Puig i Cadafalch was a politician who became president of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya (the Commonwealth of Catalonia which covered the four Catalan provincial administrations) from 1917 to 1925. He was also an archaeologist and expert in Romanesque art, who was instrumental in excavating the ruins at Empúries, as well as the director of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans. And, of course, he was one of the most prolific architects and town planners in the first half of the 20th century.
He was born in the town of Mataró and became one of the key figures in shaping the Catalan nationalist movement. He was the architect behind such modernista landmarks as the Casa Amatller, the Casa Martí (Els Quatre Gats), the Casa Terrades (Casa de les Punxes) and the Casa Macaya. They all bear the imprint of someone who always drew inspiration from the traditional forms of Catalan mansions, the Gothic style and the influence of northern European trends, which used new materials such as exposed brick, tiles and wrought iron to imbue buildings with a medieval feel.
Josep Puig i Cadafalch was also a master of industrial architecture with major buildings such as the Casaramona Factory, and evolved from modernisme towards an increasingly rationalist architecture culminating in his latter monumental noucentista period. The best example of this is the layout of the Plaça Espanya as the gateway to the 1929 International Exhibition.
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