La Garriga changed radically in just over half a century. The arrival of the bourgeois from Barcelona at the end of the 19th century brought an unbridled passion for modernist architecture. In 1939, at the end of the Civil War, a bombardment razed much of the municipality. 50 years that changed the small agricultural town to the city that is today, marked by that history. A story that, we assure you, has left many unique places to see in La Garriga.
Our visit to those 50 years was in chronological order. We start on the surface, visiting the modernist buildings, and end up underground in the Civil War shelter.
MODERNIST ARCHITECTURE: THE FIRST THING YOU HAVE TO SEE IN LA GARRIGA
Nothing less than fifty buildings of modernist architecture are preserved in La Garriga. Much of the responsibility for the arrival of this movement is due to Manuel Joaquim Raspall i Mayol, the municipal architect of La Garriga and a large part of the municipalities of Vallès. Despite being born in the city of Barcelona, he was very close to La Garriga: it was his mother’s town.
HY ARE THERE MODERNIST HOUSES IN LA GARRIGA?
At the end of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution resulted in the birth of new social classes in Barcelona: bourgeoisie and working class. In addition, it also causes an increase in pollution in the city by the factories themselves and by the sudden increase in population with the arrival of labor from all of Catalonia.
The recommendation of the doctors to the bourgeois is to leave the city to ” do health “. And one of the destinations of this health tourism is La Garriga, for its thermal waters that naturally arise between 51 and 52 degrees. The final support is given by the construction of the railway that connects the population with Barcelona in an hour.
The bourgeois brings with them the tastes of the city and the money needed to build their “towers”, the summer houses. Summer lasted three months for families, while the gentlemen traveled frequently to the city to take care of their business.
THE RASPALL ILLA: A 100% MODERNIST APPLE
An apple occupied exclusively by buildings of modernist architecture by Joaquim Raspall, that is the Raspall villa in La Garriga. Four completely different buildings constructed between 1908 and 1912. Different, but unified by a fence that surrounds them all – whose checkered changes color depending on the predominant color of the house it protects – and by the presence of a garden in each of them.
The Iris Tower shows its power with a tower, for which it receives the name. In addition to the exhibition, it also had a practical function: it was the water tank. The service was raised with buckets so that there was running water in the house.
The Bombonera receives its name because of the similarity of its square shape with that of a box of chocolates. Look at the lamp at the entrance, with a yellow amber circle, “house mark” by Joaquim Raspall.
The Barbey House is the architect’s maximum work and the only one that overlooks the four streets. Sgraffito, mosaics –Sant Jordi–, wrought iron on the balconies, glazed ceramics, ceramic sconces, book blinds –Great innovation for the time–, delicate joinery work… a compendium of modernist artisan work.