The economic prosperity that resulted from rapid urbanization during the middle to late 19th century provided the Catalonians with the awareness, resources, and wealth needed to find a cultural identity. Modernisme was the artistic and architectural response to the Industrialization of Catalonia as well as the Reiaxenca. This paper will discuss how the strong cultural identity expressed through the works and attitude of Modernista Josef Puig i Cadafalch solidified the Catalonian character during the critical days of the early 20th century. His involvement in politics, history, and architecture gave him the necessary tools to intelligently contribute to the Catalonian search for identity.
By examining this topic, I will argue that Cadafalch embraced the Modernisme style by staying true to the properties of materials, acknowledging function with aesthetics, and creating asymmetrical and dynamic forms. These works reflected the optimism of the current day and resisted the historicist tendency to look to bygone days as inspiration. Modernisme was a lifestyle that allowed Catalonians to express their societal affluence.
I will accomplish this investigation by studying both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources I will study will be the Architect’s personal drawings, sketches and writings. These works will help to gain an insight into the design process of the time. For secondary sources, I will seek out accounts of the political and cultural atmosphere in Catalonia during the early 20th century. This will allow a deeper look into how the Catalonian people experienced the Modernisme lifestyle in both practice and attitude.