The "Poble Espanyol" is situated at
the foot of Montjuïc. It is like a water-colour painting of
the different towns and cultures in Spain which are represented
in streets and squares, monuments and buildings.
It was built in
1929 for the International Exposition in Barcelona and it is the
only undertaking of its kind which has resisted the passage of time
It did not come to life in the same way other
towns do, in a spontanious way, but rather it was planned right
down to the smallest detail. Every square centimetre was carefully
studied, and in order to carry out this scientific task a good dose
of love had to be added. Destined to complement the National Palace or ancient art, it has dazzled all those who have
seen it with its originality. Since its opening ceremony on the
20th of May, 1929, presided over by the King and Queen of Spain,
and throughout the sixty years which have passed by since then,
it has received unanimous praise.
The men responsible for the work were Miquel
Utrillo i Morlius, an industrial engineer from Barcelona; Francesc
Xavier Nogués i Casas, a draughtsman, engraver and painter
from Barcelona; Francesc Folguera i Grassi, an architect from Barcelona;
Ramon Reventós i Farrarons, another architect from Barcelona.
The long journey
In order to carry out the work, they had to
make a journey around Spain to recreate the buildings in all their
beauty. They needed to capture the atmosphere, take note of the
colours of the stones and study all the building possibilities.
They raised the question at the City Council.
The idea was approved and a Hispano Suizo car was bought for
them. The four men, Miquel Utrillo, Ramon Reventós,
Francesc Xavier Nogués and Francesc Folguera, along with
their chauffeur, set out on their first journey to gather together
all the necessary information.
hey prepared the journey as meticulously as
possible with a thorougly planned and extensive route, including
road details and recommended hostals.
One of them, I think it was Utrillo, the notary
of the group, made a list of things which could be useful
Each of them had a task to perform according
to his personal aptitudes. Folguera, a talented photographer, was
the illustrater; Xavier Nogués, noted everything down in
every detail including the colours using a colour scale which had
been prepared beforehand. Utrillo, who was very knowledgeable about travelling,
decided which routes to take, and Raventós, a young architect,
solved problems and chose the most adequate architectural elements.
After living together for more than two years,
the group proved to have a spirit of colaboration and respect for
the opinions of others and it seems they behaved as the lemma says
'Entre tots ho farem tot' (between all of us we'll get everything done).
They produced a vast number of prints, more than a thousand, they say.
The success of the "Poble Espanyol"
was unquestionable. People gazed open-mouthed with delight. The
architects and artists were interviewed by everyone but they made
few comments on the journey, the social life they had or their experiences.
They only said, "If Spain is more well
known thanks to us then all our efforts will have been worthwhile".
(A comment made to Joan Domenech i Pol)
After this long journey, they made two more
journeys in order to finalize all the details of each town.
In the "Poble Espanyol" there are
a total of 117 reproductions of houses and buildings from all over
Spain, each with its own special peculiarity which the authors have
been able to recreate with delicate meticulousness.
They all have their own special charm and I
have shown you some of them (there are two reproductions of Ayllon),
to encourage you to visit them.