During the last years of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the modernist movement arose throughout Europe, affecting almost all artistic disciplines. In Spain and especially in Catalonia, modernism will have great importance as a reflection of a bourgeois society enriched by successful textile factories, but also as a differentiating element that was enhanced by the well-known Renaixença. In this sense, the decorative forms of the modernist style were joined by multiple Catalanist references that allow this aesthetic to be differentiated by the enhancement of regional elements.
Many architects and artists of the time had their maximum diffusion at this stage and although it is true that perhaps the best known of all of them is Antonio Gaudí, many other names shone in the architectural panorama of the time, although on some occasions were eclipsed by the genius of Reus. Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867 – 1956) was one of those great modernist architects and the author of the work that we analyze here and that is known as Casa de les Punxes despite the fact that its real name is La Casa Terrades.
Puig i Cadafalch is considered by experts to be the last great architect of modernism in Catalonia and the first representative of the new Noucentisme aesthetic. A disciple of another of the greats, Lluìs Domenech i Montaner studied architecture in Barcelona andlater he was appointed professor at the School of Architecture. On Diagonal Avenue we find the family residence of the Terrades family, an important family in the textile industry.
During the expansion of Barcelona, the three daughters of the Terrades family had inherited three adjoining plots of land and commissioned the modernist architect to build a multi-family urban mansion. Puig's design for the plot was unrelated to the well-known checkerboard pattern that Cerdá had proposed for the expansion of the city and with which the architect was openly against.
The Casa de les Punxes is a true reflection of the social status of the Terrades family, it shows the high social status of the family and promotes Catalanist elements traditional. The exterior façade is made of exposed brick and in it the artist has captured the influences of the neo-Gothic style inspired by the works of northern Europe, with high conical towers that end in pointed roofs – hence its nickname as Casa de los Pinchos- and overlapping windows on the main façade that recall the Germanic Romanesque churches.
Highlights are the plant decoration of the building with a realistic atmosphere and the ceramic ceiling lights that represent regional scenes such as San Jordi. In 1979 the Terrades family home was declared a National Monument.