Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten spanish architecture  
     
1 Sagrada Familia  

architect

Antoni Gaudi

location

Barcelona

date

1882 to 1926

style

Art Nouveau 

construction

masonry

type

Church

La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family) is a large Roman Catholic basilica under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The formal title of the basilica is the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family. It is the last, and perhaps most extraordinary, of the designs of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
The Sagrada Família was planned in the late 19th century and construction work, under the supervison of Antoni Gaudí, commenced in the 1880s. After disagreements between the founding association and the original architect Francesco del Villar, Gaudí was assigned the project in 1883 and created an entirely new design. At the time, the basilica stood in an empty field over a mile away from urban Barcelona.
Gaudí worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to this endeavour; on the subject of the extremely long construction, Gaudí is said to have joked, "My client is not in a hurry." Work was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1935 and recommenced in the 1950s.
 
     
2 the Mezquita  

architect

 

location

Cordoba

date

870-975

style

Moorish

construction

stone

type

Church Mosque

The Mezquita (Spanish for "mosque", from the Arabic مسجد "Masjid") is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Córdoba, Spain. It was originally built to be a warehouse/temple/lighthouse. It later became the second-largest mosque in the world.

The construction of the Mezquita started in approximately sixth century A.D. as a Christian Visigothic church. Later, the Mezquita (originally the Aljama Mosque) was reworked for over two centuries to refashion it as a mosque, starting in 784 A.D. under the supervision of the first Muslim Emir Abd ar-Rahman I, who used it as an adjunct to his palace and named it to honor his wife. The land was bought by the Emir from the previous owners. It is believed that the site included the Visigothic cathedral of St. Vincent. When the forces of Tariq ibn-Ziyad first occupied Córdoba in 711, the Christian cathedral was suppressed.

Several explanations have been proposed to explain the mosque's unorthodox orientation. Some have suggested the mihrab faces south because the foundations of the mosque are borrowed from the old Roman and Visigoth constructions. Others contend that Abd ar-Rahman oriented the mihrab southward as if he were still in the Ummayyad capital of Damascus and not in exile.
 
     
3 Seville cathedral  

architect

Christian bell fry was added by Hernán Ruiz in 1568

location

Seville

date

1401–1519

style

Gothic Moorish

construction

stone

type

Church
  The "Giralda Tower" was based on the eight-hundred-year-old Koutoubia Minaret in Morrocco.

The Cathedral of Seville was built in the 15th and 16th century in Gothic style on the grounds of the former major Arab mosque. It is the largest place of worship in Spain, and the third largest cathedral in the Christian world.

Enter the building from Alemanes street through the Puerta del Perdón into the  Patio de los Naranjos. You will find there a PILA of the 5th century BC. Then climb up to the Giralda tower, which was the minaret of the 12th century Moslem mosque. Its Christian bell fry was added by Hernán Ruiz in 1568. From there you can oversee large parts of Seville:
 
     
4 Seville Alcazar  

architect

 

location

Seville

date

1181

style

mainly in Moorish Mudéjar style, but also in Renaissance. Its gardens are a blend of Moorish Andalusian and Christian traditions.

construction

stone

type

Palace

While the Royal Palace of Sevilla is not quite as grand as the Alhambra in Granada, it still is a superb display of Mudejar architecture with a lot less walking than required at the Alhambra. Seville's main sights:

The Royal Palace was my first stop on visiting Seville and on entering the Patio de la Monteria I was reminded of one of the reasons I find southern Spain so enticing. The lavish and ornate styles of Architecture brought to southern Spain by the Moors are just breath taking.
 
     
5 The Alhambra  

architect

 

location

Granada

date

1333-54

style

Moorish

construction

stone

type

Palace

The Alhambra (Red Castle) (in Arabic = Al amra') is an ancient palace and fortress complex in Granada, in southern Spain (known as Al-Andalus when the fortress was constructed), on a hilly terrace on the south-eastern edge of the city. The complex, which covers an area of 13 hectares, is renowned for its stunning frescoes and interior detail. It is one of the best examples of Moorish architecture in the world and among Europe’s most-visited tourist attractions.
 
     
6 Generalife  

architect

 

location

Granada

date

1324

style

Moorish

construction

stone, etc

type

Palace

The Palacio de Generalife (Arabic: Jannat al-'Arif - Architect's Garden) was the summer palace and country estate of the Nasrid sultans of Granada.
The palace and gardens were built during the reign of Muhammad III (1302-1309) and redecorated shortly after by Abu I-Walid Isma'il (1313-1324).
The complex consists of the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Water Channel or Water-Garden Courtyard), which has a long pool framed by flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades and pavilions, and the Jardín de la Sultana (Sultana's Garden or Courtyard of the Cypress). The former is thought to best preserve the style of the medieval garden in Al-Andalus. Originally the palace was linked to the Alhambra by a covered walkway across the ravine that now divides them. The Generalife is one of the oldest surviving Moorish gardens.
The present-day gardens were started in 1931 and completed by Francisco Prieto Moreno in 1951. The walkways are paved in traditional Granadian style with a mosaic of pebbles: white ones from the River Darro and black ones from the River Genil.
 
     
7 The Escorial  

architect

Juan Bautista de Toledo, Juan de Herrera

location

near Madrid

date

1562 to 1584

style

Spanish Renaissance

construction

masonry

type

Palace

The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (in Spanish, Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial) is an immense palace, Augustinian monastery, museum, and library complex located at San Lorenzo de El Escorial (also San Lorenzo del Escorial), a town 45 kilometres (28 miles) northwest of Madrid in the autonomous community of Madrid in Spain.

At the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, the complex was commanded by King Philip II of Spain as a necropolis for the Spanish monarchs and the seat of studies in aid of the Counter-Reformation. It was designed by the architects Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera in an austere classical style, and built from 1563 to 1584. It is shaped as a grid in memory of the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence. It is said that during the battle of Saint Quentin (1557), the Spanish troops destroyed a small hermitage devoted to Lawrence. The King Philip II of Spain decided to dedicate the monastery to the saint in thanks for his victory.
 
     
8 The Alcazar  

architect

unknown

location

Segovia, near Madrid

date

1000 or 1410 to 1455

style

Romanesque

construction

stone

type

Castle
The Alcázar of Segovia (literally known as "Segovia Castle") is a stone fortification, located in the old city of Segovia, Spain. Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of the rivers Eresma and Clamores near the Guadarrama mountains, it is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape - like the bow of a ship. The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then.
The Alcázar of Segovia, like many fortifications in Spain, started off as an Arab fort. The first reference to this particular Alcázar was in 1120, around 32 years after the city of Segovia returned to Christian hands (during the time when Alfonso VI of Castile reconquered lands to the south of the Duero river down to Toledo and beyond). However, archaeological evidence suggests that the site of this Alcázar was once used in Roman times as a fortification. This theory is further substantiated by the presence of Segovia's famous Roman Aqueduct.
The shape and form of the Alcázar was not known until the reign of King Alfonso VIII (1155-1214), however early documentation mentioned a wooden stockade fence. It can be concluded that prior to Alfonso VIII's reign, it was no more than a wooden fort built over the old Roman foundations. Alfonso VIII and his wife, Eleanor of Plantagenet made this Alcázar their principal residence and much work was carried out to erect the beginnings of the stone fortification we see today.

 
     
9 Palace of Charles V  

architect

Pedro Machuca

location

Granada

date

1527 to 1568

style

Spanish Renaissance

construction

masonry

type

Palace

The Palace of Charles V, in Granada, Spain, is a Renacentist construction, located on the top of the hill of the Assabica, inside the Nasrid fortification of the Alhambra. It was commanded by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who wished to establish his residence close to the Alhambra palaces. Although the Catholic Monarchs had already altered some rooms of the Alhambra after the conquest of the city in 1492, Charles V intended to construct a permanent residence befitting an emperor. The project was given to Pedro Machuca, an architect whose biography and influences are poorly understood. At the time, Spanish architecture was immersed in the Plateresque style, still with traces of Gothic origin. Machuca built a palace corresponding stylistically to Mannerism, a mode still in its infancy in Italy. Even if accounts that place Machuca in the atelier of Michelangelo are accepted, at the time of the construction of the palace in 1527 the latter had yet to design the majority of his architectural works.
 
     
10 Barcelona Pavilion  

architect

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

location

Barcelona

date

1928-1929, demolished 1930

style

Modern

construction

steel frame with glass and polished stone

type

Exhibition hall

The Barcelona Pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, was the German Pavilion for the 1929 World's Fair in Barcelona. It was an important building in the history of modern architecture, known for its simple form and extravagant materials, such as marble and travertine.
The building stood on a large podium alongside a pool. The structure itself consisted of eight steel posts supporting a flat roof, with curtain glass walling and a handful of partition walls. The overall impression is of perpendicular planes in three dimensions forming a cool, luxurious space.
Mies designed the Barcelona chair for the house. Two of these chairs were used as thrones by the Spanish royal family when they visited the exhibition.
The Pavilion was demolished at the end of the exhibition, but a copy has since been built on the same site.