Looking towards the sky
When you walk through Passeig de Gràcia, occasionally it is worthwhile to lift the head of shop windows and look up the steps, to admire architectural elements that may go unnoticed.
We refer, among others, to some of the domes that appear on some buildings of the Passeig; In fact, in several areas of Barcelona there are some of them with great artistic and heritage interest.
Probably the best known is that the one that crowns the building located on the upper corner of Passeig de Gràcia with Diputació street, and in which there is a young nude – Guimeron – on a bird that symbolizes a phoenix. The building was the seat of the insurance company La Unión y el Fénix Español; for this reason, the same ornamentation is found in other buildings in other Spanish cities. The building was designed by the architect Eusebi Bona Puig, while the sculpture of the dome is a creation of Frenchman Charles René of Saint-Marceaux.
At number 71 of Passeig de Gràcia the building that hosted the Astronomical Association Aster was conserved, with a metal dome that is currently not used but where there was a telescope. Aster was founded in 1948 by a group of astronomy students, among them Francesc Almer, who in 1957 was the first to capture and record the sign of Sputnik from Europe, the satellite put into orbit by the USSR. At present, the association continues with its activities but is no longer at the Passeig de Gràcia.
Between numbers 6 and 14 there are the Rocamora Houses, one of the largest residential complexes of Passeig de Gràcia, which is cataloged as a cultural asset of local interest. One of the most representative features of this work are the five domes covered with orange ceramics, which change in color depending on the light. These three buildings were commissioned by the rich Rocamora family, and follow the gothic-inspired current that became so fashionable in the early 20th century.
Unfortunately you can’t see no more the dome that was in the Casa Lluís Ferrer-Vidal, at number 114. The project was designed by the architect Eduard Ferrés i Puig, and this building is one of the few art-déco inspiration in Barcelona. Its elegant dome was mutilated in the 40s to add two more floors.