In Catalonia (Spain): Discovering modernism in Reus

On a windy day we explore the city of Reus. It is just half an hours’ drive from Hospitalet de l’Infant, where we spend a few days in the apartment of our friends end October until mid November 2016.

Reus is the home town of Marshall Prim. He fought for the constitution of Spain and from 1868-70 he was Prime Minister of Spain (look at the cypress – it WAS windy).

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We park our car in the parking cellar located under the statue of Marshall Prim. It was another of those parking houses with small parking lots and narrow corridors. We found a comfortable slot on the fifth floor underground… if only I will be able to “climb” up from here again without getting stuck!

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The Gaudí Centre

Gaudí was born in Reus. Though he never built anything in Reus, the city is proud of their son and has set up a museum about his life, his architecture and the way he worked. The museum is well curated. We learn, how Gaudí experimented to find the laws of nature that he then applied to create harmonic architectural structures. For instance he used straight lines, triangles or quadrats and twisted them to find the harmonic shapes. Based on the “law of chains” he built slim arches that could stand without counterweights (when the sides of the arches stand upright, counterweights have to prevent the arch from collapsing, like in Roman or Gothic architecture, but when they are inclined, the arches do not collapse). These hanging wooden sticks are one of experiments.

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He tested everything with models, before implementing it, even studying the exposure to light.

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He had an overall approach to architecture also creating the furniture.

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The Gaudí Center is located at the market square (Plaça Mercada), next to the townhall and the green modernist Casa Piñyol.

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Across is the modernist Casa Navas with the shop for bath and wellness on the groundfloor. I buy a dressing gown (in Spanish: albornoz – the moors must have introduced this to Spain).

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We have lunch in the roof top restaurant of the Gaudí Centre. The view is great, but the waiters would have preferred us not to disturb them and the meal was expensive and poor (liver cream from the tube – in Swiss German: Leberpains – served on crackers with a few salad leaves, all for 15 Euros).

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The cathedral San Pere – late gothic and a no-no tour guide

South of the market square we visit the late gothic cathedral San Pere from the early 16th century.

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Inside we find two sisters praying and singing at low voices. It is a solemn atmosphere. Bump! A group of tourists enters. Their tour guide starts to talk in a loud voice. The prayers continue gently. Ursula frowns and whispers: “This is an absolute no-go!”

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The fish market or Peixateria Velles

Behind the church we enter the fish market (Peixateria Velles) with the sculpture of a basket containing fish products next to the entrance.

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Through the gate we see the galleries and inviting restaurants and bars.

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Modernist houses in Reus – a selection

Finishing off our day we follow a walk proposed by Reus tourism to discover a selection of the 29 Art Nouveau buildings proposed. This is the Casa Anguera behind the fish market…

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… with a detail of the flower ornaments.

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The Casa Serra and the Casa Marco mark the entrance to the small street, where Gaudí was born.

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The blue tiles of the Casa Laguna adorn the street leading from the square of Marshall Prim to the market square

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Not far from here is the Casa Carpa with the painted balcony doors.

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With Ursula’s directions I succeed to manoeuver my car out of the narrow garage under Marshall Prim (five floors up through rectangular small corridors!).

Reus is a small town worth a visit!

Back at Hospitalet I enjoy the inside pool with the swimming lanes – it is very busy here with swimming courses and water gymnastics going on around me.

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