The Garriga Nogués house is home to the Museu de l’Art Prohibit. The building, declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest, is located in the centre of Barcelona’s Eixample district. It is an architectural jewel of Catalan modernisme inspiration, built at the beginning of the 20th century by architect Enric Sagnier. With five floors, the interior boasts a monumental staircase, ornately decorated rooms and original stained-glass windows that combine elements of classical and Catalan modernisme styles.
The building is a typical townhouse, characteristic of the Eixample district, which was designed by Ildefons Cerdà to expand Barcelona beyond its city walls. The ground floor was originally used as commercial premises, the first floor was occupied by the owners and the rest of the building, with a separate access staircase, was rented apartments.
On the main facade, there are four large corbels by modernisme sculptor Eusebi Arnau. They are sculpted in the form of female figures representing the stages of life, which, in the form of caryatids, support the first-floor balcony. The entrance hall is organised around four columns with pseudo-composite capitals, which support a flat ceiling decorated with grotesques. At the back and to the left, there is a staircase leading to the first floor, independent of the other floors, with a Catalan modernisme balustrade and foliage decoration. The rest of the elements in the entrance hall, covered with a stained-glass skylight, are in the classical style. The glassmaker Antoni Rigalt, who created the stained-glass ceiling of the Palau de la Música Catalana and the window on the first floor of Casa Lleó i Morera, also worked on those of Casa Garriga Nogués.
Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia (1858-1931) was one of the most successful architects among Barcelona’s bourgeoisie, despite his name not being as well-known as other modernisme architects. In addition to Casa Garriga Nogués (1901), he also built, among others, Casa Roger Vidal (1890), Casa Juncadella (1891), the Jesús-María school (1897), the Barcelona Port Customs House together with Garcia Fària (1902), Casa Arnús on Tibidabo (1903) and the Palace of Justice with Domènech i Estapà (1911). For all his works, neither the Eixample district nor the city of Barcelona can be understood without the talents of this creator who successfully and without hang-ups combined different styles in more than 300 buildings. It is no coincidence that Sagnier holds the title of architect with the most buildings in the city of Barcelona, despite his work sometimes being eclipsed by more famous figures, like Gaudí or Domènech i Montaner.
The banker Rupert Garriga-Nogués i Miranda commissioned Sagnier to build the house. He lived there with his family until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It was later occupied by the religious school Sagrados Corazones de Jesús y de María and between 1983 and 2004 it was the head office of Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana, which carried out an initial refurbishment.
This is not the first time that the ground and first floors of Casa Garriga Nogués have been converted into an exhibition space. Between 2007 and 2008, the architect Jordi Garcés i Brusés carried out renovations to transform the building into a hotel and the ground and first floors into the Fundació Francisco Godia, an institution that occupied the building from 2008 to 2015, where it exhibited its permanent collection.
After this, and until 2020, it was the space chosen by Fundación MAPFRE in Barcelona and specialised in photography. Today, this magnificent building is home to the Museu de l’Art Prohibit.