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A Garden Rooted in Books in Barcelona

14th November 2020

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An impressive multi-level public library which supports a rooftop garden.

BCQ architects were handed the double-headed challenge of devising a civic library and restoring a public garden. Guided by the notion of a Garden of Light they have successfully created a series of cheerful, thoughtfully connected, well-lit public spaces. And very popular it is too.

The project footprint was originally the site of a 16th century fortified mansion. In 1944 the building was transformed into a child health centre. Sixty years later the Ajuntament (City Hall) acquired the site and set about converting the building into a civic centre and the garden into a public park.

Making full use of the site’s topography BCQ decided to raise the garden and insert the library underneath it. The result is quite breathtaking and well worth viewing if in the area.


Biblioteca Joan Maragall, Carrer de Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, 85.

Screenshot Google map Biblioteca Joan Maragall

Public Transport:

Rail: FGC L7: El Putxet


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When visiting, the adjacent civic centre has a very good cafeteria-bar, and the excellent deli-bar-bodega, Casa Pepe is a five-minute stroll.

Enjoy exploring Barcelona’s architecture.


The other Gaudí gate in Barcelona

13th May 2019
Architectural details Façana Miralles, Sarrià, Barcelona, cris rosique

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious architectural details in unexpected places.

Here, just off Passeig de Manuel Girona in Sarrià, you’ll encounter an impressive remnant of an unfinished Gaudí project — Portal Miralles. Constructed in 1901, when Gaudí was preoccupied with Park Gúell, it served as a gateway to a private house. 

My colleague, Cris Rosique (who took the photo above), recently posted an interesting and informative article about the site on Spotted by Locals. 

If you want more background on this intriguing edifice I suggest you check out Cris’s article HERE.

To check out Gaudí's Dragon Gate go HERE

Enjoy exploring Barcelona’s architecture.


6 Modernista Details in L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample, Barcelona

4th August 2015

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious architectural details in unexpected places.

You could be on a shopping expedition — the above entrada in L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample is adjacent to a Bon Preu supermarket — or out with friends — this magnificent entrance is just a few metres from the restaurant, Gresca — or just taking a stroll, and pass by a beautiful entrance.

Look — but don’t intrude

It’s difficult sometimes to not stick your nose in, take a gander and snap a few photos.

PLEASE DON’T — unless it’s a civic building, hotel or office building. The residents won’t like you for it, and the portera/o [concierge] will almost certainly hustle you out of the building  and call the police if you resist.

You could politely try asking the portera/o if you can take a few photos — some will oblige (while keeping a very close eye on you) but many won’t.

Instead, linger a little, savour the moment and walk on slowly by.

I am a frequent guest to this apartment building and enjoy the trust of both residents and the portero.

Film location

This apartment building has featured in a few movies, the most recent being, Mientras Duermes (While you sleep) although titled, Sleep Tight, in English — a creepy and coldly credible horror flick.


Lamp Carrer de Provença_Bill Sinclair


Here’s a close-up of the relief work adorning the walls:

Relief work, Carrer de Proveça, Barcelona —Bill Sinclair

Stair rail and newel:



Lift/Elevator Doors — showing ironwork, stained glass and woodwork:




Here are two photos of the interior window casements:

Window casement, Carrer de Provença, Barcelona–Bill Sinclair

Window casement 2, Carrer de Provença, Barcelona–Bill Sinclair.jpg


And here’s a snap of an interior window in the lift/elevator shaft:

Lift Window Carrer de Provença,Barcelona


Here are two photos of an apartment exterior door:


 Door detail, Carrer de Provença, Barcelona, Bill Sinclair

And, finally, a view of the entrance looking toward the exterior doors:


Enjoy Barcelona’s architecture.

Gaudí’s Dragon Gate in Barcelona

23rd July 2015

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious architectural details in unexpected places.

Had to go to a meeting at the Polytechnic in Pedralbes the other day, and the route took me past Finca Güell and the magnificent dragon gate designed by Gaudí.

The finca was a home farm and summer residence owned by Gaudí’s patron, Eusebi Güell — yes, the same guy who funded the development of Park Güell. The gate gives access to beautiful gardens decorated with typical Gaudí flourishes.

Because of refurbisment works admission to the gardens and adjacent Gaudí designed Pavellons (Pavilions) is currently limited. But it is possible to visit the gardens between 10am and 4pm on weekdays. The cost of admission is 4€. There was a children’s puppet theatre show in the gardens the day I walked past.


It is hoped to fully re-open the Pavilions and gardens at some point in the near future. As at January, 2020 the gardens are still closed for refurbishment.

More visitor information HERE

Gaudí designed several gates and gateway features. There is another Gaudí gate in Sarrià. Go HERE for details.

 Enjoy exploring Barcelona