Dr. Judith Urbano Publishes Book on “Eclectic Barcelona”

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Dr. Judith Urbano, a lecturer at the UIC’s ESARQ School of Architecture and a member of its History, Architecture and Design research group, has written a new book on August Font i Carreras (1845-1924), which went on sale this week. La Barcelona Eclèctica (Eclectic Barcelona) was published by Dux Editorial with support from Barcelona City Council. The book aims to do justice to one of the city’s least-known architects.

August Font i Carreras was very well known during his lifetime and had a glittering professional career. His major works included the façade and dome of Barcelona Cathedral, the Church of Santa María de Montalegre, Las Arenas bullring, the Palau de las Heures (originally a private home, now part of the Universitat de Barcelona), the Maison Dorée restaurant, the Palau de Belles Arts (a grand pavilion for the 1888 Universal Exposition), several branches of La Caixa d’Estalvis savings bank and charitable foundation, and much more. The eclectic nature of his works meant that he left virtually no critical legacy after his death and as a result, many of his buildings have since been demolished.

It is high time that Barcelona, a city that is so renowned for its Modernist Art Nouveau architecture, revisited other works from the turn of the century by architects who did not follow this trend and who experimented with other elements and materials in an attempt to find their own new architectural style for the new century. By analysing the output of Font i Carreras and acknowledging the important role he played in shaping Barcelona’s current appearance, Dr. Urbano’s book fills a significant gap and finally does justice to the work of this unfairly overlooked architect.