The three stages of Puig i Cadafalch's work

 Puig i Cadafalch is generally known as one of the great modernist architects. The one that not so many people know are the other stages of his time. Modernisme was only the beginning of Puig i Cadafalch's work, today we discover all his career:

According to Alexandre Cirici and Pellicer, Puig and Cadafalch's work is easily divided into three stages: the pink, the white and the yellow. These three stages are not only related to the fashions and tastes of the moment, but also to the architects he admired and studied throughout his life.

Pink period

The first is the pink period or the Modernist stage, the best known. This is the period in which he designed his well-known and large Modernist buildings such as the Casa Amatller, the Casa Macaya or the Casa de les Punxes. During these years, Puig i Cadafalch will have Nordic influences and will work for big bourgeois families, designing big houses for them.

Casa Amatller, Casa Macaya and Casa de les Punxes.White period

The white period corresponds to the stage of rationalist idealism. During this period, Puig i Cadafalch projected his works according to the new tastes of the bourgeoisie: order and practicality. During these years he projected works such as the now disappeared Casa Trinxet, Casa Muntades or Casa Pere Company.

Casa Trinxet, Casa Muntades and Casa Pere Company

Yellow period

The third stage is the Monumentalist, characterized by the yellowish color of the facades, the monumentalism of the buildings and the mixture of styles of his works. In this stage we find buildings that start from the Roman architecture and that are mixed with typical Andalusian or Valencian styles, resulting in a very special beauty. During this period Puig i Cadafalch designed such singular works as the Casa Pich y Pon. This was inspired by the work of Louis Henry Sullivan, an American architect he admired.

Casa Pich i Pon

Hydraulic ceramics, the modernist pavement

Have you ever noticed the floors of modernist buildings? Their decoration is so detailed that they look like carpets! Most of these floors are made of hydraulic ceramics, a type of handcrafted flooring very common during the Art Nouveau era.

Relation with Art Nouveau

Until the middle of the 19th century, noble floors were mainly made of marble. But at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867, a new type of tile was presented that would largely banish the old materials: a tile that was made without firing, only with presses. This was the birth of hydraulic flooring. In Barcelona, the great expansion of this material coincided with Modernism. For this reason, great architects of the time such as Lluís Domènech i Montaner or Josep Puig i Cadafalch incorporated it into their buildings.

Composition

The hydraulic tile was manufactured piece by hand. It had three layers:

  • The visible, decorative layer, based on a mixture of white marble powder, white cement, sand and pigments. This is the visible surface. It was about 5mm thick. The colors of the designs were created by adding the color pigments to the mixture and adding a little of mixture to each segment of the mold to make the desired drawing.
  • The body, which was similar in thickness, was made only of gray Portland cement and sand, which absorbed excess water from the thin layer.
  • Base of the tile, made with gray cement and sand, about 12 mm thick, and is the layer that adhered to the floor. Its porous surface meant that it adhered easily when the tile was laid.

Characteristics

The entire mold with the three layers was placed in a hydraulic press, which consolidated it under pressure. Once the operation was completed, a hardening process began, which required the necessary humidity to strengthen the cement. The name hydraulics comes from being submerged in water for 24 hours and then kept moist.

The measurements of the hydraulic mosaics were diverse, there were 10 x 10 cm, 20 x 20 cm, 40 x 40 cm and even more measurements. Their designs often had floral and vegetal motifs inspired by the classic models. On the floors of the Casa de les Punxes you can find some of them designed and decorated by Enric Monserdà and other modernist artists and a small permanent exhibition on hydraulic flooring. You can also buy a replica of a tile from different modernist buildings in our shop.

Did you know about hydraulic flooring? How it was manufactured? If you want to know more about the pottery of the Casa de les Punxes, visit this entry about the secrets of the pottery of the Casa de les Punxes.

10 curiosities you need to know about Gaudí

You are probably familiar with the works of the world's most famous Catalan Modernist architect: La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, La Sagrada Família... His life is often much less well known. That's why we have made this compilation of 10 curiosities about Gaudí, so that you can get to know him a little better:

Childhood

  1. Even today, where Gaudí was born is a mystery. Some biographies indicate that he was born in Reus, while others indicate that he was born in Riudoms.
  2. He was a very sickly child, who spent long periods of rest in the Mas de la Calderera, a family country house in Riudoms where he could have been born and observed the nature he would later use in his work.
  3. The director of his primary school, Francesc Berenguer, was the father of one of his great collaborators: Francesc Berenguer i Mestres.

Studies

  1. When he moved to Barcelona, he worked while studying to pay for his architectural studies, in which he did not stand out as a good student, but was rather irregular.
  2. When he finished his studies, the director of the School of Architecture, Elies Rogent, declared about him: "I don't know if we gave the degree to a madman or a genius, time will tell".
  3. Two years before he finished his studies, his brother and mother died. A year after finishing them, his other sister died, leaving a niece with serious health problems in the care of him and her father.

Work

  1. His relationship with Eusebi Güell was not only one of patronage, but also one of his deepest friendships.
  2. He almost never designed his works on plans, but on three-dimensional models in every detail. In this way, the collaborators could see them as he had projected them in his mind.
  3. His famous "trencadís" technique was invented by himself and was used for the first time in the construction of the Güell estate.
  4. When he died, he was run over by a tram and nobody recognized him because of his careless appearance, until he met the priest of the Sagrada Familia in the hospital. 

What did you think? Did you know these curiosities about Gaudí? 

Manualidades Casa de les Punxes

Downloadable games and crafts to do as a family

At Casa de les Punxes we wanted to bring the emblematic modernist building closer to our fans during these days, and the little ones in the house are no exception! That's why we want them to be able to become little modernist craftsmen with the help of our best selection of downloadable and online games and crafts, perfect to do as a family these days!

Build your own Casa de les Punxes

Puig i Cadafalch loved to travel and medieval times. During his travels he had seen the most important and impressive castles and churches around the world.When they told him that he had to build a house for the three Terradas sisters, he wanted to make it as beautiful and big as possible... Like the buildings he had seen on his travels! With an entrance for each sister, balconies and many windows.

Would you have done it like that too? Or would you have put even more windows in it? Now you can build your own Casa de les Punxes and also make the Punxes in the most original way you can think of.

Plantilla Puertas y Arcos Casa de les Punxes

Plano Casa de les Punxes

Casa de les Punxes
Casa de les Punxes

Become the best storyteller

Last week we did a funny puzzle of the St. George panel of Casa de les Punxes. This time we propose a different game where you and the legend of St. George are the protagonists.

As you know, in the legend of St. George, the knight of St. George saves a princess from the evil dragon. This legend is very old... Do you think it could be different today? Maybe the dragon wouldn't be so bad, or the knight so brave... So many things could change... we want you to tell us what you would like most! You can use puppets and marionettes to make your own version of the legend and show it to us.

Panel Sant Jordi Casa de les Punxes
Panel Sant Jordi Casa de les Punxes

Show us the result of your crafts and stories, send us your creations to info@lespunxes.com or share them with us on Instagram!

Downloadable games and crafts to do with the family

At Casa de les Punxes we wanted to bring the emblematic modernist building closer to our fans during these days, and the little ones in the house are no exception! That's why we want them to be able to become little modernist craftsmen with the help of our best selection of downloadable and online games and crafts, perfect to do as a family these days!

 

St. George's Puzzle

The architect of the Casa de les Punxes, Puig i Cadafalch, and the craftsmen who made the house with him, were very fond of the legend of Saint George and the dragon. That's why the craftsman Enric Monserdà decided to make a ceiling of Saint George fighting the dragon in Josepa's house. Have you ever seen it? It's very beautiful! Now we propose that you make this panel puzzle.

Versión de 20 piezas

Versión de 36 piezas

 

Panel Sant Jordi Casa de les Punxes

 

The flowers of the house

The sisters who lived in the Casa de les Punxes liked flowers very much. They had them everywhere! In the windows, on the ceilings, the floors... They all filled the building with color.

Now you can make flowers for your house. Paint them, cut them out... and decorate everything you can think of!

 

Casa de les Punxes flor

Casa de les Punxes vitral

Show us the result of your crafts, send us your creations to info@lespunxes.com or share them with us on Instagram!

The modernist craftsmen of the Casa de les Punxes

Who designed the incredible ceramic panels? And who made the detailed and delicate wrought-iron flowers on the façade? Who made sure that the windows were one of the main atractions at the entrances to the house? Here we introduce you to the modernist craftsmen of the Casa de les Punxes and we answer all these questions.

Enric Monserdà

Enric Monserdà was in charge of all the decoration of Casa de les Punxes. This was not the first time he worked together with Puig i Cadafalch for the Terradas family. He had already been in charge of the decoration of the family's Mas Sobrevia in Seva. In this ancestral home, where he worked between 1901 and 1905, religious decoration was the main feature, as is usual in the decorations of Monserdà. His relationship with the Terradas family was so close that he had lived for long periods both in Mas Sobrevia and in the Casa de les Punxes, for reasons of rest and relaxation in the case of the former, and temporarily set up his studio in the Punxa Principal in the latter.

The peculiarity of his style is very present in the decoration of Casa de les Punxes, where we find representations of religious figures such as Saint George and several symbols that refer to the Church and the Holy Trinity. Of his designs in the Casa Terradas, we highlight the incredible ceramic panels, as well as the designs of the details of the stained-glass windows and the decorative elements of artificial stone and iron. Monserdà not only designed the decoration of the walls, façades, floors and ceilings, but also participated in the decoration of the furniture inside the house.

 

Casa de les Punxes

Amigó Workshop

It was known in its time as the most important glass workshop in Barcelona. The artists Josep and Joaquim Amigó, among others, worked together with Enric Monserdà, who was the artistic director of the workshop.

The works of the Amigó Workshop are present in such important works of Catalan Modernism as the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia or the Casa de les Punxes. In the latter, the windows of the entrances to the house are particularly noteworthy, with vegetable and floral motifs in different colors and textures. This vegetable decoration, together with the wrought iron details of the railings and the sgraffito motifs on the walls of the staircase, introduces nature into the house, creating continuity with the decoration of the façades.

 

Vitral taller Amigó modernist craftmens

Manuel Ballarín i Lancuentra

Ballarín was one of the main modernist forgers who existed in Catalonia. During his years of work he collaborated with different architects and artists of the time, but especially with Puig i Cadafalch. Their collaboration was so close that Puig and Cadafalch became partner in his workshop "Manuel Ballarin y Cia S.L.".

The Ballarin Workshop innovated and modernized the production of modernist forging, making pieces in series in a mechanized way. These pieces were arranged in a catalog from which you could choose predefined designs. This technique greatly reduced the cost and selling price of its pieces.

In the Casa de les Punxes we can find details of forging by Manuel Ballarín all over the outside of the house, on the roof, on the entrances and even in the Punxes. His motifs are always vegetable and floral, forming part of the nature that surrounds and forms part of the Casa de les Punxes.

 

Taller Ballarín modernist craftmens

Alfons Juyol i Bach

Juyol was a Catalan sculptor specialized in architectural decoration. He shared a prestigious sculpture and stonework workshop with his brother Josep Juyol known as "Juyol Brothers". He was a very perfectionist and had the peculiarity of making models of the decorations that he would make to the facades of the buildings that hired him.

Alfons Juyol collaborated with great modernist architects such as Puig i Cadafalch and Domènech i Montaner in buildings such as Casa Amatller, Casa Macaya, Casa León Morera and the Palau Baró de Quadres. Other great modernist artists such as the founder Manuel Ballarín, the sculptor Eusebi Arnau, Miquel Utrillo, the ceramist Maragliano and the decorators Moragas and Alarma also trusted their work.

Juyol collaborated very closely with Puig i Cadafalch in many of his works and the Casa de les Punxes is one of them. We can find details of his work such as the stone decoration of the Main Punxa with the anagram of Àngela Terradas Brutau, among others. You can discover it in this link from one of our guides.

Did you know all the modernist craftsmen who collaborated in the Casa de les Punxes? Which one is your favourite?

 

Paneles cerámicos Casa de les Punxes

The ceramic panels of the Casa de les Punxes

Do you know the ceramic panels of Casa de les Punxes? They are one of the most impressive ceramic details in the building. They are the work of Enric Monserdà and each of them has a secret in its meaning. In this article you will be able to discover them

The panel of the Angel - Rosselló Street with Diagonal Avenue

On the main façade of Casa de les Punxes, we are greeted by an impressive ceramic panel with an angel depicting a phylactery. This angel refers to the owner of the house that we found at number 420 of Avinguda Diagonal, one of the Terradas sisters: Àngela. In the phylactery we find written in Gothic letters: "This work was finished year MCMV" .Just behind this panel, we find the Punxa Principal, which also has symbols in its decoration that refer us to Àngela. The decorative details in stone that we find at the base of the Punxa include the ATB anagram, referring to Àngela Terradas Brutau.

 

Panel cerámico ángel Casa de les Punxes

The Sundial panel - Avinguda Diagonal

Following the path along Avinguda Diagonal we find the second panel of the series. In this panel we find represented a sundial and together with it, a calendar. The clock has zodiacal representations of the seasons of the year: spring (Aries), winter (Capricorn), autumn (Libra) and summer (Cancer) and on the side we find the Roman numbers. At the top of the panel we find another phylactery with a message in Latin ""Numquam te crastima fallet hora", a quotation from Virgil's Georgics. Its translation would be """May the morning never be wrong with the day". We found this panel in Josepa's house. We identify this house by the flowering rod of Saint Joseph that we found at the entrance, under the panel.

 

Panel cerámico reloj solar Casa de les Punxes

 

The panels of the roses - Calle Bruc wtich Avenida Diagonal

On the opposite side of the Angel panel, we find the two panels of the roses, one on Avenida Diagonal and the other on Calle Bruc. In the first one we find a woman surrounded by roses, while in the second one we can see a vase full of roses with the initials RTB. The two panels are alluding to the third sister Terradas, the Rosa Terradas Brutau. In the decoration of the façade we can also find other symbols that identify the house of the Rose, such as the roses sculpted in stone on the capitals of the columns or the anagram surrounded by roses above the entrance.

 

Panel cerámico Rosa Casa de les Punxes

 

The Saint George Panel - Calle Rosselló

Finally, turning the corner, we find one of the best known panels of Casa de les Punxes, the St. George panel. In this panel, we find Saint George fighting the Dragon, with another phylactery in which we can read: "Patron Saint of Catalonia give us back our freedom". Saint George is a recurrent motif in Modernist decoration and especially in the work of Puig and Cadafalch. Neither in the decoration of this facade nor in this ceiling we find any reference to the Terradas sisters. What we do find, is a reference to the great architect of Casa de las Punxes, since his face is sculpted in one of the corners of the panel.

 

Panel Sant Jordi Casa de les Punxes

 

Did you know all these details and their meanings? We love the ceramic panels of Casa de les Punxes and their secrets!

Panel cerámico Casa de les Punxes

The secrets of the Casa de les Punxes ceramics

The Casa de les Punxes stands out on Avenida Diagonal for its monumentality and unique style. One of the elements that stand out, apart from the reddish colour of its facades, are the Punxes characteristics of the building. Also at the top of the house are the well-known ceramic panels of the Casa de les Punxes, one of the decorative wonders of Enric Monserdà. Inside the house, other ceramic jewels are hidden waiting to be discovered. In this article we will make a compilation of the most significant ones.

  • Ceramic panels

The ceramic panels are one of the most impressive decorative details of the Casa de les Punxes. The panels are the exterior decorative element that reveals that the Casa de les Punxes, despite looking like a unitary building, is divided into several houses. At the Casa de les Punxes we can find five panels, two in Josepa's house, one in Àngela's house and the other two at the house of Rosa. In all of them, we can see symbols that indicate the relevance of each one of the houses to the three sisters, except in Saint George’s panel, in which we find a hidden reference in the architect of the house. In the next article of the blog we will learn more about the symbolism of these panels.

 

ceramic Casa de les Punxes

 

  • The Punxes

The Punxes majestically crown the Avenida Diagonal. On the main facade of the building, which overlooks Rosselló Street, we find a Punxes of a larger size than the others, which breaks the symmetry of the house. All the punxes are covered by ceramic tiles in the shape of scales. Those are made by hand and therefore are imperfect and even have different shades and colors.

These ceramics are attached to the surface of the tower one by one and lime mortar is used as a fixture. This allows expansion according to temperature without the structure being altered. Their arrangement allows to highlight the dome shape of the punxes. These scales are very delicate, so they have been restored several times following the traditional procedure. Here we can see a process of creating similar ceramic pieces. Also, noteworthy are the glazed ceramic pieces which, placed on the tiles, act as a link between the two sides of the roof. These stones are signed by J. Arpí. This indicates that they could be materials manufactured by the craftsman from Lloret, Pere Arpí Garí, with whom Puig i Cadafalch worked on some previous project.

 

ceramic Casa de les Punxes

 

Technicals innovations in the ceramic "Punxes" of Casa de les Punxes

Puig i Cadafalch applies a technical innovation in the punxes. In these, he uses iron to be able to collect, channel and divert the loads (internal and external forces) towards the foundations. On the one hand, Puig i Cadafalch uses reinforcement belts (made of iron) that act as containers for the forces and help to alleviate the flow of loads. As far as ceramics are concerned, we find the rings or strips of ceramic brick that work under pressure forming the internal skeleton of the tower together with the metal belts. In this way, the weight of the turn is perfectly channelled and distributed.

This constructive revolution is remarkable in the biggest Punxa, in which it takes the structural advances to a maximum extreme. The metallic structures are no longer supported on columns, but hang by means of metallic strips that work by traction. That transmit the loads of all the weight to the circular ceramic brick perimeter, making them work in compression. In this way, the floors of the towers "float" as they do not distribute all their weight on the perimeter walls. They are held in place by the metal strips working in traction.

 

ceramic Punxes interior

 

  • Ceramic tiles

In the Casa de les Punxes the ceramic tiles of its main entrances are well known, and we can also see them under the balconies of the facade. The majolica tiles, designed by Antoni Maria Gallissà, had been used before in another building designed by Puig i Cadafalch for the Terradas family: the Sobrevia farmhouse. He also used this same majolica in the Palau Macaya, as part of the decoration. The tiles, although independent, have a design that allows them to be combined to form another joint design.

 

Majolica ceramic

 

Did you know all these ceramics from the Casa de les Punxes? If you found it interesting, we recommend you also read the following article about the symbolism in the ceramic panels of the Casa de les Punxes.

Josep Maria Jujol and the colors of Catalan Modernism

Josep Maria Jujol i Gibert was a Catalan modernist artist contemporary with Puig i Cadafalch, Domènech i Montaner and Antoni Gaudí, among others. Jujol was a close collaborator of Gaudí.

Josep Maria Jujol was born on September 16, 1879, in Tarragona, from where he moved in 1885 to live with his parents in the Vila de Gracia. Since he was a child, drawing was one of his hobbies and his sensitivity to colors was evident. He studied at the School of Architecture in Barcelona between 1901 and 1906, when it was directed by Domènech i Montaner.

The relationship between Josep Maria Jujol and Antoni Maria Gallissà

While he was studying, Jujol collaborated in the elaboration of decorative details with the architect and professor Antoni Maria Gallissà i Soqué, whom he considered his great teacher. Gallissà was a great friend of Puig i Cadafalch, known for his great decorations. One of the colorful majolica designs of Casa de les Punxes is his, in which one can appreciate his great sensitivity to detail and the color that Jujol incorporated into his style.

 

Mayólica Antoni Maria Gallissà

Even before finishing his studies, Josep Maria Jujol started his collaborations with Gaudí in La Pedrera, Casa Batlló or Parque Güell, among others. The young architect was fascinated by Gaudí's work and put all his enthusiasm into his collaborations with him. The vibrant colors of Casa Batllo's façade are attributed to Jujol, as well as the design of the balconies of La Pedrera, among others. One of his most famous collaborations is the one with the Park Güell, where the colorful solution of the great undulating bench was the work of Jujol, as well as the soffits and the decoration of the hypostyle room.

 

Mosaico Park Guell Josep Maria Jujol Gaudí

Apart from his close relationship with great modernist architects such as Gallissà or Gaudí, Jujol built a very personal style. This was characterized by great attention to handcrafted details, his religiousness, and the colorism of his works. These characteristics can be seen in one of his most famous works, Can Negre, in Sant Joan Despí.

 

Can Negre Josep Maria Jujol

Throughout his life, Jujol suffered from various chronic ailments, which ended on May 1, 1949 due to an intestinal perforation. The modernist artist was buried in the family niche, with a tombstone he had designed himself.

Saint George, a multi-faceted hero

Saint George has a special relevance within the Catalan culture, that's why this festivity is very special and very celebrated in Catalonia.

He was and is one of the most popular saints, venerated by different religious confessions. Jacopo da Varazze wrote the legend of Saint George and the Dragon in the 13th century in his work "Legenda sanctorum", in which he collected fables of several saints. In a short time the legend had spread all over Europe.

An ancient legend

The legend of the knight who slays the dragon does not begin with St. George or the Christian imagination, but is believed to be an assimilation of much older legends. For example, we find a similar legend in a Sumerian epic from three thousand years before Christ. We can also find references in this legend to Ancient Egypt or the Roman Empire.

Today, the legend and St. George's Day are celebrated in many countries around the world. This saint is the patron saint of Catalonia and Aragon, but also of many cities and countries such as England, Russia, Poland or Greece, among others.

Saint George in Barcelona

St. George's Day is a very popular celebration. Its patronage of Catalonia is a common element in different Catalan artistic currents and expressions. This is the case of Modernism, which very often uses the figure of Saint George in its works. We can see representations and allusions to his figure or the dragon in several Modernist buildings in Barcelona such as Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller, Palau Güell or Casa de les Punxes. In the Casa de les Punxes we find a ceramic panel designed by Enric Monserdà. On it, the courageous knight with the sword over the dragon appears together with the inscription in Catalan: "Patron Saint of Catalonia, give us back our freedom".

This is not the only element that reminds us of the legend of the house. The scales of the fierce dragon's back come to life in the characteristic Punxes, besieging the house from the sky.

The brave knight was a very important figure for Catalan modernism, and especially for the work of Puig y Cadafalch and Enric Monserdà, the respective architect and decorator of Casa de les Punxes. That is why the Casa de les Punxes has a route designed to rediscover his legend, as well as to penetrate its symbolism, its history, Catalan modernism and the figure of its architect, Puig Cadafalch.