A Historic Apartment in Barcelona & The Humble Spanish Mission Houses of St Heliers

It makes me sad to see us loose places of architectural interest in New Zealand, whether these be 100 year old buildings or the distinct Spanish Mission buildings of the 1920's and 30's. Last year several landmark buildings in St Heliers were knocked down to make way for a modern apartment block with retail outlets. Among the buildings were three weather-board villas and some Spanish, Mission style houses. The Spanish style architecture was distinct, yellow, pink, and cream stucco exteriors in typical Spanish style. There was a huge amount of controversy over the sale of these buildings but sadly the developer won, they were all demolished, and we lost yet another little piece of New Zealand's history. Ok, so they were not grandiose buildings, nevertheless they were still architecture of the past and with their distinct concrete fascias, terracotta roofs and gentle curves, compared with some of the characterless buildings of today...well, there is no comparison! 

Discovering this stunning apartment in Barcelona, reminded me of the sacrifices that are made for concrete and steel. I don't know what Spain's policies are for such buildings, however I would think that this exquisite building which has stood for more than a century will still be standing in another centuries time. 

This wonderful piece of historic architecture has been completely renovated and although the building may not be the single, grand home it was originally, it has been sympathetically divided into apartments and given a new lease of life. Soaring, ornate ceilings and original herringbone, hardwood floors have been restored. Ornate plasterwork and beautiful curved windows depict the typical architecture of its period. When I look at these images, I see past the interior designers finishing touches. The arches, curves and stunning plasterwork speak for themselves, empty this building of every little item of furniture and you would still be in awe.

Today there is no excuse for destroying architecture of the past. There are always ways to improve and restore buildings whether grandiose such as the one above or the simple, humble Spanish homes of St Heliers. The St Heliers homes may not have had great beauty, but there exteriors were far more attractive than the characterless boxes of the 50's and 60's. It is important to make people aware that regardless of their age, buildings can be restored to their original beauty.

Above: The Spanish homes of St Heliers

Image sources for Barcelona Apartment
Image sources for St Heliers Homes

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