Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hospital Sant Pau

No, dad, I'm not IN the hospital. Everything's okay. I'm AT the hospital.

Growing up, I had my fair share of hospital visits. My parents lived in fear pretty much my entire teenage years anytime I was out on my bike, skateboarding, or just hanging "down the park".

I can remember two times I came home after falling off my bike looking a bit like something from the zombie apocalypse - once while jumping (bikes) in the park and the other while riding home on "the boulevard". Both involved trips to the local emergency room in Philadelphia to get pieces of not-me taken out and what remained sewn back together. So often, my mom, on one occasion, said to my dad it was his turn.

They used to tell people I had a wing of the hospital named for me. I'm not sure but chances are slim I'll ever have a hospital, or even just a wing named for me...but if I did, maybe it'd be nice if it were at the newly renovated Hospital Sant Pau here in Barcelona:

The Hospital Sant Pau is a series of modernist-style buildings located about three blocks or so from the Sagrada Familia. Designed by local should-be-more-famous-than-he-is architect Domenech i Montaner, construction started around 1900 when the city was in one of its boom times.

They've recently open their doors for free public tours after an extensive renovation. Diana and I rushed over to check it out especially after hearing they'll soon charge something like 15 euros ($20 U.S.) to get in!

A close-up photo to give you an idea of just how ornate these buildings are - this is just the front gate. Makes me want to get my face sewn up here!

The daily hospital's activities moved to a new nearby facility (nope, haven't been there...yet) a few years ago and they decided to renovate the now UNESCO-listed buildings. As with much of the modernist architecture in this area of Spain, such as those by Gaudi and his contemporaries, the level of detail and the variety of materials used is impressive. Check out this hallway:

The buildings have been re-purposed over the last couple of years into meeting and office space for various organizations including a part of the World Health Organization. They've done a great job renovating and adding in modern facilities without ruining the original spaces.

An example of some new offices inside one of the updated buildings:

The building below is in a cleaned-up, but-as-yet-unrestored building very similar to the one above. If you look towards the back of the room, there's a black-and-white photo that shows the hospital back in the day complete with some patients sitting on hospital beds.

A restored theater:

...and two-story hall:

Getting to visit the hospital while not having blood exiting my body was quite the pleasant experience. I think I'll try to do it again someday. I know it'd probably make my parents happy. Or relieved. Or both.

One final view of the central, straight-outta-ComptonDisney hospital courtyard:

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