A good place to be in the early 1900s would have been the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona. I think it was way ahead of its time for patient care and comfort.
It was built between 1902 and 1930. There were 27 pavilions built, 16 of which are in the Art Nouveau style. The architect, Lluis Domenech i Montaner,(Gaudi was not the only architect in Barcelona) built isolated pavilions, each one assigned a specific medical speciality and linked to the others by means of a kilometre of underground galleries.
This is a model of the site.
It is no longer a hospital and has been renovated and transformed into a research centre in the fields of healthcare, sustainability and education. The Art Nouveau Site, one of Catalonia’s cultural and artistic treasures, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
It is magnificent. Come for a walk through this incredible place with me.
Our introduction to the site was through one of the underground tunnels…amazing.
The materials chosen for the Art Nouveau Site were the best, the most durable and the most suitable, without overlooking the artistic aspects, for the purpose of creating pleasant, natural surroundings for the patients.
The buildings are of brick. The gable roofs are covered with semi-cylindrical Spanish monochrome clay tiles in a variety of colours. They also feature ventilation shafts surmounted either by glazed ceramic or decorated stone and ornamental pinnacles, also in glazed ceramic.
The hospital-garden concept was a new one when the site was built. Domenech’s aim was to create a cheerful, optimistic atmosphere that would alleviate the pain and suffering of the patients.
The stone sculptures, capitals, floral details, corbels and guardian angels were designed by the architect himself. Beautiful ceramics adorn every building.
Not all buildings are open to the public, but it is possible to enter a few. The Sant Rafael Pavilion was decorated with ceramics to guarantee hygiene, since they were easy to clean. The gentle colours also serve a therapeutic purpose.
There is a wonderful photo of the ward when it was in full swing.
The Administration Pavilion is the largest of the buildings and the richest in ornamentation and decoration. Built between 1905 and 1910, it was conceived as the main entrance and to house the administrative and hospital admission offices.
I would love these rose coloured tiles on my ceiling.
The magnificent staircase that leads up from the foyer has a ceiling with 9 vaults resting on stone and marble columns. The vaults are all clad with rectangular pink-lilac tiles arranged like sprigs. The small cupola over the stairs is a stained glass skylight.
The upstairs rooms are magnificent.
It must have been a delight to come to these offices to work each day.
How far ahead of its time was this hospital?? It would almost be worthwhile being sick to be admitted to this incredible place. The photos do not do the site justice. It is impossible to convey the size and grandeur of the place.
If you come to Barcelona, do NOT miss this. As a bonus, it was remarkably free of crowds, unlike most of the wonderful sites in Barcelona.