Sant Pau Hospital


Operating theatre and pavilions (wards) of the former Sant Pau Hospital. Built 1902-30; original architect Domenech di Montaner

This new hospital for the rapidly expanding city was built on a hill away from the centre and the city air. It was funded by legacies and donations – mostly notably by Pau Gil, a Catalan banker based in Paris, who thereby benefited his soul and ensured that his name and initials were entwined everywhere in the fabric of the building:


Again, there is that tension in the fact that a conservative, devout, nationalist architect who thought that his administration block could function without electric light produced a renowned modernista building. However, it was forward-looking in its use of tiles, its absence of right angles at the top and bottom of walls (all for hygiene reasons), its underground tunnels for transporting patients and stores between pavilions, and its expansive gardens for the benefit of patients. There is symbolism galore; for example, green was the colour of hope in the Bible, and it was also believed to assist patients’ wellbeing – hence this ceiling in the ward:


Decoration was lavish:

and sometimes reminiscent of the Palau de la Musica Catalana (also by Montaner):


but the convent (i.e. nurses’ home) built later is an example of what happens when the money stops flowing:


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