Modern, contemporary architecture
Avant-garde and innovation come together in Heritage Cities. They look to the future thanks to buildings created by prestigious architects. The National Museum of Roman Art by Rafael Moneo or Calatrava’s Lusitania Bridge, both located in Mérida, are fine examples of this. In Salamanca, the Performing Arts and Music Centre or the Domus Atrium 2002 are well worth a visit. The Cidade da Cultura demonstrates the most modern side to Santiago de Compostela. Tarragona is home to original creations by Antoni Gaudí and Domènech i Montaner whilst Toledo houses spaces such as the Plaza de Alfonso VI and its Chillida sculpture.
Some of the city’s most recent works were designed by major architects, such as Calatrava’s Lusitania Bridge or Moneo’s National Museum of Roman Art. In addition, Mérida shows glimpses of new architectural trends from the 20th and 21st century. Trends such as neo-Mudéjar, modernism, rationalism, constructivism and iron architecture can be seen in buildings and some engineering works. These include the iron bridge over the Guadiana River. In turn, the Plaza de España square and the surrounding area house a contemporary ornamental architectural mosaic.
Many contemporary buildings have been built in the city of Salamanca and the best way to discover them is on the contemporary architecture trail. The route stops off at over 30 buildings such as the Conference and Exhibition Centre, the Liceo Theatre, the Banco Mercantil building and the Performing Arts and Music Centre. In addition, the historic quarter is home to countless contemporary residential buildings located in emblematic streets. Other contemporary buildings include the remodelled Pontificia University and the Museum of Trade and Industry.
Santiago de Compostela
The wealth of renowned historical heritage on offer in Santiago de Compostela has increased over the last two decades with an excellent smattering of contemporary architecture. The history-filled stone of the city’s monuments offer a unique backdrop for modern architecture. These buildings include the City of Culture, the Auditorium of Galicia and the Conference and Exhibition Centre.
Modern Tarragona offers up many interesting spots. The city became a stronghold from the 16th to the 19th century and the Sant Jordi and Reina María Estuardo advanced forts were built. The stately homes of Canals, Montoliu and Castellarnau as well as the former court date from this period.
The city underwent three development plans from the end of the 19th century to the 1920s drafted by three major architects: Josep Maria Jujol i Gubert (Metropol Theatre and Casa Ximenis, amongst others), Antoni Gaudí (the chapel of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart) and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (the mausoleum of Jaume I).
Toledo was shaped over centuries and, not to be outdone, the architecture from the 21st and late 20th centuries contributes to enhancing the city’s renowned architectural heritage. Some suggestions to discover the most modern architecture would include the Círculo de Arte (Academy of Arts), the Royal Foundation of Toledo Victorio Macho Museum, the Polígono Residencial (Residential Estate), the Casa Toledana House, San Marcos Church, the Vantage Point, the Old Arms Factory and La Madera Technology Centre.