In the year 1998 I was living in an apartment right next to the Hospital de Sant Pau. From my balcony, I could make out the beautiful building of the main entrance. Back then I would walk through the interior area, and once by coincidence, my friend fainted right in front of the hospital and they took her inside to check on her. So these were my only two experiences of visiting the interior back then and I remember that most of the pavilions were either covered or in a really bad state. The whole complex was used as a hospital.
If you have been reading my blog a bit, you might recognize the architectural style – it is the particular modernist style that bears the handwriting of brilliant architect Domenech e Montaner, the same architect who built Palau de la Musica Catalana and the Casa Lleo Morera, to name just a few. So during 4 years, the Hospital de Sant Pau has been renovated and reopened in February 2014 but for public visits. The actual hospital was built just behind the old complex which shines in new armor. Today I went to visit it and I must say I was impressed. Definitely worth it a visit!
As it goes with any architectural masterpiece, without a person or group of people providing the money, they would not exist. In this case the person who made the construction of the hospital possible was the Catalan banker Pau Gil. 10 out of the 27 pavilons were built with the money he had donated and the rest was donated by patients of the hospital and their families.
Built between 1902 and 1930, the architect’s intention was to build a hospital in which the patients would feel at ease, happy and optimistic … I wish today’s architects would take an example!!! Only the best quality of building material was used, garden areas designed within the complex with medicinal plants and trees. Again and again, I get impressed by how those Catalan architects were connected to nature and by the ingenious solutions they would come up with. A truly healing environment – until today. During your visit you will want to sit down on some of the benches, to just look at the shiny ceramic tiles used, the sculptures made by artisans like Pau Gargallo or Eusebi Arnau (he also made most of the sculptures at the Palau de la Musica Catalana). That’s the result when brilliant minds come together to work on one project!