Puig i Cadafalch, with the Casa Terradas creates an urban castle with Wagnerian and medieval resonances in a unique space throughout the Eixample that became a symbol of what the architect wanted to make of Catalonia: a nation aware of its past and open to progress and novelties from abroad.

Casa Terradas or Casa de les Punxes, is one of the most monumental works of Puig i Cadafalch. This is known for being the most complex of its works projected at the beginning of the 20th century, not only for its monumentality but also for the great elaboration, attention and number of details. Puig i Cadafalch wanted to design a house that would stand out above all the others in the Eixample and he did it.

Casa de les Punxes is singular even from its sitting. Atypical and with an irregular hexagonal shape between the streets of Bruc and Rosselló and the Avinguda Diagonal, this plot of land made it possible to design a large isolated building, a rare occurrence in Barcelona’s new Eixample. The challenge was solved by the architect arranging the three doors of entrance of the buildings to the Diagonal Avenue and framing them with two towers of different measures and forms.

It is in this curious location that the monumental building stands, reminiscent of the incredible Neuschwanstein castle. This well-known German castle was a tribute of Luis II to the operas of Wagner. It is one of the most photographed castles in Germany and is the product of a mixture of architectural styles (mostly neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque) that provide a surprising aesthetic to the great building. His style moves away from all functionality to emphasize innovation and aesthetic experience. Casa de les Punxes draws on these Wagnerian influences and makes them its own in its six towers.

Castillo de Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein’s castle

Neuschwanstein’s is not the last of Puig i Cadafalch’s influences in Casa de les Punxes. According to the studies of the art historian Santiago Alcolea, it is very probable that the architect was influenced in his projection by the medieval castle of Pierrefonds, in France. This castle was restored by E. E. Viollet-le-Duque at the request of Napoleon III shortly before the birth of Puig i Cadafalch. Its structure based on a polygonal floor plan and circular towers with a conical roof responds to a functional and defensive design. This is the structure that can be found in Casa de les Punxes but with purely aesthetic purposes.

Castillo de Pierrefonds

The Casa de les Punxes is a large unitary block containing three buildings. In its six facades, it has a stone base that reaches up to the height of the ground floor. The upper parts are made of exposed brick, of a reddish tone. The grandstands on the main façades stand out for their levels with white stone squares covered with vegetal decoration. These do not follow the hierarchy of levels of the Eixample, but this situation is resolved by means of the interspersed balconies, which do respect it. The façades are crowned by triangular themes, the central vertex of which is occupied by a ceiling with different symbologies on the owners of the house, a sundial and the figure of Saint George with the controversial phrase: Saint patron saint of Catalonia, give us back our freedom. These triangular themes and the characteristic shape of its towers are what give the house its well-known nickname.

We could conclude that Puig i Cadafalch, with the Casa Terradas creates an urban castle with Wagnerian and medieval resonances in a unique space throughout the Eixample that became a symbol of what the architect wanted to make of Catalonia: a nation aware of its past and open to progress and novelties from abroad.

Source: Alcolea y Gil, Santiago y  Manent, Ramon. Puig i Cadafalch. Barcelona: Lunwerg Editores, 2006. Printed.


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