Restored Sant Pau Art Nouveau site aims to become International City

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Sant Pau is restored to its former splendour and converted from a hospital to an international hub for research and innovation.

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The restoration in progress at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau site. The restoration in progress at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau site.

The Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is an architectural collection of 19 independent pavilions covering a total area of about 45 000 m2. Designed by the famous Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was constructed between 1902 and 1930 and housed the activities of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.

When in 2009 the healthcare activities were transferred to a new building, the site took on a new role: the hospital’s private foundation started work on the restoration of the pavilions and the central promenade, with the aim to create an international hub for research, knowledge dissemination and innovation.

Job creation

The restoration is estimated to have created direct employment for around 140 people, and is also expected to provide indirect employment for up to 20 people.

These jobs are likely to be in the surrounding neighbourhoods as a result of new demand for services generated through the organisation of meetings, visits and presentations in the restored pavilions.

Intelligent centre

The administration pavilion, the main building on the site, has been transformed into a complex of rooms and functional spaces. With space for more than 600 people, the pavilion provides a unique location for corporate meetings, conferences and presentations.

In addition to the restoration of the Art Nouveau decor, efforts have been made to create a space which is intelligent and sustainable. Latest technologies have been applied in order to ensure high quality and energy-efficient services, including what is set to be the largest high-efficiency geothermal energy system in Southern Europe.

Sant Pau is also notable for the beauty of its outdoor spaces. Originally designed as a garden city, the pavilions are surrounded by green and garden areas.

International City

The goal of the restoration is to attract high-profile national and international institutions to set up office on the Sant Pau site, thus creating a platform for interaction from which initiatives can emerge. The improvements have already made it possible for institutions to set up operations on the site.

This includes the European Forest Institute (EFI), which, with the support of the Government of Catalonia, is seeking to form a hub of actors in the forestry sector, which would transform Sant Pau into a centre of excellence in forestry research.

“San Pau aspires to become a platform for new projects and initiatives. The goal has been to create a knowledge centre that provides Barcelona with a unique environment where economic, academic and social sectors can interact.”

  • Jordi Bachs I Ferrer, General Manager, Private Foundation of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Sant Pau Art Nouveau Heritage and International City” is EUR 22 540 918 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 11 270 459 through the “Protection and conservation of cultural heritage” priority of the Operational Programme “Cataluña” for the programming period 2007-2013.

Draft date