Iconic Building Series – The Arc de Triomf, Barcelona,
The Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, Spain stands 30 metres at the top of Passeig Llu’s Companys. Architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas built it as the gateway to the 1888 Universal Exhibition in the capital of Catalonia. The arch was positioned at the end of SalÛ de Sant Joan, the boulevard which led to the exhibition grounds in the Parc de la Ciutadella. Covered with symbolic stone carvings and ceramic tiles, the monument is an expression of the city’s history.
Vilaseca utilised classical style to represent the city honouring the provinces that participated in the exhibition. Vilaseca, who formed part of the Modernista movement, added contemporary touches. To balance the city’s respect for tradition with its progressive ideals, the design is inspired by neo-Mudejar style, of Moorish origins, very popular in Spain during this time period. The architect chose red brick, instead of the typical sandstone or marble. Sculptural reliefs on one side exemplify agriculture and industry, on the other side commerce and art. The top showcases shields of the 49 Spanish provinces and the city’s coat of arms.
The friezes depict the city welcoming the nations and presenting medals to exhibition participants. To this day, Barcelona welcomes many visitors who can easily find the arch just off the metro stop Arc de Triomf. It is also a short walk from the Parc.