In this section you can search all our contents throughout the different stages in the history of art in Spain, to find styles such as Baroque, Gothic, Mudejar and many, many more.

Picasso. 'Guernica' Modernism and Avant-garde movements The turn of the century brought new winds of modernity. The aesthetic sensibility of the time was marked by a different, freer attitude towards art and life.


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Innovation and design in Spanish architecture

  • View of two of the four buildings in the Las Torres Business Area in Madrid.

    View of two of the four buildings in the Las Torres Business Area in Madrid.


"The boom in avant-garde architecture in Spain as an element of urban regeneration has led to an array of striking structures which have left their mark on the cities where they are located. ..."

The boom in avant-garde architecture in Spain as an element of urban regeneration has led to an array of striking structures which have left their mark on the cities where they are located. This is the case of the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum in Bilbao, the Paseo del Arte art route in Madrid, the distrito 22@ district in Barcelona, as well as numerous other examples up and down our country. If you're planning on exploring Spain's cities, then make a note of these suggestions.

'Madrid has an unconditional enthusiasm for modern constructions.'

So says Richard Rogers, 2007 Pritzker prizewinner and designer of the extension in the airport in Madrid. This enthusiasm can also be seen in buildings such as the extensions to both the Reina Sofía National Art Museum, by Jean Nouvel, and the Prado Museum, by Rafael Moneo. They are both in Madrid's 'art triangle', also home to the CaixaForum Cultural Centre building, featuring Spain's first vertical garden.

Other ground-breaking architectural projects in Madrid are the towers in the Las Torres Business Area, four huge office buildings designed by prestigious architects located on the Paseo de la Castellana avenue; the Canal Theatres, a major performing arts complex; and the Magic Box, a modern Olympic sports centre.

Bilbao, an open-air architecture museum

Frank Gehry, Norman Foster and César Pelli are just some of the leading international architects whose works are on display in Bilbao. Special mention should be made of the Abandoibarra area, with avant-garde constructions which include the emblematic Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.

Bilbao has an unswerving commitment to design. Take a look, for example, at its underground system, whose station entrances have been designed by Norman Foster. There are a range of avant-garde creations to be seen throughout the city, which is home to unique buildings like the Health Department of the Basque Regional Government, a construction that manages to convey an impression of movement.

The numerous other examples of avant-garde architecture in the Basque Country include the Donostia-San Sebastián Conference Centre and the Kursaal Centre, both in San Sebastián; the Ysios Winery, by Calatrava, and the Marqués de Riscal Winery, designed by Frank Gehry, in Álava; and the Contemporary Basque Art Centre-Museum (Artium) in Vitoria.

Barcelona and its avant-garde buildings

The district known as 22@Barcelona came about in 2000 as an initiative by the town council to transform 200 hectares of industrial land in the Poblenou neighbourhood into an innovative area featuring avant-garde architecture and modern spaces for the strategic concentration of knowledge-intensive activities.

The Torre Agbar tower can be seen from practically any point in Barcelona, and is an eye-catching cylindrical building which rises up from the 22@. This is a place which combines tradition with modernity in creations such as the new Audiovisual Campus and the Central Park, a garden designed by Jean Nouvel to produce a range of sensations through the play of light and shadow, and the perfume of the flowers.

The whole city is home to plenty of striking avant-garde architecture. Besides the unique and perennially-modern work of Gaudí, Barcelona will surprise you with many unusual buildings such as the Marenostrum Tower, featuring a completely horizontal block, and the Golden Fish, designed by Frank Gehry and located in the Olympic Village.

Innovative architecture throughout Spain

Avant-garde architecture can be found all over Spain thanks to various public and private initiatives. Whether in the shape of monumental or small format works, every part of the Spanish territory is home to first-rate examples of world-class architecture. To give just a few examples:

Castile-León is the site of the winner of the 2007 Mies Van der Rohe Award, the Castile-León Museum of Contemporary Art in the city of León, the Miguel Delibes Cultural Centre in Valladolid, the Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos, and the Museum of the Roman Villa of La Olmeda in the province of Palencia.

The region of Galicia in A Coruña is home to the Exhibition and Conference Centre, located right on the seafront, and the unusual Caixa Galicia building. Other building include the City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela and the exquisite cemetery of Finisterre, among others.

In Aragon you'll find the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón in Alcañiz; and sites worth visiting in Zaragoza include the Third Millennium Bridge and two of the most spectacular pavilions from Expo Zaragoza 2008: the Bridge Pavilion and the Water Tower.

Highlights in Andalusia are particularly the Medina Azahara Museum in Cordoba; the Caja Granada building in the city of the same name; and in Seville, the Santa Justa railway station and the Public Library by Cruz and Ortiz are just a few of the buildings which marked the city's urban transformation on the occasion of the 1992 Universal Exhibition.

The Region of Valencia boasts not only the City of Arts and Sciences but also the Reina Sofía Arts Centre and L'Assut de l'Or Bridge, both by Calatrava, the Conference Centre, designed by Norman Foster, and the Veles e Vents building, built for the America's Cup and a finalist in the Mies Van der Rohe architecture awards.

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