Lluís Domènech i Montaner was a Catalan Spanish architect who was highly influential on 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. Fundació Antoni Tàpies is also a well-known building by the architect in his native Barcelona.
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 Antonio Gaudi. 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.
Domènech i Montaner's work evolved 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.
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