10 Barcelona architecture delights to enjoy during 48H Open House

Oct 18, 2011 | Barcelona Guide

As we have reported on our events pages, 48H Open House Barcelona gives visitors and locals a unique opportunity to explore some special Barcelona architecture highlights. For the weekend of 22 and 23 October, usually inaccessible architectural jewels are opened to the public. With over 160 buildings on display, it will be difficult to choose which ones to explore amongst the city’s iconic and lesser-known urban landmarks. Here’s our 10 Barcelona architecture must-see delights for you to enjoy while staying in our Barcelona apartments next weekend.

1. Arc de Triomf

When: Sunday 23 October, 11 am – 7 pm
Where: Intersection of Paseig Lluis Companys, Paseig Sant Joan and Ronda Sant Pere

Don’t miss this special chance to explore inside the Arc de Triomf, which was originally built for the World Expo in 1888. That year marked a major turning point for Barcelona, much like the role the Olympics would play in the city’s urban design some 100 years later. Both events consolidated Barcelona’s identity as a cosmopolitan world city proudly hosting travellers from around the globe, and both events led to the design and construction of some of the best in Barcelona architecture. Celebrate the city’s imagination and urban beauty by climbing inside Arc de Trionf!

2. Palau Savassona (Ateneu Barcelones)

When: Sunday 23 October, 11 am – 5 pm
Where: Carrer de Canuda 6

This cultural centre in Ciutat Vella has some great wall decorations, especially around the library, and a sensational patio deck. Entry is via the original gardens that date back to 1796. Many of these areas are not usually accessible to the public.

3. Catalunya Gas Tower

When: Saturday 22 October, 1 pm – 7 pm
Where: Parc de la Barceloneta

For six hours only, you have access to the 45 meter modernist, canonical tower designed by Josep Domenech Estapa in 1906. Look out from the double loft-like windows across the Mediterranean Sea or look down to enjoy the bustling seaside barrio of Barceloneta below.

Barcelona architecture

Casa de Les Altures

4. Casa de Les Altures

When: Saturday 22 October, 11 am – 2 pm
Where: Ronda Guinardo 49

The neo-Arabic “House of Heights’ was originally constructed as part of the city’s Water Board and its central area held engines that pumped water to the peak of Turo de la Rovira. After renovations in 1991 by Victor Argenti, this airy,cool delight of Barcelona architecture now opens internally onto a courtyard surrounded by white porches which maintain its Arabic influence.

5. Hotel Mandarin Oriental

When: Sunday 23 October, 11 am – 3 pm (in groups of 8 per visit)
Where: Paseig de Gracia, 38-40

The preferred hotel of Scarlett Johansson, Robert de Niro and (we’re guessing this next bit) the Williams sisters, the Hotel Mandarin Oriental hosts tours that include access to the aerial walkway that links the hotel’s internal patio with the public space of Paseig de Gracia, before leading you into the once ancient courtyard that is now made up of refurbished offices, halls and restaurants. Come see how the other half live. And by ‘other half’ we mean the top 1% of the top 10% wealthiest travellers visiting the city.

6. Teatre Lliure

When: Sunday 23 October, 11 am – 3 pm
Where: Carrer de Montseny 47

In the heart of the city’s funky artistic barrio of Gracia, the Lliure theatre has undergone several rehabilitations since it’s initial construction at the end of the 19th century. This theatrical Barcelona architecture is almost illusory in its transformative use of space that today can be constantly reconfigured depending on the performance need at any given time.

7. Loft Al Carrer Montmany

When: Saturday 22 October 10 am – 2pm & 4 pm – 6 pm and Sunday 23 October, 10 am – 2 pm
Where: Carrer de Montmany 25

Relive that curious delight you get from peering into people’s living rooms. Here, you get to visit a private loft space that has been generously opened to an inquisitive public for the weekend of 48H Open House. The renovated loft uses lighting, building materials and the division of space to create an ideal home for the modern European family: combining the functional with the comfortable.

8. Poble Nou Cemetry

When: Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 October, tours at 11 am and 12.30 pm
Where: Avenida Icaria

Paradoxically, you can uncover the city life of Barcelona’s Poble Nou by walking through its graves and tombstones. After the original cemetery – founded by Bishop Climent in 1775 – was swept away, the burial grounds were redesigned by Antonio Ginesi in 1819, a time that marks the start of the modernist Barcelona architecture era.

9. Media TIC building

When: Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October, 11 am – 3 pm
Where: Carrer de Roc Boronat 117 (Entry on Carrer de Sancho D’Avila)

This building mixes design, construction and function to give physical form to the city’s pride in using technology as a tool for creating contemporary Barcelona architecture. The metal structure (designed using CAD digital processing) was built to house the city’s media and technology incubator, the Media TIC.

48h open house Barcelona

Fundacio Vila Casas – Can Framis

10. Fundacio Vila Casas – Can Framis

When: Saturday, 22 October, 2 visits at 11am and 12.15 pm
Where: Carrer Roc Boronat 116 – 126

The two special tours for this most unique of exhibition spaces starts at the building’s highest point and leads inquisitive participants deep into its center. Along the way, you will appreciate the Foundation’s three buildings and their collage-like mix of antiquity and contemporary that culminate in a courtyard-like exhibition space at its core.

Are you staying in Barcelona accommodation during the 48H Open House weekend? Post us a photo showing the hidden Barcelona architecture you uncover on our Facebook wall, and let us know if you want more information on special city events like this in our comments below.