A large number of spectacular buildings have been built in Spain over the last decades and today Spain is one of the countries in the world with most exciting modern architecture.
The movement of modern architecture can be said to have started in the year 1929 with the construction of Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion. And through the 1990s and 2000s and during the last decade, still more interesting modern architecture has been built.
In Bilbao the construction of modern architecture meant a profound change, widely known as the the Bilbao effect. The the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry, has had a huge influnce on the city and how it is conceived nationally and internationally. Later a number of other projects: buildings, bridges, metro and cultural centers designed by architects of Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava, Carlos Ferrater and Philippe Starck.
In Barcelona, urban planning has been made through the Barcelona model - a model that thinks architecture and urban development as a unit that benefits both citizens, businesses, and visitors.
No less than 8 Pritzker-winning architects have erected modern architecture in Barcelona, including them Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is by many considered the most spectacular building in Europe made during the past 50 years. The building has had an enormous impact on Bilbao as a city: Bilbao has gone from a small, almost unknown provincial town, to a place that people are dreaming about visiting.
Before the construction of the Guggenheim Museum, let than 100.000 people visited the city yearly. Over the next decades, this number multiplied by more than 10.
This fantastic building is far from an ordinary church. Antoni Gaudí made the design and started on the building in 1883 (after the first architect Villar was fired in that year after starting in 1882).
Gaudí worked 43 years on the church - but had finished only one church tower when he died in 1926. Today, the church is getting closed to finish, but because of Covid-19 there are further delays on the construction, that will not be finished before 2030.
The winery Bodegas Ysios was designed by Santiago Calatrava. The winery is located in the Rioja Wine Region in northern Spain. Ysios is one of several wineries that have relied on modern architecture during the past decades in order to increase interest for the winery's brand and wines.
Other wineries like Viña Tondonia (their winery was designed by Zaha Hadid), Bodegas Protos (winery by Richard Rogers), Ferrer Bobet (winery by Espinet / Ubach Arquitectes) and Antinori (winery by Archea Associati), Il Borro (winery by Elio Lazzerini) and Petra (winery by Mario Botta) can be mentioned.
Richard Meier's building in the center of Barcelona, which has left its mark on the Raval district. Richard Meier is another Pritzker winner - the architect won the prize in 1984 is especially known for the white museum buildings (in addition to MACBA, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles), which designed exciting architecture in Barcelona , and the building has helped lift the neighborhood and made it more expensive to live in the northern Raval.
However, it has also had negative consequences for the residents who have had to move out of the neighborhood, since prices have risen after the construction of the museum.
Plaça dels Àngels 1
The Atocha train station was originally built in 1851 and rebuilt in 1892 after drawings by Spanish Alberto de Palacio Elissagne (who worked with Gustave Eiffel).
But what most people who visit the train station today remember is Rafael Moneo's new building with a tropical garden with palm trees and turtles. The Spanish Pritzker winner Moneo has left his mark on Spain with a large number of exciting buildings across the country.
A beautiful - but also very expensive art and science museum in Valencia. A series of polemical buildings by Santiago Calatrava - today a world famous architect who was born and raised in Valencia. Over the last decades his design studio has designed groundbreaking buildings all over the world.
The building came to cost four times as much as the original budget, with a total cost of € 1.2 billion (the buildings was supposed to have had a price of € 308 million).
One of the most important buildings in the history of modern architecture. The building was built for the 2nd International World Exhibition in Barcelona, where most of the other buildings were erected in the neoclassical style of the time that were in vogue during the period.
Mies van der Rohe's building, must have looked like a UFO landing from outer space, compared with the other buildings designed for the World Fair. Its straight and proportional lines, were very much unlike the many ornaments used in the other buildings in the area, and Mies van der Rohe's building was characterized by simplicity and a sparse interior design where only a single sculpture reflecting the water of a pool inside the building.
The building, which can be visited today (it was rebuilt from the original drawings in 1986), seems very modern even today, and is an absolute must-see in Barcelona.
Hotel W in Barcelona was designed by the local architect Rocard Bofill, who has also designed Barcelona's new airport terminal at the Prat Airport. The hotel has close to 500 rooms and most of the rooms have sea views.
Maybe Bofill was inspired by the Burj al-Arab Hotel in Dubai? At least there are several similarities.
We can also recommend experiencing the hotel's sky bar on the 26th floor, where you can enjoy both a wide selection of drinks and a fantastic view.
The Oceanografic Aquarium in Valencia was designed by Mexican-Spanish architect Felix Candela. The elliptical shapes fit nicely with the aquarium and the many pools.
The building was built in 2003. It has a popular restaurant of the same name in the interior. Oceanography is part of the Valencia Museum of Science, where most of the buildings were designed by Santiago Calatrava (see above).
The bridge crosses the Alfonso XIII canal, which is part of the Guadalquivir River. The bridge thus connects Seville with Cartuja Island. The bridge was designed for the World Expo in 1992. The bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava. Construction began in 1989 and was completed in 1992.
A large steel structure that is connected to the bridge via 13 cables, which thus acts as a counterweight for the bridge.
The Caixa Forum in Madrid was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, and the building is owned by the large Spanish bank CaixaBank. The museum is free for the bank's customers (you enter by using a credit card from the bank), but costs just € 5 for others.
The museum has exciting exhibitions, and although the competition is fierce from the nearby museums in Madrid, the Caixa Forum has its raison d'être due to the exciting architecture and interesting and very cheap exhibitions.
Many of those arriving in Madrid first see the Terminal 4 at the Barajas Airport east of Madrid. A stylish terminal designed by renowned American architect Richard Rogers.
The terminal is functional and modern. The airport had over 61 million. passengers in 2019 before the corona crisis.
T4 Aeropuerto Adolfo Suárez Madrid Barajas
The hotel by the Marqués de Riscal winery was designed by Frank Gehry - and the winery can for many months seem like a 'mini-Guggenheim'. It is not difficult to see that the same architect is behind both buildings - and yet it is highly recommended to visit both places:
Marqués de Riscal is more than just a supplement to Gehry's famous museum in Bilbao. Frank Gehry did the work for the historic wine house Marqués de Riscal, one of the oldest wineries in all of Spain (the wine house was founded in 1858) and an institution in the wine world. Therefore, it is obvious to stay at Gehry's hotel and also visit the winery in the historic buildings.
The Metrosol Parasol combines terraces, market, a Roman Museum and viewpoints. The structure is made out of wood - it is the largest wooden structure in the world - and it was designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer.
Enjoy the beautiful views of the city from the top and get a view of the cathedral, the bridges and beautiful buildings in Seville. Afterwards, you can visit the local market and the interesting Roman Museum in the basement.