The Palace of the Parliament of Catalonia is a building located in the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, the seat of the Parliament of Catalonia since 1932.
Work by Joris Prosper Van Verboom, it was built in the 18th century as an arsenal for the military citadel of Barcelona. In 1889 it was reformed as a royal palace by the City Council of Barcelona and in 1932 it ceded it to become the parliamentary seat of Catalonia.
After the Ciutadella was demolished in the mid-19th century, the building was used for various purposes, including a barracks, a royal palace and an art museum. The palace was the meeting place of the Parliament of Catalonia from 1932 to 1939, when it was dissolved during the Spanish Civil War. With the re-establishment of Parliament in 1980, the palace was renovated and it once again became the seat of Parliament.
In 2012, on the occasion of the National Day of Catalonia, and as President Macià had done eighty years ago, the sign of the Generalitat of Catalonia was placed on the main façade on the Philip V’s weapons were installed during the reform of 1889 to make it a royal palace.
The building of the Parliament Palace is the old Ciutadella arsenal. Here you will find information on the current transformation and distribution of the building and information on visits to the Palace.
The palace was built as the arsenal of the Ciutadella, a star fort which was built by Philip V of Spain after the War of the Spanish Succession, during which Catalonia had supported his opponent Archduke Charles. It was designed by the Flemish military engineer Jorge Próspero de Verboom, and was constructed between 1717 and 1727. The building underwent some minor restoration work later on in the 18th century.
The fortifications of the Ciutadella were demolished following the 1868 revolution, but the arsenal, chapel and governor’s palace were retained. The rest of the site was landscaped and opened to the public as the Parc de la Ciutadella. At this point, the arsenal was converted into a temporary barracks.
In 1889, Barcelona’s city council agreed to convert the former arsenal into a Royal Palace. The architect Pere Falqués was responsible for the alterations the building, which included opening three balconies at the first floor and the decoration of the entire façade. The central part of the façade was also increased in height, and was decorated with a stone escutcheon relocated from the Porta del Socors, one of the gates of the former Ciutadella.
In 1900, the building was converted into the Museu Municipal d’Art. The building was too small to house the art museum, so two side wings were built with the same materials as the original building in 1915. The façades of the extensions are decorated with busts of notable Catalan artists and people associated with Catalan art. The area in front of the palace, originally the Ciutadella’s parade ground, was converted into a garden in 1927. It includes a pond with a copy of the sculpture Desolation by Josep Llimona i Bruguera.
The Barcelona city council ceded the palace to become the seat of the Parliament of Catalonia on 14 October 1932. The building was renovated by the decorator Santiago Marco, and the inaugural session was held on 6 December 1932. After Barcelona fell to the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War, the building was converted into a barracks on 26 January 1939. It was converted back into an art museum in 1945, now known as the Museu d’Art Modern.
After democracy returned to Spain following the death of dictator Francisco Franco, the Parliament of Catalonia was restored in 1980, and restoration works were undertaken to the palace. The building was eventually donated by the city council to the Generalitat de Catalunya. The Museu d’Art Modern continued to occupy part of the palace until September 2004, when its collections were moved to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Since then, the palace has been used exclusively for parliamentary purposes.
The building is listed as a Bien Cultural de Interés Local (BCIL) on the Inventario del Patrimonio Cultural Catalán with the code 08019/125.
The palace is built in the form of a cross, with a dome at the centre and four courtyards. The building has two floors and an attic, having an area of 5,532 m2 (59,550 sq ft). It is built out of Montjuïc stone and red tile. The present parliament chamber was originally designed by Falqués as the Salón del Tron, the palace’s Throne Room.
The Palace of Parliament
The building of the Parliament Palace is the old Ciutadella arsenal built by order of Philip V to secure the dominion of Barcelona and, with it, to subject all Catalonia, once collapsed on September 11, 1714 the long one resistance opposed to the siege of the Franco-Spanish troops.
The works, which began on March 1, 1716 and lasted until 1748, were led by the Flemish military engineer Próspero de Verboom (1665-1744), author of the Antwerp fortifications and one of the most distinguished officers in the army. of Louis XIV and Philip V. Later, Verboom was the first governor of the Citadel, a post which he held until his death.
This pentagonal fortress never served to defend the city of Barcelona against an army. Instead, it proved very useful in suppressing the Catalan people. Between 1719 and 1866 thousands of political prisoners met the dungeons of the tower of Sant Joan, the Catalan Bastille, which was next to the current lake in the park, where torture was practiced until death. hundreds of these prisoners were executed on the esplanade or in the Ciutadella glaciers.
The long popular outcry against the fortress obtained in a revolutionary age a law that passed it to the city and ordered its overthrow (1869). Currently only the arsenal, the governor’s palace (now the Institut Verdaguer) and the chapel (now a military parish) remain.
The arsenal building essentially retains the structure and appearance that Verboom’s Prosperous gave it. It is a building of 5,532 square meters, with two floors and attic. The interior structure is determined by two robust naves arranged in cross, on the central pavilion from which the cupola emerges. Between the arms of the cross are four courtyards. Externally, it has a central body and ends slightly advanced by a series of arcades that form a porch on the ground floor. The materials of the whole building are Montjuïc stone and red tile.
In 1889 the Barcelona City Council agreed to convert the old Ciutadella arsenal into a royal palace. The adaptation work began on September 28 under the direction of Pere Falqués (1850-1916), Barcelona’s municipal architect, who opened three balconies around the first floor, decorated the entire facade with sgraffito, and raised his body. placed the stone shield of the Socorro de la Ciutadella gate in the middle of the facade. Pere Falqués is the author of the famous street lights on Passeig de Gràcia, which, along with other works of his, have earned him a place among the architects of contemporary Catalan modernism, such as Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
Having declined the regent queen to accept the transfer of the building, in 1900 the Municipal Governing Commission proposed that it be transferred to the Municipal Museum of Art. The building soon had to be expanded: two side wings were also built with Montjuïc stone and red tile. The façades are decorated with 24 busts by Catalan artists and people related to the history of Catalan art. This extension was inaugurated in 1915. When the general park was restored, in 1927, the current garden was built, centered on a pond containing a replica of the sculpture Desconsol, by Josep Llimona.
On October 14, 1932 Barcelona City Council ceded the palace to be the seat of Parliament.
The decorator Santiago Marco directed the adaptation and decoration works, coordinated by the Minister of Government, Josep Tarradellas. On December 6, 1932, the solemn opening session was held, with the assistance of the President of the Generalitat, Francesc Macià.
On January 26, 1939, following the entry of General Franco’s troops into Barcelona, the Parliament Palace became a barracks. In 1945 the Museum of Modern Art was installed, and later the Numismatic Office and the Library of Art Museums. As a symbol of sanction imposed on a whole people, the Session Hall was closed and for thirty-seven years no one was prevented from entering it.
Under the coordination of the Governing Council, Josep M. Bricall, new restoration and refurbishment works were carried out at the Palau to host, in April 1980, the I Parliamentary Parliament, which was re-established.
At the end of the 5th Legislature, the President of the Generalitat, Jordi Pujol, and the Parliament, Joan Reventós, signed with the Mayor of Barcelona, Joan Clos, the donation of the Park building to the Generalitat, as long as this was his parliamentary seat.
This cession allowed the great transformation promoted under the presidency of Joan Rigol during the VI legislature, which was promoted and continued since 2003 by President Ernest Benach. The Parliament has expanded the available space with the gradual recovery of the spaces occupied by the Museum of Modern Art until September 2004, from which date the whole Palace is now allocated for parliamentary purposes.
On July 20, 2006, the President of the Generalitat, Pasqual Maragall, the Parliament, Ernest Benach, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Joan Clos, signed a framework agreement to extend the dependencies of the Parliament with a building of new construction, within the framework of the future modification of the General Metropolitan Plan of the Parc de la Ciutadella as a whole, in accordance with the specifications and criteria defined in the Master Plan of Parc de la Ciutadella. At the beginning of the 9th legislature, President Núria de Gispert pushed for a austerity plan for Parliament, which meant that it had to halt the expansion project.
During Pere Falqués’ restoration work, it was decided to place on the façade of the two new lateral naves a set of busts dedicated to characters related to art, whether artists or historians, almost all of them Catalan. Made of marble, they were placed in circular niches along the facades of the building (front, back and sides), between 1909 and 1911.
They are a total of 28 that, from the left end of the main facade and going left On the right are: Nicolau Travé (Damià Pradell), Blai Amatller (Joan Carreras), Lluís Dalmau (Anselm Nogués), Pere Pau Muntanya (Manuel Fuxá), Pere Pasqual Moles (Josep Soler Forcada), Manuel Tramulles (Josep Reynés), Los Vergós (Dionisio Renart), Josep Lluís Pellicer (Pablo Gargallo), Salvador Mayol (Eduard B. Alentorn), Mariano Fortuny (Antonio Parera), Josep Bernat Flaugier (Miquel and Llucià Oslé), Vicente Rodés (Joan Centelles), Elies Rogent (Manuel Fuxá),Antoni Viladomat (Josep Reynés), Jeroni Sunyol (Antonio Parera), Jaume Ferrer Bassa (Pere Carbonell), Joaquim Vayreda (Josep Canalias), Pau Rigalt (Enric Clarasó), Lluís Borrassà (Pere Carbonell), Ramon Amadeu (Ismael Smith), Damià Campeny (Agapit Vallmitjana), Ferdinando Galli Bibbiena (Rafael Atché), The master Alfonso (Josep Montserrat), Los Planella (Miquel and Llucià Oslé), Lluís Rigalt (Venancio Vallmitjana), Francesc Soler Rovirosa (Josep Carcassó), Benet Mercadé (Venancio Vallmitjana) and Joan Soler Faneca (Antonio Alsina).
In addition to the exterior decoration, the building has several artworks divided between its many rooms and halls: sculptures San Jorge (Josep Salvado Jassans, 2003), Woman sitting (Lluís Cera, copy of an original by Joan Rebull, 1994), Young conch (Enric Casanovas, 1945), Presentation of the Statute of Autonomy of 1979 (Josep Ricart, 1982), the source of dreams (Manuel Torres Jimenez, 2003) And Lluís Companys (Manuel Álvarez, 2001); and the paintings on November 7, 1971 (Antoni Tàpies, 1971) and Femme (Joan Miró, 1978).
On the other hand, in 1981 a plaque in Homage to the resistance (anti-Franco), work of Josep Maria Subirachs, was installed on a wall of one of the interior courtyards, and in 1984, the sculpture Piedad, by Ferran Ventura.
The current provision
The front door of the Parliament Palace, in which Pere Falqués mixes different architectural styles, combines wood, wrought iron and bronze, gives way to a chancel where the Mossos d’Esquadra bodyguard is located. From the cancellation hall, through another door is the entrance lobby, partly columned, where there is an identification service.
From the lobby you can access the noble floor of the Palau through the stairs of honor, room 10 or multipurpose in the background, the offices of the Directorate of Parliamentary Studies in the background to the right, the units of the Department Infrastructure, Equipment and Security in the background on the left, or past the revolving front door, turn left and enter one of the courtyards of the old arsenal, now converted into the Auditorium, where acts are held conferences, and the largest number of receptions; and interviews and discussions for the Parliament Channel are recorded. This room, which was opened in 2003, is covered with a carved glass dome, designed by André Ricard, which incorporates in the center the shield of the Generalitat. The courtyard walls, with the original balconies and large windows of Pere Falqués, recover the sober Mediterranean shine, especially appreciated if they are contemplated from the noble floor. The marble floor also draws the coat of arms of the Generalitat.
Returning to the lobby, the modern and functional style of the Auditorium contrasts with the sumptuousness of the staircase, covered by a glass skylight and modernist wrought iron. The staircase, with white marble and balustrade all around, leads to the so-called noble floor of the Palace. Around it are several doorways, through which you can access the official offices of the President of the Generalitat and of the Government Ministers, the Office of the General Secretariat of Parliament and various rooms of commissions.
At the top of the stairs is the noble lobby, also called the Chandelier Hall, because the main lighting and decoration elements in this space are eight oversized bronze chandeliers. The vaulted ceiling of this room deserves attention, not only for the ornamental motifs that frame the allegorical female figures decorating it, but also for the trompe-l’oeil, which gives the illusion that painting is a relief.
Next to the façade of the Palace, the Canelobres Hall ends in the so-called Group Room, which is the largest commission room in Parliament and which was modified and modified during the sixth legislature to hold meetings of the Permanent Diputación, of the commissions and of the parliamentary groups, and institutional acts of small format. The wooden ceiling in this room, decorated in red and maroon, is not the original, which was almost fifteen feet high. Due to the Palau’s space needs, this room was temporarily split into two floors and the upper part, at the same level as the attic of the building, was set up to make three more rooms, intended for meetings. committees, parliamentary presentations and working groups. The original ceiling, made of wood and iron,
On the other side of the Hall of the Chandeliers is the central transept of the building of the Palace of Parliament, octagonal in shape and crowned by a dome covered inside by a wooden and glass skylight. The cruiser joins the four arms of the interior buildings of the building: two of them are perpendicular to the facade, one of which is constituted by the Hall of the Canelobres and the Room of Groups, and the other by the space that occupies the chamber; the other two arms, parallel to the façade, make up the two lost passage rooms.
The current car, originally designed by Falqués as a Throne Room, is decorated with a wooden tiled ceiling on marble columns with bronze capitals. Enabled in 1932 as a Parliament Session Room, it was initially furnished with a U-shaped chair, but the following year the decorator Santiago Marco modified its layout and transformed it into a hemicycle with eighty-five velvet upholstered chairs. orange and nine red velvet upholstered chairs for the Government bench. Behind the seats of the members of Parliament were two boxes on each side of the chamber with marble railings, intended for the officially invited personalities. At the bottom of the Hall, continuing to gradually rise, rows of benches were set up for the press and the public.
In 1980 benches were placed in the space between the boxes to accommodate the fifty more members of the restored Parliament, and in 1986 the reform was completed by turning these benches into armchairs, which continue disposition in a bicycle, for which it was necessary to remove the boxes of authorities and personalities and to reduce the space of the public. Modifications were also made to incorporate new technologies into the Hall: in the fall of 1996, an electronic voting system was installed, and in 2002, four cameras to produce an institutional audiovisual signal from plenary sessions.
At the bottom of the car, behind the space intended for the public, a glass door leads to an annex, in which the Audiovisual Area technically realizes, records and controls all Plenary sessions and commissions, and also the institutional events that take place in spaces where there are television cameras. Below is a press room for television stations, from which they can connect to the Parliament’s institutional television signal and record it, in order to carry out their informative work.
On both sides of the bike there are two walkways, which are reached from the swinging doors of the Session Hall. At the bottom of the right aisle is the staircase that gives access to the public area of the car. In the same corridor, in front of the front door of the right wing of the car, there are the Communications Department units.
On the other side, down the left corridor you can access the offices and offices of the Parliamentary Citizens Group.
Leaving the two arms perpendicular to the facade and returning to the octagonal crossing, you can see the two arms parallel to the façade, completing the cruise. They are, as already mentioned, those that make up the lost passage rooms, called the Pink Room on the left and the Gray Room on the right.
The Pink Hall, to the left of the transverse nave, has pink marble pilasters and a series of green marble columns embedded in iron structures decorated with bronze, and leads to the auditorium, with a remarkable ceiling and decoration., which is the venue for the President’s institutional events and official hearings.
To the right are the Office of the Presidency and the Department of Institutional Relations, and between these offices and the Office of the President, a new corridor leads to one of the two outer wings, built by Falqués in 1915 with Montjuïc stone. and red tile. This wing, which has been reclaimed as a space for Parliament during the sixth and seventh legislatures, is parallel to the central nave and houses the offices of members of the Citizens Parliamentary Group, on the upper floor, on the ground floor. of the noble floor, and those of the deputies of the Socialist and United Parliamentary Group to Advance, those of the Parliamentary Group of Catalonia in Comú Podem and those of the Parliamentary Subgroup of the Popular Unity Candidate – Constituent Call on the lower floor, located on foot of street.
To the left of the courtroom is the corridor that leads to the offices of the Vice Presidencies, and reaches the left corner of the main facade, where there is the meeting room of the Parliamentary Bureau and the Board of Speakers.
A corridor with ceramic decorations connects this band with the lobby of honor of the noble plant and gives access to the four offices of the secretariats of the Table of Parliament and to one of the two inner stairs that unite the three plants of the Palace.
Both interior stairs are twin in terms of layout, structure and decoration, and are linked internally by a walkway, on the attic floor, which gives access to the three rooms just above the Group Room. Going up the stairs on the left side, you come directly to the left wing of the attic, formed by a series of thick wooden and iron overlays that support the building’s roof, which have been used as an element. decorative. On the left wing are the Legal Services Offices, the Legal Office, the Budget Office, the Aran Office, the Office of Foreign Affairs and Relations with the European Union. the Office of Regulatory Quality,
The right arm of the nave on the main floor, or Gray Room, decorated with marble pilasters of this color, along its entire left side communicates with the press conference room, which is accessed from in the same hallway. At the bottom of the corridor, opposite the courtroom, is Hall 1, which, as at the other end of the Palace, communicates with a newly-constructed corridor that leads to the other. outside wing, added by Falqués, where are the offices and offices of the Parliamentary Group of Together for Catalonia. Just below these offices, on the ground floor, at the foot of the street, are the offices and offices of the Republican Parliamentary Group and the Parliamentary Subgroup of the Popular Party of Catalonia.
At the beginning of this aisle, next to Room 1, is another room and stairs leading to the Press Room for the print media, news agencies and radios, where media representatives through the CCTV, they can follow the institutional signal of the plenary sessions, the commissions and the institutional events to do their job.
The halls and some passageways on the main floor have ceilings or ceilings, which combine with great originality wood, wrought iron, bronze and colored marbles, and constitute small visual symphonies of great beauty. Some other hallways, however, are brickwork and are decorated with ceramic pieces.
The Gray Room communicates, by means of arches, with the stairs of honor. From the lobby of the noble floor, to the right of the Group Room, you can see an interior staircase, through which you can access directly to the right wing of the attic of the building, recovered with the same decorative criteria of the left wing and enabled to house the offices of the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications and of the Parliamentary Management Department, which can also be reached by lift from the ground floor. A walkway connects the right and left side of the attic floor.
With the exception of the Diada or other special occasions, citizens do not enter the Palace of Parliament through the main door, but instead through a one that is more to the right. At this access, there is another identification and reception service.
From the right wing of the Palace, after passing the identification service, through the hallway to the left, you can access the entrance hall of the building. In this sector there is the service of guided tours and Butler.
In the corridor on the right wing of the Palace, on the left, there is the Reprography Service and the distribution of publications and, on the right, the offices of the Department of Linguistic Counseling and, on the second floor, the higher, those of the Department of Editions. At the end of the corridor, on the right-hand side, is the Library of Parliament, with a reading room that opens onto a fenced-in patio.
Due to space needs in the Palace, this room was temporarily split into two floors and the upper part was enabled.
On the left wing of the Palace is the Medical Dispensary and the Departments of the Audit Department of the Accounts and Treasury, and of the Educational Services, the Parliament Store and the Bar and Restaurant, opened in 2008, which donates to another exterior patio.