arch style) in Munich. round point) a combination of early Italian Renaissance architecture and medieval architecture, which will significantly and significantly use it in the construction of the University. In Munich, the main buildings projected following the Rundbogenstil that Rogent sees and studies in detail are the State Library of Bavaria, University of Munich. and the Max Josephstift corner pavilion at Ludwingstrasse.

In short, the university building is complex to define, but eclecticism, the influence of Catalan medieval architecture and the influence of the first Italian Renaissance are the basic style features of this building.