The classic Barcelona apartment building, in which most of its inhabitants live, was built at the end of the 19th or start of the 20th century in the art nouveau architectural style for which Barcelona is world-renowned.
The Eixample area of Barcelona was built in the late 19th century, almost in its entirety, in the art nouveau style. The Eixample is made up of city blocks that are hollow in the middle. In this context, it is normal to talk of apartments as being either ‘interior’ or ‘exterior’. An apartment that is ‘exterior’ faces the street, and the outside of the city block. An apartment that is interior faces onto the interior of the city block, where you sometimes find a park or a patio. There are some apartments that are both interior and exterior, these typically are quite long and narrow.
Most apartment buildings in Barcelona are about 6 stories high, and skyscrapers are not common. The naming of the different floors can be confusing, as the ‘first floor’ can actually be the third floor (or fourth floor if you are American and consider the ground floor to be the first floor). After the ground level, you first come to an entresuelo level, roughly this translates as “in between”. Then, you come to a principal level, which was traditionally the finest and most expensive in the building, before the invention of the lift, when it was better to be close to the ground. After the principal comes the first, second and so on. Some buildings will have just an entresuelo or just a principal.
Nowadays, nearly all buildings have a lift, typically this is a modern lift installed within the inner stairwell of the building. Most apartments have two or more bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a lounge and sometimes a separate dining room. Many also have a terrace, or a galería, which is a space with large windows at the back of the building, facing the inner courtyard. Often these apartments are quite dark inside, compared to dwellings in other countries, this makes them cooler in the summer months. All our apartments, however, have air conditioning and central heating as well. It is very typical to have one or two balconies with French windows facing the street. Normally these will have attractive original wooden doors, and louvred shutters to block direct sunlight in the summer. Many windows also have external blinds.
A highly attractive and much sought-after feature of many Barcelona apartments is their floor tiles (azulejos). These have charming art nouveau patterns, usually detailed and colorful, they are the result of local workmanship and many traditional designs are now being produced once more. With their decorative floors and French windows letting in warm Mediterranean sunshine, the traditional Barcelona apartment is a highly desired space to live in or to stay in while visiting Barcelona.
Come see it for yourself, book your holiday apartment in Barcelona now!