Spanish Architecture and Famous Spanish Architectural Structures

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Spanish Architecture
  • José Anconina
  • 10 Feb, 2024
  • 12 Mins Read

Spanish architecture has a historical architectural concept compared to other European countries with its famous architectural structures and famous architects. 

Spanish architectural structures have been influenced by many architectural movements throughout its history, and some of the prehistoric architectural structures have survived to the present day.

 Spanish architectural structures include many architectural structures such as Roman architecture, Romanesque architecture, Andalusian architecture, Gothic architecture, Renaissance Baroque, Rococo architecture, and Neoclassical architecture.

Spanish architecture, which was the center of the modernist movement in the 19th century, carried the effects of contemporary architecture in the middle of the 20th century and had a culture with quality and aesthetic architectural structures in the 21st century.

History of Spanish Architecture

The periods in which Spanish architecture was separated are listed below.

  • Spanish architecture in prehistoric times
  • Spanish Roman architecture
  • Spanish Pre-Romanesque architecture
  • Spanish Andalusian architecture
  • Spanish Romanesque architecture
  • Spanish Gothic architecture
  • Spanish Mudéjar architecture
  • Spanish Renaissance architecture
  • Spanish Baroque architecture
  • Spanish Rococo architecture
  • Spanish Neoclassical architecture
  • 19th-century Spanish architecture
  • 20th-century Spanish architecture
  • 21st-century Spanish architecture

Spanish Architecture Art Types


Prehistoric Spanish Architecture

Very few architectural works remain from prehistoric Spanish architecture. Dolmens are megalithic tombs that are thought to date back to 2500 BC. These pieces, usually built of three huge stone pieces, one of which is mounted on two horizontal pillars, form the entrance to a mass burial chamber later covered with earth. The Dolmen de Menga, near Antequera, is the oldest specimen discovered in the Iberian peninsula.

M.O. Bronze Age burials from 1900 have been found on the slopes of the Sierra de Gádor (Almería), just outside the remains of the walled settlement of Los Millares. Inside the walls, there is evidence of simple, rounded groups of dwellings and a large building used for copper smelting.

Spanish architectural artifacts from prehistoric times are listed below.

  • Dolmens
  • Bronze Age Tombs
  • Phoenician Monuments

Roman Style Spanish Architecture

Roman architecture, Rome’s B.C. It started with his conquest in 218. Urbanization in the countryside has developed and transformed into big cities.

Roman Style Spanish Architecture works are listed below.

  • Amphitheatre of Merida
  • Roman Theatre
  • Teatro Romano de Cadiz
  • Cartagena Roman Theatre
  • Amfiteatre de Tarragona
  • Amphitheatre of Italica
  • Toledo Amphitheater
  • Sagrada Familia
  • Cardoba Temple

Spanish Pre-Romanesque Architecture

Romanesque architecture is known as the pre-Romanesque art and architecture of the Iberian Peninsula. It refers to the art of Spain and Portugal after the Classical Age and before the Romanesque art and architecture.

Visigoth art, the art of the Visigoths from the year 711, is often classified by art historians as Migration Period art to emphasize its Germanic connections and origins.

The most important architectural work belonging to Spanish Pre-Romanesque Architecture is the Church of Santa Maria del Naranco.

Andalusian Style Spanish Architecture

After the departure of the Romans and the Visigoths, the Muslims took Andalusia. After the Muslims conquered Andalusia, aqueducts, baths, alcázares (palaces), and alcazabas (castles) were built, and Islamic architectural works were built in Andalusia in Spain. The real splendor of Andalusian architecture in the pre-Caliphate period emerged during the Kordova Caliphate.

The arch, the most distinctive feature of Andalusian architecture, reached its peak in both the decorative multi-level arch and the horseshoe arch.

The works of Andalusian Style Spanish Architecture are listed below.

  • Puerta del Perdón Church
  • Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
  • Alhambra at Granada Palace
  • Salón de los Embajadores

Spanish Romanesque Architecture

Spanish Romanesque architecture is an architectural style that reflects Romanesque architecture, which has distinctive influences from both architectural styles outside the Iberian peninsula and traditional architectural patterns from inside the peninsula. Romanesque architecture is the architectural style that lasted from the late 10th to the 13th centuries and developed and spread in Europe. 

The most common and magnificent architectural works of Romanesque are found in churches and church-related buildings.

The works of Spanish Romanesque Architecture are listed below.

  • San Martin de Fromista
  • Basilica of San Isidoro
  • Church of St. Grains
  • St. Michael’s Church
  • St. Cornelius Catholic Church
  • Church of San Cipriano
  • Monastery of Saint Mary of Valbuena
  • The Huelgas Monastery (Monasterio de Santa María la Real de las Huelgas
  • Sant Pere de Rodes Cathedral
  • Martin of Tours
  • Amfiteatre de Tarragona

Gothic Style Spanish Architecture

Spanish Gothic architecture began in Spain in the 12th Century as a result of Central European influence. Gothic style, all its influence in the 13th Century St. The James Way pilgrimage route has shown in time. Some of the Gothic cathedrals in Spain were built at the same time as the German and French Gothic.

Artifacts from the Gothic architectural period in Spain are listed below.

  • Seville Cathedral
  • Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
  • Burgos Cathedral
  • Santes Creus Monastery
  • Church of Santa Maria del Mar
  • Monastery of Pedralbes
  • Palma Cathedral
  • Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes
  • Valencia Cathedral

Mudejar Style Spanish Architecture

Originating from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian cultures, the Mudejar style emerged as an architectural style in the Iberian Peninsula in the 12th Century. It stands out with the use of brick as the main material. Mudejar is not the creation of new shapes or structures, but

It involves reinterpreting Western styles with Muslim influences. Centers for Mudejar art are located in other cities such as Aragon, Sahagún, Toro, Cuéllar, Arévalo, and Madrigal de Las Altas Torres.

Mudejar gives it a new character by creating a fusion between the incipient Gothic style and Muslim influences that had previously been intertwined with the late Romanesque. They are square towers with large surfaces decorated with glazed ceramics and red bricks.

The works belonging to the Mudejar Style Spanish Architecture period are listed below.

  • Cathedral Tower
  • La Merced Church Tower
  • San Martin Tower
  • San Pedro Church Tower

Renaissance Style Spanish Architecture

Spanish Renaissance architecture was the main style of the last years of the 15th Century. Renaissance architecture developed first in Florence, then in Rome and other parts of the Italian Peninsula. In Spain, the influence of the Renaissance began to be instilled in the Gothic style forms.

The Renaissance style began to spread mainly by local architects. Over the years, the Gothic influence has completely disappeared, and the influence of Orthodox Classicism has reached high levels.

Artifacts from the Renaissance Style Spanish Architecture period are listed below.

  • El Escorial
  • Salamanca Cathedral
  • Monterrey Palace
  • Archbishop Fonseca College
  • Monastery of St. Stephan
  • Palacio de los Guzmanes
  • Palace of Charles V
  • Granada Cathedral
  • Jaén Cathedral
  • Baeza Cathedral
  • Vazquez de Molina Square

Baroque Style Spanish Architecture

After the Renaissance, Baroque emerged in Italy as a new artistic and architectural style designed to showcase the power of the Catholic Church. The most defining feature is the abundance of ornaments. Baroque expressions began in Italy in the early 17th Century and quickly spread to Europe. Baroque architecture developed in Spain between the mid-17th and 18th centuries.

The Baroque style became the guide and reference for new buildings and urban planning throughout the entire Spanish empire of that time. Brick was used in Spanish Baroque architectural structures, and better materials such as stone were reserved for ornaments such as window framing and key elements such as the facades of main entrances.

 In Spain, noble materials such as marble and bronze, which were widely used in the Baroque period in other parts of Europe, were used to a limited extent. The facade and altar are representative elements of Spanish Baroque architecture. Spanish Baroque architecture has evolved from a certain simplicity and rigor to increasingly elaborate forms, especially on the facades.

Baroque-style Spanish Architecture works are listed below.

  • Royal Palace of Madrid
  • Church of Mary Magdalene
  • st. San Guinea Church
  • Church of Girona
  • Granada Cathedral
  • Santa Catalina Church and Tower
  • San Telmo Palace
  • Church of Sant Jeroni
  • Ibiza Cathedral
  • Cadiz Cathedral
  • Virreina Palace
  • Savior Collegiate Church
  • Archbishop’s Palace

Rococo Style Spanish Architecture

Rococo-style Spanish architecture emerged in Paris in the early 18th Century. It was the first architectural style focused on interior design in architecture. The Rococo period coincided with the last period of Baroque architecture and focused more on interior decoration.

The Spanish Baroque style came in the 18th Century. Sculpture is blended with painting and carved architecture. Baroque, which used abundant ornamental motifs such as acanthus leaves with classical roots, began to develop under the influence of French Rococo in the 1730s.

The works belonging to the Rococo Style Spanish Architecture period are listed below.

  • Palace of the Marques de los Aguas
  • Gasparini Hall in the Royal Palace of Madrid
  • Porcelain Wardrobe hall at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez
  • San Idelfonso Farm Royal College in San Ildefonso
  • Iglesia de la Purificacion

Neoclassical Spanish Architecture

The rise of Spanish Neoclassical architecture accompanied the rise of the period known as the Enlightenment. The multi-faceted movement supported by the bourgeois class that emerged during the Enlightenment avoided the meaningless lifestyles of the Spanish aristocracy.

 In the architectural realm, Neoclassical architecture has eliminated the extravagant Baroque architecture that was Spain’s favorite of the aristocratic high and mighty. Neoclassical architects eliminated unnecessary things in favor of symmetry, simplicity, and functionality. In neoclassical architecture, clean and basic lines have replaced dramatic curves.

Neoclassical Spanish Architecture works are listed below.

  • Cibeles Fountain
  • Neptuno Fountain
  • Museo Nacional del Prado
  • San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts
  • Theater Royal
  • Biblioteca Nacional de España
  • Bolsa de Madrid
  • Palace of Cortes

Spanish Architecture in the 19th Century

In the second half of the 19th Century, Revivalism architecture began to spread in Europe. Architects began experimenting with historical styles to be suitable for all uses.

Historical styles such as Neoclassicism, Neo-Byzantine, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance, and Neo-Baroque have changed by being used again. The 19th-century architectural style, which was built with a mixture of historical movements and old styles, led to the new style, Eclecticism. 19th-century Spanish architecture was revived with the Neo-Mudejar architectural style.

19th-century Spanish Architectural works are listed below.

  • St. Peter’s Church
  • Palacio de Cristal
  • Three Dragon Castle

Spanish Architecture in the 20th Century

Spanish architecture became the source of the Modernism movement in the late 19th Century when it went beyond historical boundaries. In the 20th Century, Spanish architecture broke away from past styles. Inspired by Art Nouveau and Jugendstil movements, organic forms were used. In the first quarter of the 20th Century, contemporary architectural studies emerged.

Spanish 20th-century architectural works are listed below.

  • Santiago Calatrava
  • Sagrada Familia
  • Park Guell
  • Casa Mila
  • Sant Pau Hospital
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Pere Mata Institute
  • Josep Antoni Coderch
  • Barcelona Mansion
  • Auditorio de Tenerife
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Palace of the Comunicaciones
  • Banco del Rio de la Plata
  • Maudes Hospital
  • Galicia

Spanish Architecture in the 21st Century

In the 21st Century, Spanish architecture has become the culture internationally known as a center of design innovation and excellence. Although Spain does not have a certain architectural style, it has quality and beautiful architecture compared to other countries in the world. Barajas Airport, one of the 21st-century Spanish architectural works, has won the British Stirling Award.

Spanish 21st-century works are listed below.

  • Madrid Barajas Airport
  • Santa Caterina Market
  • Torre Agbar Tower
  • DHUB
  • Joan Olivier Library
  • Marques de Riscal Hotel
  • Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
  • Torre de Cristal
  • Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Center

Spanish architectural works contain the inspirations of periodical movements. Architectural works built in the 21st Century have also been influenced by ancient art movements.

What are the Most Famous Architectural Works in Spain?

Famous architectural works in Spain are listed below.

  • Sagrada Familia Basilica
  • Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • Casa Mila
  • Catalan Music Palace
  • Guell Palace
  • Casa Batllo
  • Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
  • Real Madrid Palace
  • Prado National Museum
  • Las Ventas Bullfighting Square
  • Temple of Debod
  • Estacion de Atocha
  • Alcazar de Segovia
  • Mezquita Cathedral in Cordoba
  • Catedral de Santiago de Compostela
  • Bellver Castle
  • Seville Cathedral
  • Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

In terms of architectural works, Spain is one of the countries with old buildings, famous architects and architectural works, and rich historical buildings.

Which are the Famous Architecture Offices in Spain?

Famous architectural offices in Spain are listed below.

  • A-cero
  • ARRIOLA&FIOL, arquitectes
  • Mansilla+Tuñon
  • Roldán+Berengué, arqts.

Spain is famous for its architectural structures and architects. The most preferred profession in Spain is architecture, and the salary of an architect in Spain is 1990 Euros.

Who are the Famous Spanish Architects?

Spanish famous architects are listed below.

  • Vicente Acero
  • Antonio Lopez Aguado
  • Jose Manuel Aizpurua
  • Jose Maria de Aizpurua
  • Juan de Alava
  • Martin de Aldehuela
  • Martin de Andújar Cantos
  • Juan Bautista Antonelli
  • Claudio de Arciniega
  • Emilio Rodríguez Ayuso
  • Alberto Campo Baeza
  • Jeronimo Balbas
  • Jose Banus
  • Francisco Becerra
  • Francesc Berenguer i Mestres
  • Alonso Berruguete
  • Ricardo Bofill
  • Jaume Busquets
  • Bartolome Bustamante
  • Santiago Calatrava
  • Felix Candela
  • Alonzo Cano
  • Antoni Bonet Castellana
  • Eloy Celaya
  • Maria Rosa Cervera
  • Jose Benito de Churriguera
  • Josep Torres Clave
  • Josep Antoni Coderch
  • Simon de Colonia
  • Alonso de Covarrubias
  • Francisco de Cubas
  • Josep Domènech i Estapa
  • Lluis Domènech i Montaner
  • Enrique Egas
  • Casto Fernandez-Shaw
  • Miguel Fisac
  • Damian Forment
  • Justo Gallego Martinez
  • Fernando Garcia Mercadal
  • Luis de Garrido
  • Antoni Gaudi
  • Rodrigo Gil de Hontanón
  • Juan Gil de Hontanón
  • Bernardo Giner de los Rios
  • Vicente Guallart
  • Juan Guas
  • Juan de Herrera
  • Francisco Herrera the Younger
  • Fernando Higueras
  • Andres Jaque
  • Francisco Jareno
  • Josep Maria Jujol
  • Joaquin Labayen
  • Antonio Lamela
  • Julio Cano Lasso
  • Eufrasio Lopez de Rojas
  • Pedro Machuca
  • Cesar Manrique
  • Joan Margarit i Consarnau
  • Cesar Martinell i Brunet
  • Enric Miralles
  • Rafael Moneo
  • Berenguer de Montagut
  • Carlos Morales Quintana
  • Adolfo Moran
  • Enrique Nieto
  • Joaquin Otamendi
  • Alberto Palacio
  • Antonio Palacios
  • Carme Pinos
  • Javier Gomez Pioz
  • Isidre Puig Boada
  • Josep Puig i Cadafalch
  • Salvador Valeri i Pupurull
  • Antonio Maria Repulles y Vargas
  • Diego de Riano
  • Pedro de Ribera
  • Ventura Rodriguez
  • Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza
  • Enric Sagnier
  • Josep Lluis Sert
  • Diego Siloe
  • Alejandro de la Sota
  • Luis Gutierrez Soto
  • Tioda
  • Juan Bautista de Toledo
  • Manuel Tolsa
  • Diego Tome
  • Narciso Tome
  • Eduardo Torroja
  • Andres de Vandelvira
  • Lorenzo Vazquez de Segovia
  • Luis de Vega
  • Isidro González Velazquez
  • Juan Bautista Villalpando
  • Juan de Villanueva
  • Alejandro Zaera
  • Secundino Zuazo

Famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaud is the creator of Barcelona’s most famous architectural works.

Who is Antoni Gaudí? What are His Works?

Antoni Gaudí, the son of a coppersmith, was born on June 25, 1852, in the city of Reus. Gaudi, who studied architecture, completed his education in Spain in 1878. Spanish architect Gaudi, the Spanish pioneer of the Art Nouveau movement, his first important work is the summer house Casa Vicens in Barcelona. Other important works include Eusebi Güell, Celvet House, which won the Building of the Year award, Bellesgurad Villa, Battlo House, Teresano College, and Casa Milà building known as La Pedrera.

José Anconina

Jose has been a Spanish Tutor at since 2023. She studied Spanish Language Teaching at university and has an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. In her free time, she likes book reading.
Jose aims to enrich his students' learning experiences by providing them with knowledge about Spanish culture and traditions.

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