The Sant Pau Hospital Art Nouveau site.
Photo: David Cardelús


The Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau came into being in 1401 with the merging of the six hospitals in the city of Barcelona at that time. Santa Creu, the Hospital of the Holy Cross, as it was called in those days, was right in the centre of the city, in what is now the Raval district, in one of the most important examples of Catalan Civil Gothic architecture.

Posted 28 January 2015

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By the late nineteenth century, due to the rapid growth of Barcelona's population and advances in medicine,the hospital became too small, and it was decided to construct a new building. Thanks to the bequest of the Catalan banker Pau Gil, the first stone of the new hospital, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, was laid on 15 January 1902, though the new facilities would not be opened until 1930.

Corridor at Administration Pavilion, Sant Pau Hospital.
Photo: David Cardelús

Stairs at the main lobby of Administration Pavilion, Sant Pau Hospital.
Photo: David Cardelús

After eighty years of healthcare activity in the Modernista complex, in 2009 the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau moved to new premises built in the north-east of the precinct, thus commencing a new era for the historic pavilions of Domènech i Montaner.
Sant Pau, the world's largest Art Nouveau Site, is a place waiting for you to discover. The visitor programme invites you to learn about Lluís Domènech i Montaner's most important work and the outcome of one of the most significant restoration projects in recent years.

In the Art Nouveau Site, the union of history and architecture carries us back to the early years of the twentieth century, when Barcelona was undergoing its greatest phase of urban growth. The visit takes us on a journey through the evolution of one of the oldest medical institutions in Europe, showing how the Art Nouveau complex was designed and built and explaining its current use as an internationally acclaimed centre for knowledge.

©Fundació Privada Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
The architect of Sant Pau, standing at the main hall of the Administration Pavilion

©Fundació Privada Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
The construction of the Hospital and Lluís Domènech i Montaner

©Fundació Privada Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
The old surgery room

This visit begins at the Administration Pavilion, in the exhibition space, where a video, an interactive touch table and other elements introduce you to the monumental and artistic heritage and its significance, the historical evolution of the institution and its contribution to medicine.

The network of underground tunnels that connects the different pavilions then takes you out to the gardens, from where you can enjoy the fascinating exteriors of buildings. The domes, roofs, façades, sculptures and stained glass windows are the key features to note here.

Walking on through this superb setting you come to the Sant Rafael Pavilion, whose lovingly restored interiors are once again as they were conceived at the start of the twentieth century. You can also visit the Main Hall of the Administration Pavilion, the Pau Gil Room and the Lluís Domènech i Montaner Room, one of the main spaces of the building. The recommended tour finishes in the Sant Jordi Pavilion, a completely refurbished space that hosts temporary exhibitions.

The Francesc Cambó Room at Sant Pau Hospital.
Photo: David Cardelús


The restoration of the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site began in the autumnof 2009, when all of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau's healthcare activities moved to the new building.

During eight decades of healthcare activity, the Art Nouveau pavilions had undergone many architectural modifications, affecting both the building structure and the ornamental elements. In light of this, in 2006 the Fundació Privada Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau commissioned the drafting of a master plan to assess the state of the pavilions and establish a schedule for their restoration. The conclusion of the study noted that the architectural complex was in a critical situation.

Detail of the Dome at the top of the stairs at the main lobby of Administration Pavilion, Sant Pau Hospital.
Photo: David Cardelús

Stairs at the main lobby of Administration Pavilion, Sant Pau Hospital.
Photo: David Cardelús

A Heritage Committee was set up prior to the start of work, composed of representatives of the various institutions involved in the project, to ensure the necessary institutional coordination, to define the intervention criteria, to advise on the quality of the interventions and the awarding of contracts and to report to the Comissió Territorial del Patrimoni Cultural, among other functions.

The first phase of the rehabilitation process entails work on a built area of 29,517 m2, 31,052 m2 of outdoor space, 12 pavilions and one kilometre of underground tunnels. The total project budget is 100 million euros, financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Generalitat deCatalunya, the Spanish Government, the IDAE energy diversification and saving institute, Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Provincial Council, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the Fundació Privada Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.

Guided visit
The best way to discover the hidden secrets of the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is to sign up for a guided tour. This visit follows the itinerary open to all visitors with a guide, who explains the history of Sant Pau, the details of its construction and its artistic and heritage value. The visit concludes with a visit to the Sant Jordi Pavilion where you will find a temporary exhibition.
Guided visits are available in Catalan, Spanish, English and French, and also in other languages upon request and with a reservation made in advance.

Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site
Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167
E-08025 Barcelona, Spain
Read the Profile on the photographer> David Cardelús

The Domènech i Montaner Room, Sant Pau Hospital.
Photo: David Cardelús

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