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Barcelona unveils Art-Nouveau Hospital de Sant Pau premises after a 5-year renovation

The premises of Barcelona’s Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, the largest Art-Nouveau structure in Europe, were unveiled on Monday by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, the Vice President of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, the Spanish Minister of Public Works, Ana Pastor, and the Mayor of Barcelona, ​​Xavier Trias. The Hospital was designed by Architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner over a century ago and it was divided in a set of pavilions located in a park. It has treated its very last patient in June 2009, before moving to new facilities. After 5 years of renovation works, the compound has become a centre devoted to research and innovation, now hosting renowned international institutions. The building is also looking to become a major tourist attraction, with 120,000 visitors expected each year. All the politicians present at the unveiling stressed that the rehabilitation was the result of a close collaboration between governments and institutions.

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24 February 2014 10:00 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The premises of Barcelona’s Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, the largest Art-Nouveau structure in Europe, were unveiled on Monday by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, the Vice President of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, the Spanish Minister of Public Works, Ana Pastor, and the Mayor of Barcelona, \u200B\u200BXavier Trias, amongst others. The Hospital was designed by Catalan Architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner over a century ago and it was divided in a set of pavilions located in a park. It has treated its very last patient in June 2009, before moving to new facilities. After 5 years of renovation works, the compound has become a centre devoted to research and innovation, now hosting renowned international institutions, such as the University of the United Nations, UN-Habitat and the European Forest Institute. The site is also looking to become a major tourist attraction within the Modernist route of the Catalan capital, located less than 10-minutes away from the Sagrada Família. 120,000 visitors are expected each year. All the politicians present at the unveiling stressed that the rehabilitation was the result of a close collaboration between governments and institutions. In this regard, Spanish Minister Ana Pastor stated: “we will continue cooperating with Catalonia’s institutions because everyone benefits from such collaborations”.


A successful cooperation between Catalonia, Spain and the EU

The Vice-President of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, explained that in this first stage, 6 of the 12 pavilions had been restored thanks to a collective effort shared between Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and Europe. “What matters is that we have done this together” she highlighted.  

Meanwhile, the Spanish Minister of Public Works, Ana Pastor, said that this restoration was the most positive visiting card for Barcelona, \u200B\u200BCatalonia and Spain. She also underlined the commitment of Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy and his Government “to the institutions of Catalonia and to its citizens because [Barcelona] and Catalonia could be a true reference at international level, they already are, but could enhance it at tourism and cultural levels”.

The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias thanked Ana Pastor for the help they have always received: “I’m a friend, we are friends and we have a great partnership and when you can do something to help us you always have it ready”. He also thanked other institutions for their contribution.

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, has not specifically referred to the Spanish Minister but he stressed that “beyond the party that runs [the Spanish Government], when we believe that something is important, things are done and done very well at that”.

Total cost of €107 million

The total cost of the works will amount to €107 million, but so far €72 have been spent as 2 pavilions are currently still being restored and the works have yet to start for another 4. Almost 40% of the budget has been allocated by the Most Illustrious Administration (MIA), the consortium owning the Hospital de Sant Pau. In addition, the Catalan Government and Barcelona’s City Council have provided an additional €6.2 million, the Spanish Government €20 million and the European Union FEDER fund €17 million. Jordi Baiget, the Catalan Government’s MIA Representative, explained that such a price is in the lower middle range for a building of this size, the largest European Art-Nouveau venue, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Baiget added that despite the costs, they did not wish to do business with the building and that revenues will only be used for maintenance costs.

Up to 2,000 workers from internationally renowned institutions

The institutions that have settled in the hospital premises so far are the United Nations University (UNU), Casa Àsia, the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Forest Institute, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme UN-HABITAT, the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi), and the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA). For now, 200 people work inside the Hospital de Sant Pau, but when the venue will be at full capacity it can welcome more than 2,000 workers. In fact, more international institutions are expected to be based there. The site will also host cultural events such as concerts, or conferences and seminars.

35,500 indoors square meters and 27,700 outdoors square meters restored

The work have been conducted with one major purpose in mind: reinforcing the structure and foundations of the hospital’s numerous pavilions - some over 100 years old and at risk of collapse - while also staying true to Modernist architect Domenech i Montaner’s original ideas and adapting them to the building’s new functions. Thus, isolation and wiring have been improved, notably by dismantling and concealing structures that had been added after the initial construction works.

Among the most significant spaces restored are the Administration pavilion, with its old Lluís Domènech i Montaner hall and its new conference rooms and auditoriums, such as the Hipòstila room. In addition, the underground tunnels connecting all of the pavilions together - one-kilometre long combined - and the Historical Archives of the hospital have also been renovated. In total, 35,500 square meters inside the various buildings and 27,700 square meters of outside space have been restored. Such works have required the involvement of 67 architecture firms employing 90 architects, 25 engineering offices, 103 construction companies, 20 rehabilitation firms, 3 stonemasons, and 37 partner companies specialised in landscaping, signalling systems, or security infrastructure due to the presence of international diplomacy institutions on the grounds.

One of the most innovative improvements is the air conditioning. It is produced from geothermal energy extracted from more than 400 wells that are over 100 feet deep, and adapted for through-floor installation, thereby avoiding any radiators or air conditioners. The Hospital de Sant Pau is one of the largest facilities in southern Europe to have installed such a system.

Visitors can access the hospital for free during its first three weeks of opening

As of Tuesday and for the next three weeks (until the16th of March) some of the hospital premises will be open freely to all: the pavilion of Administration, which is the main entrance to the building, the courtyard gardens and part of the restored pavilions. The working spaces of institutions will not be accessible to visitors. After the 16th of March, the hospital will be open from Mondays to Saturdays in the morning and the afternoon, and on Sunday mornings, with extended hours in the evening from April to October. The general admission fee will amount to €8, while guided visits, available in four different languages, will cost €14. Unemployed people, under 16s, and retired people holding the so-called ‘Pink Card’ will be able to access the hospital for free. The residents of the surrounding neighbourhood will have unlimited access for €5 per year, while there will also be special cards available for other visitors for €30 or €50 per year.

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  • Some of Sant Pau Hospital's Art-Nouveau pavillions (by Robert Ramos / Fundació Privada Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau)

  • Sant Pau's Administration pavillion (by P. Solà)

  • Some of Sant Pau Hospital's Art-Nouveau pavillions (by Robert Ramos / Fundació Privada Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau)
  • Sant Pau's Administration pavillion (by P. Solà)