Often overlooked by visitors to Barcelona, despite its close location to Sagrada Familia, the Hospital de Sant Pau is one of the finest Modernist buildings in the city and the most important civic building ever built in the Modernist style.A hospital had existed on the site since 1401 but by the 20th century it was clearly far too small and antiquated to cope with the city´s rapidly expanding population.The intervention of a successful banker, Pau Gil, ensured the hospital´s rescue when he decided to sponsored its renovation, and happily for fans of the new Modernist style the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner was commissioned for the job.Domènech i Montaner is considered second only to Gaudí in his imagination and creativity, his most famous building being the Palau de la Música in the Born district.
The new hospital was begun in 1901 and was functional by 1930; it is still in use today and whilst being unwell is hardly recommendable it must surely the most beautiful place in which to do so.Fortunately visitors are now allowed to come and admire the architecture without needing a medical complaint as an excuse.The structure consists of 27 pavilions covered by cupolas and adorned with stained glass windows and pinnacles, with further decoration by mosaics, sculptures and murals wherever you should look.The most important part of the building is the administration pavilion; the stunning reception area was decorated by another famous Spanish artist, the sculptor Paul Gargallo.There are extensive gardens in the grounds and it is a lovely place to stroll about after a visit to Sagrada Familia; the hospital is located at the opposite end of Avenida Gaudí just a short walk away from its famous neighbour.
The hospital forms part of the Ruta del Modernismo and has an information point on the Ruta with particular focus on Domènech i Montaner, open from Mon-Sun 10am-2pm.Guided tours are also available at the following times:
Mon-Sun 10.15am (English), 11.15am (Catalan), 12.15pm (English), 1.15pm (Spanish), arranged in advance by telephone (all above languages spoken) on 00 34 902 076 621.
Hospital de San Pau, Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret 167
Metro: Hospital de San Pau (L5)