Art nouveau World Heritage Site in Barcelona sustainably restored into cultural tourist attraction and Knowledge Centre

Tourists interested in architectural wonders and NGOs alike will now be able to benefit from the sustainably restored Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona.

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Restored art nouveau World Heritage Site ‘Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau’ in Barcelona.  © Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau Private Foundation Restored art nouveau World Heritage Site ‘Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau’ in Barcelona. © Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau Private Foundation

" 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


The Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau is an architectural gem in Barcelona and part of the region’s cultural heritage. Designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the complex was constructed between 1905 and 1930 and is a perfect example of art nouveau architecture from the region. Because of its unique construction and artistic beauty, UNESCO declared the pavilions of Sant Pau an official World Heritage site. 

The facility was vacated in 2009 so that the restoration programme could commence. By 2014, six of the nine buildings were restored and a Knowledge Centre has been established on site to host local, national and international organisations. The multifunctional site is also a venue for events and has become a tourist attraction, having already received 305 000 visitors in the period between March and December 2014. 

Sustainable restoration

A strict adherence to sustainable building materials and techniques were applied to the restoration process. The project was able to attain a considerable amount of energy reduction and maximisation of water resources during the renovation. 

The buildings were also designed in a sustainable way for their future use. Rainwater is collected from roofs and applied to landscaped areas, and toilets and showers have lower water consumption, including dual flush toilets. Natural insulation was used when possible, and water-based paints were applied in the restoration process. A geothermal system uses radiant floor heating, and sensors heat and cool the buildings based on demand. Three of the restored buildings achieved LEED silver certification (one of the most widely used green rating system). 

Knowledge Centre created 

Following the restoration a Knowledge Centre was established at the site, turning it into a hub for information and innovation. The organisations associated with the Knowledge Centre work toward social responsibility in the areas of sustainability, health, and education in the 21st century. The aim is to create synergies between the work at the Knowledge Centre and associated European Union programmes and initiatives. 

Total investment

Total investment for the project “Art Nouveau Heritage and Knowledge Centre” is EUR 78 000 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 22 500 000 from the Operational Programme “Cataluña” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. 

Draft date