12 Beautiful Examples of Spanish Architecture That Make the Country a Design-Lover's Dream Destination
From ancient castles to modernist museums, take a tour of the most famous landmarks of Spanish architecture.
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Spain’s enormous cultural influence spans everything from food, literature, fashion, music, and of course, architecture and design. Not only is Spanish-style architecture now some of the most recognizable design in the world, but after Italy and China, Spain is the country with the third highest UNESCO World Heritage Site count—a testament to its invaluable contribution to world architecture and its dedication to preserving its historical monuments. Today, Spanish architecture is also one of the most preferred residential design styles, thanks to the beautiful mix of Moorish, Mediterranean, and Spanish Colonial architecture.
What Defines Spanish Architecture?
Because of Spain’s long and complicated history, Spanish architecture is influenced by many styles—not just from other European countries but also Latin America and Northern Africa. It is incredibly diverse and eclectic, and it can range from bold, richly decorated, and grandiose to more minimalistic and even futuristic when we consider modern Spanish architecture.
What are the Notable Features of Spanish Architecture?
Soft curves and arches, boldly hued terracotta tiles, elaborately ornamented facades, and mosaics are just some of the design elements Spanish architecture is famous for. Throughout history, Spain has developed its version of many of the most influential architectural styles such as Baroque, Renaissance, and Moorish, among others.
Famous Spanish Architects
It’s impossible to quantify Antoni Gaudí’s contribution to architecture in his native Spain and around the world. Nicknamed God’s Architect, Gaudí designed some of the most iconic and visited modernist structures in the Iberian country. But he was far from the only Spanish architect who gained notoriety for his groundbreaking work. Santiago Calatrava, known for his majestic futuristic designs, conceived Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences and Tenerife Auditorium (before designing New York City’s The Oculus). Then, there are Antonio Palacios and Aníbal González Álvarez-Ossorio, whose buildings defined Madrid and Seville’s cityscapes during the 20th century.
Examples of Spanish Architecture
For those who love to encounter Spanish Colonial architecture and Spanish-style architecture stateside, it’s important to understand the buildings these aesthetics are drawn from. Here, the 12 most iconic displays of Spanish architecture, from la Sagrada Família to the Royal Palace of Madrid.