6 modernist buildings in Spain that resemble Gaudí’s work

One of the most renowned architects in Spain is undoubtedly Gaudí. People from all over the world enjoy the works of what was the main exponent of modernism. An attraction for his figure that was already seen in some of his disciples or in many architects. These, determined to follow a style very similar to the particular modernism of the Catalan artist, have created constructions that at first sight could pass for his own. Likewise, there are also constructions that reflect the imprint of the masters of the genius. Of all of them, six modernist examples stand out. They are captivating for their colours, their forms or their great similarity to buildings such as Casa Batlló.

Capricho de Cotrina, a fairytale dwelling in Badajoz

Capricho de Cotrina. | Shutterstock

When Francisco González’s daughter asked her father to live in a princess castle, he had the brilliant idea of being inspired by Gaudí’s Modernist style. So he decided to turn his country house into a building worthy of the streets of Barcelona. However, the impressive work is located some 1,000 kilometres from Barcelona, in a town from Badajoz called Los Santos de Maimona, in Extremadura.

Thus, since 1988, the curious who pass through the area come across the peculiar work of González. All the details of Catalan modernism stand out: the curves, the naturalistic decorations and the neo-gothic style. However, its most striking feature is the colourful mosaics, made with large pieces of pottery that contrast with the limestone.

After the artist’s death in 2016, his children, including the girl with the royal idea, decided to continue with the project’s construction. To this day it is still incomplete, as is the Sagrada Familia. But to the joy of the visitors, the passion and creativity put into the work is much greater than the building. So that the glass palms and stone waves continue to shine in this small village in Extremadura. Its nickname comes from its similarity to Gaudí’s Capricho in the Cantabrian town of Comillas.

Santuari de la Mare de Deu de Montserrat in Tarragona

Monasteri de la Mare de Deu de Montserrat. | Shutterstock

Every year the people of Montferri, in Tarragona, had the demanding but devotional task of making a pilgrimage to the monastery of Montserrat. In this way they showed their devotion to the Virgin after the grape harvest period. A tradition that led to the idea of the priest Daniel Vives to use some family land to build a temple. Thus, it would not be necessary to go so far to worship the Moreneta. This is how the Shrine of the Virgin of Monserrat came about.

It was thanks to his first cousin Josep Maria Jujol that the project was started. But the architect was not an ordinary person, as he was influenced by his close relationship with Antoni Gaudí. He collaborated with him on the well-known Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. As usual, the church took a long time to complete. The Civil War stopped the work being carried out by the local residents themselves and the incoming donations; the main source of money for the company.

Finally, in 1999 it could be inaugurated. Despite the ups and downs it suffered, the shrine is an impressive work that has been compared to the Sagrada Familia on several occasions. The most outstanding are the pillars and domes made to resemble the Montserrat massif; which remind us of the monastery that inspired this beautiful temple.

Palacio de Longoria, with a thousand purposes in Madrid

Palacio de Longoria, in Madrid. | Shutterstock

On the corner of Pelayo and Fernando VI in Madrid is one of the few Modernist-style buildings in the capital: the Palacio de Longoria. This elegant building was initiated in 1902 as a personal residence for the businessman Javier González Longoria; from which the name comes. The architect in charge of the construction was José Grases Riera from Barcelona, who was inspired by the Modernist techniques of his city, as were other artists of that time such as Dalí.

This building changed hands twice during the 20th century. The first was in 1912, when the Compañía Dental Española acquired it as the home of its president. Later, it became the property of the Sociedad General de Autores de España (SGAE) when it bought it in the 1950s. In 1996, the ninety year old palace was included in the list of Assets of Cultural Interest, so if at any time the SGAE wanted to reform it, they would have to ask for special permissions.

The most striking details of Longoria’s dwelling survived the multiple renovations. Among these, the gigantic glass dome that protects the entrance hall, the imperial staircase and the elaborate, almost plant-like motifs on the balconies that are evidence of its modern inspiration. All these features make the structure one of the most striking in the capital.

Can Casasayas and Pensión Menorquina, the Modernist two peas in a pod in Palma

Can Casasayas and Pensión Menorquina.| Shutterstock

The breeze from the Mediterranean Sea touches these twin buildings. Can Casasayas and Pensión Menorquina are located in front of Can Santacília street, on the island of La Palma, Balearic Islands. The most striking thing is that they look like the same building, only divided by one road.

This eye-catching design of curved lines and intertwined balconies, similar to sea shells, was the work of the Majorcan Francesc Roca and Guillem Reynés. Both took inspiration from Art Nouveau and Modernism, which predominated in European architecture of the time. The work was carried out at the request of a local confectioner called Josep Casasayas; thanks to whom one of the twins was named.

As well as the Palacio de Longoria, the Cas Casasayas was named an Asset of Cultural Interest. In front of them is the Market Square of Palma, full of shops, bars. A few metres from there is the Can Frasquet premises; which still bears the same name as when Josep worked there. In this way, almost like twins, these two buildings coexist; very much in the style of Gaudí, but which had nothing to do with him.

Palau de la Música Catalana, a temple to art in Barcelona

Palau de la Musica Catalana. | Shutterstock

With a striking terracotta colour and the incomprehensible expressions of the statues that make up one of its corners, the Palau de la Música Catalana emerges. It is located in the old quarter of the city of Barcelona. Built at the request of the Orfeó Català choral society between 1905 and 1908, it is a reference point for Catalan modernism. A style that defined the great works of Gaudí and the architect of this artistic site that receives more than half a million visitors each year.

The man in question is Lluís Domènech i Montaner. This famous Catalan professor, architect and politician was a key figure in the expansion of modernism. For a time he was Gaudí’s master. In fact, the Palau is relatively close to works by his pupil such as Casa Batlló.

The eccentricity of the interior and exterior details of the building were the result of the architect giving free rein to the craftsmen who helped him to build it. Something really particular are the columns that face the street. Beautifully decorated, they also serve as the entrance to the enclosure. The interior is much more decorated with mosaics and sculptures. Even pompous milestones that earned it several prizes at the time and in 1997 allowed it to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The parrot of the Mercado Central in Valencia

Mercado Central in Valencia. | Shutterstock

Valencia‘s Mercado Central is another of the works that draws on Gaudí’s modernist essence. Just look at its columns, domes and mosaics. A similarity that is not entirely strange, since the architects in charge of this project were direct disciples of the Catalan: Alejandro Soler March and Francisco Guardia Vial.

If one looks closely, the most interesting element of the whole complex is to be found at the top: a weather vane in the shape of a parrot and which gives its name to the Market. It is a “cotorra”, a person who likes to gossip and talk about everything with everyone. This figure contrasts with the eagle that poses on the Santos Juanes church, in front of the market.

The Valencian market was one of the largest in Europe; and construction began in 1910 to replace the old open-air market in 1839. The project culminated in 1928, with a space divided between a fish market, an orchard and various other products. Its imposing frame of sloping roofs protects not only the food but also the history of the city.


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