Did you know that Puig i Cadafalch had a great political personality? Not only because of his well-known Catalanism, but also on a local scale. The well-known modernist architect was an active figure in the politics of his time, we will show you why and how.

The start

From a young age, Puig i Cadafalch was opposed to the unifying design standards of the Eixample in Barcelona and showed it in many different ways:

One of them, and perhaps the most noticeable, was the construction of some of his striking buildings, which stand out with the uniformity of their surroundings. An example of this could perfectly be the monumental Casa de les Punxes. 

Another way, no less important at the time, was his articles around 1900 in the prolific Catalan newspaper La Veu de Catalunya, where he expressed his discontent with the measures approved by the local government.

Because of this discontent and other personal motivations, the young Puig i Cadafalch decided to become an active part of the politics around him. In 1901, he became councillor in Barcelona City Council, coinciding with his publications in La Veu de Catalunya and the construction of his great work: the Casa de les Punxes.

Spanish Politics

Puig i Cadafalch was not enough content with his participation in municipal politics, so he went further. In 1907, Puig i Cadafalch began his activity as a parliamentarian in Madrid of Solidaritat Catalana, a unitary movement made up of groups and parties from Catalonia that existed between 1906 and 1909.

It was not until 1913 that Puig i Cadafalch’s political life took a broader and more transcendental direction. In that year, he became a representative of the Catalanist formation Lliga Regionalista and a firm defender of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, still in formation.

The Catalan Mancomunitat

The Mancomunitat was a Catalan institution that existed between 1914 and 1925 to which the four councils of Catalonia ceded their powers. Among other achievements, this organism managed to elaborate the well-known Project Of Statute Of Autonomy Of Catalonia (1919). In 1917, Puig i Cadafalch became a member of the Consell Permanent de la Diputació. That same year, after the death of Prat de la Riba, he became president of the Consell de la Mancomunitat until 1924. The division and erosion of Catalanist parties in conflict with the interests of the Spanish government, as well as the dissolution of the Mancomunitat by Primo de Rivera in 1925, marked the decline of the political activity of the great modernist architect. Although he kept his militancy in the Regionalist League, he participated in a more reduced and discreet way.

Puig i Cadafalch, in short, realised that with his work as an architect and historian alone, he would not have enough to transform his surroundings and therefore took an active part in the politics of his time, transgressing not only his facet as an architect and historian, but complementing these with his political aspirations.

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

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