In this first stage, the catalogue focuses on the modern and contemporary architecture designed and built between 1832 –year of construction of the first industrial chimney in Barcelona that we establish as the beginning of modernity– until today.
The project is born to make the architecture more accessible both to professionals and to the citizens through a website that is going to be updated and extended. Contemporary works of greater general interest will be incorporated, always with a necessary historical perspective, while gradually adding works from our past, with the ambitious objective of understanding a greater documented period.
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Special mention should be made of the incorporation of vast documentation from the COAC Historical Archive which, thanks to its documental richness, provides a large amount of valuable –and in some cases unpublished– graphic documentation.
The rigour and criteria for selection of the works has been stablished by a Documental Commission, formed by the COAC’s Culture Spokesperson, the director of the COAC Historical Archive, the directors of the COAC Digital Archive, and professionals and other external experts from all the territorial sections that look after to offer a transversal view of the current and past architectural landscape around the territory.
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In 1918 Barcelona City Council acquired the land for the construction of the Ramon Llull school group, designed by the architect Josep Goday Casal in 1919. Construction began three years later, as part of the initiative of the Commission of Culture to create new schools for quality public education.
The complex is located in the right area of Barcelona’s Eixample district, on a block framed by Sardenya, Consell de Cent, Marina Street and Diagonal Avenue. The construction occupies the entire block - with a trapezoidal plan - even though the building is developed on a third of the plot, while the rest of the surface is used as a garden.
The Ramon Llull school group is made up of two large buildings (one for each gender) with five levels of height (basement, ground floor, two floors and attic) completely symmetrical, between which a rectangular body of one floor develops - which, like a vestibule, unites them. The existence of the two buildings is due to the educational conception of the moment, to create a mixed school but where the students were separated depending on their gender. Currently, these educational criteria have changed in such a way that the girls' pavilion houses the classrooms for the early childhood education and the boys' pavilion for the primary education, both with mixed classrooms.
The architectural project - very similar to that of other schools designed by Goday - is characterised by the type of noble buildings, very bright and open to the four winds, which sought to create an almost idyllic school that surpassed the school models that were there had at that time. No noble materials were used for its construction but stone and brick, but they were made to look like it thanks to the coverings of the walls and the decoration.
So, the exterior façades of the buildings stand out for having elaborate sgraffitos, which praise the importance of education through figures and scenes related to children and education.
Both buildings have the same formal and decorative organisation in terms of floor plan and façade. They have four façades with three well-differentiated elevation levels thanks to cantilevered cornices and where the central section of the long sides is enhanced - both on the side of Diagonal Avenue and the garden - through a differentiated treatment of the openings and the crowning.
All the windows on the first floor (ground floor and first floor) follow the same compositional model: rectangular, with a sill, topped by cornice-like elements and framed by sgraffitos. Above this body - and separated by a large cornice - the fourth level is developed where rectangular windows with smooth lintels are combined with others with half-point lintels and where one should highlight the central section of the long side, where there is a window of three openings projected from a large semicircular arch. It is precisely this element, which contributes to enhancing the central body of the buildings together with the last floor, where there is a body of obvious Baroque influence with three oculi openings and which is finished with a triangular pediment on the roof.
The central section that joins the two buildings has a single floor, although it is passable on the roof - with a flat roof - in order to communicate the two pavilions on the first floor. This building is presented as a porticoed element - open towards the side of the garden, with which it communicates through stairs - with columns on which semicircular arches impose and covered with cross vaults. On the other hand, the front facing Diagonal Avenue is closed with a wall where three access doors to the school from this street are located; in this sense, the special decorative and structural treatment of the central opening must be highlighted. It is flanked by two pairs of columns that support the entablature, on the vertical axis of these there are two sculptural groups that represent baskets, accompanied by spikes and an anchor respectively and accompanied by a central relief, set up an allegory of education.
Each of the pavilions is accessed from the lobby via stairs, as these are slightly elevated with respect to the level at which the lobby is located. The two pavilions have the same organisation, a first hall with stairs and closed with wooden and glass doors that separate it from the area of the ground floor, which leads directly to it. This space is organised from a corridor or hall, to which the various classrooms and administrative offices open and also the staircase that communicates with the basement levels - where the dining room is located - and the rest of the floors.
The staircase is very wide to facilitate the movement of students and has natural light, thanks to windows that open onto the façade of Avinguda Diagonal, where the stairwell is developed.
One of the most outstanding spaces is the level below the deck, where the theater is located -in the girls' pavilion-, as well as the library -in the boys' pavilion-. These two facilities are located on the last level, as it allows for a very wide and open space thanks to the type of roof that Goday projects. It is a system of multiple opposing slopes on top of a structure of wooden trusses that allow, on the one hand, to cover such a large space - the entire floor of the building - without central support elements that they remain diaphanous and, on the other hand, facilitate the drainage of rainwater. The beams are decorated with simple geometric motifs in shades of green and white.
One of the most recurring elements in this type of building designed by Goday are the water fountains, of which there is one on each floor of the pavilions. The fountains are decorated with ceramic sconces and pictorial motifs, which complete the decorative program of the interiors. This decorative program is based on green and white pictorial facings and small pictorial representations on the door lintels, generally figurative of animal origin and with a certain childlike aesthetic.
The ceilings are -generally- of corrugated iron with iron beams, with the exception of the already mentioned spaces under the roof and the basement floor, specifically in the area of the porticoed hall that joins the pavilions. This space configured as a corridor has a lower height than other spaces and is covered with a cross vault.
Much of the original furniture, inspired by Castilian models from the 16th and 17th centuries, is still preserved in the building. Among others, three "director's cabinets" of carved beech wood stand out, the typology of which is inspired by the Aragonese and Castilian cabinets of the 16th and especially 18th centuries. A large carved beech table with turned legs, as well as several auxiliary tables of the same type. A meeting table, currently in the teachers' room, made of wood, with turned legs and joined with a central wooden shaft. Various carved, turned wooden chairs and a seat of crisscrossed palm cord that takes the formal solutions of popular furniture as a reference. Another of the most characteristic pieces of furniture is that which corresponds to the typology of "classroom libraries", designed by Goday and which is configured as a container for books and magazines that was placed in a corner of the classroom. It takes the 17th-century Castilian escritoires as a model with a special support and two carved doors on the outside and a legend on the inside that says: "Bien empezado, casi acabado" (left door) and "Bien habla quien bien calla" (right door) and in another, "Cada cosa para su cosa" (left door) and "Cada uno habla como sabe" (right door). These legends were most likely repainted at the end of the Civil War, although the original legend is in Catalan.
Finally, hanging wardrobes for children, of which there are two models, one with drawers at the bottom and one without.
On the ground floor, there is a wooden bench made by Francisco Frau Hermanos with a carved shield on the back. Much of the rotating slates are also preserved.
The Ramon Llull school complex was designed by the architect Josep Goday i Casals in 1918, under the direction of Manuel Ainaud, director of the Education Project Advisory Board.
In 1916, the Culture Commission was created, where the will to create new schools where education was "popular and of quality" was defined. For this reason, since 1917, monumental buildings were erected in various places in the city to bring education closer to the population, without any distinction of origin or social situation. These "School Groups" were designed by the architect Josep Goday i Casals, who created a model in a certain standardised size but adapted in each case to the characteristics of the plot and its location.
This typology of schools follows some Swiss, German, Italian and American school models from the beginning of the 20th century, which Goday knew, and which certainly influenced the projection of his school model. However, the new pedagogical proposals that caused a transition from the "school based on books" to the "active school" where learning included manual work, drawing, gymnastics, gardening, botany and theatre among others, develop the need for a new architectural model.
This new model of school architecture is characterised by its monumentality, justified in part as an exaltation of civility and education. The project includes two pavilions, one for boys and one for girls generally connected by a porticoed element and which has, among other facilities, gardens, a theatre and a library. The classrooms always open onto wide halls or corridors that allow the circulation of students and very wide stairwells illuminated with natural light, the latter element of great importance in all buildings. The detail in the finishes also stands out, with pictorial mural decoration, especially on the door lintels and roof beams.
In addition to the Ramon Llull Group, Goday designed, among other centres, the Milà i Fontanals, in Dels Àngels Street, the Lluís Vives in Canalejas Street, the Grup Escolar Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer in Lleida Street, the Pere Vila in Passeig Lluís Companys and the Baixeres School Group in Via Laietana. The name given to each centre has to do with the new impetus given to education in this period - and more specifically with the city's public school - thanks in large part to private donations, among which is Ramon Llull.
In the case of the building we are dealing with now, Goday designed two symmetrical buildings, decorated with beautiful sgraffitos, which although it was designed in 1918, its construction did not begin until three years later, in 1921. The Ramon Llull school group - which could accommodate more than a thousand children - was inaugurated on March 29, 1931, shortly before the proclamation of the Republic.
Much of the decoration is by Francesc Canyellas, who designed the exterior sgraffitos and the terracotta works that crown the cornices and fill the tympanums of the doors. He also designed the pictography and interior signage of the spaces as well as the water sources located on each of the levels of the pavilions.
Some of the furniture, specifically the tables and side tables, were made by the house Francisco Frau Hermanos, from Palma de Mallorca.
Perspectiva de la façana frontal del Grup Escolar Ramon Llull.