The Ultimate Guide To Brutalist Architecture in Barcelona

Barcelona is well-known for its Gaudi architecture: La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and other modernist gems. But the city also has a completely different architectural side. Welcome to the best introduction to the rich heritage of brutalist architecture in Barcelona.

What is Brutalist Architecture?

In general terms, Brutalism can be identified as architecture with massive bulky structures, visible concrete exteriors, few and relatively small windows. Such buildings are visually very powerful and produce an immediate love or hate reaction. For instance, my sister, who is an architect, hates it. But I LOVE it 🙂

Brutalism is modern style of architecture featuring mostly raw concrete. Its name originated from the french expression “beton brut”, usually attributed to the well-known Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier.

Brutalism is similar and related to constructivism and socialist modernism. These styles are very common in the post-Communist countries such as Russia, Romania, and also in some Central American, Asian, and African countries.

In the former Socialist area of influence, socialist realism usually accompanies the buildings in the form of mosaics, metal relieves, or statues of heroic workers or figures. In Spain, both architecture and such art are very hard to find and generally exclusively found in big cities.

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Best Brutalist Architecture in Barcelona

In Barcelona, brutalist architecture is very rare. Additionally, most citizens and architects oppose it, since it does not fit the general style of the city. Nonetheless, get ready to discover the best brutalist buildings in Barcelona:

Walden 7

Built by Ricardo Bofill in 1975. Located in Sant Just Desvern. This massive housing project spans over 30.000 sqm and is one of the most interesting sights for archi-nerds like me. Google Maps location.

Social Security Institute

This building is located near Verdaguer subway, and hosts nowadays the Social Security Headquarters in Barcelona. Google Maps location.

Diagonal 690

This building designed by Pedro López, Xavier Subias, Guillermo Giráldez is part of the Campus Nord of the University of Barcelona. Google Maps Location.

Valencia 384

Designed by Mario Catala Nebot, this bulding contrasts harshly with the surrounding projects in the central Eixample neighbourhood. Google Maps Location.

Planeta Building

The Planeta Building was the head office of the Grupo Planeta until 2017. It’s located on Av. Diagonal, 662-664, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. Subway Maria Cristina, L3 (green). Google Maps Location.

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German School

The Deutsche Schule Barcelona (German School) is one of the leading schools in Barcelona offering multilingual education in German, English, Spanish, and Catalan. Google Maps location.

Former Faculty of History & Geography, University of Barcelona

The faculty has since moved to a more central location in the Raval Neighbourhood.

Bellvitge Hospital

The original silhouette of the University of Barcelona Bellvitge Hospital in L’Hospitalet. Google Maps Location.

Tibidabo Park Elevators

These elevators are located at the amusement park Tibidabo, which overlooks the city of Barcelona, located at the top of the eponymous mountain. Google Maps location.

Torre Colon

This building was the first building over 100m built in Barcelona. It’s visibly located at the edge of the city, just in front of Drassanes subway in Raval / Ramblas areas, and close to the Port of Barcelona and the sea. Google Maps Location.

This office building reaches 110m over 28 floors, and presents three main building structures: a) the base, the tower body, the hexagonal top.

Do You Like Brutalist Architecture?

We, the fans of brutalism and socialist modernism are a small group of concrete romantics.

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While clearly not the main architectural style of the city, brutalist architecture in Barcelona enriches its architectural diversity.

In case you prefer the traditional modernist style, skip the above and head to the The 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites By Gaudi You Can’t Miss

Do you have a friend who is also obsessed with concrete buildings? Share this article.

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