Here some controversial buildings in Barcelona that have given locals and travelers plenty to talk about.

Architecture has something to do with Barcelona’s worldwide popularity. A walk through Passeig de Gràcia, Las Ramblas or Vila Olímpica (Olympic Village) proves it: bourgeois houses, modernism here and there, art nouveau, futuristic skyscrapers… However, there is a list of controversial buildings in Barcelona that still provoke more than one headache. Here they are.

Botero Cat

A feline with morbid obesity in the middle of Rambla del Raval is something worth mentioning. The poor animal spent sixteen years looking for a place to stay. They got tired of him in Ciutadella park, Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium and Blanquerna Square. Since 2003 he rests in the most animated area of ​​El Raval (Barcelona’ s East End). However, the large amount of people touching his whiskers and testicle have made this cat losing his color and shine.

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Botero Cat in El Raval.

Agbar Tower

Its real name is Torre Glories in reference to the square crowned by this skyscraper. Nevertheless, it is known as Torre Agbar (Agbar Tower) for having hosted the headquarters of Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar) for years. It was inaugurated in 2005 and although its designers insisted on its water drop shape, the hottest minds saw something else.

Critics not only arise because of its “suppository” shape. The interior structure was not practical enough for Agbar offices, so they left. Several luxury hotel chains were interested in the building but the projects were not approved. It was not until this year when Facebook announced they were moving their fake news offices to the tower.

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La Torre Glòries a Barcelona.


Els Mistos

Built in 1982, these giant matches have become a symbol of the district of Horta-Guinardó. Neighbors a are divided between loving the sculpture or complaining about how ugly it is. Judge by yourself.

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Els Mistos.


Sagrada Familia

Why is Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece in the list of controversial buildings in Barcelona? To begin with, if everything goes according to plan and the works end in 2026, it will have been built in 144 years. However, this is not an anomaly: Barcelona Cathedral was built between the 11th and 19th centuries. What is more, Sagrada Familia lacks the reglementary building license since 1882. Nor could it be said that it is an exclusive design of Gaudí.

It is true that the architect worked on this great work for thirty years. He ended up begging when he ran out of funds. However, the anarchists burned the office he kept the original drafts during the Spanish Civil War. And Gaudi had died ten years ago. After this, Sagrada Familia’s design in an approximation to what the architect imagined. One of the closest ideas of how the original appearance of the temple can be found at Gaudi’s crypt in Colonia Güell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.


Forum of Cultures

First edition of Universal Forum of Cultures was organized in Barcelona in 2004. It was a three months macro event seaking the defense of peace, sustainable development and the promotion of cultural diversity. Endorsed by UNESCO, for 141 days the Catalan capital hosted Festival del Mar, conferences and congresses. Mayor Pasqual Maragall is still remembered dancing samba with Carlinhos Brown.

The Forum was controversial, since the organization cost 3.240 million euros, had a strong environmental impact, tickets were pricey and there were suspicions of speculative interests. Today, it is the venue for music festivals such as Primavera Sound or Cruïlla or sporting events such as Imagin Extreme Barcelona.

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Forum of Cultures in  Barcelona.


Mare Nostrum Tower

It was inaugurated in Vila Olímpica in 2006 after the death of the architect who designed it, Enric Miralles. It is the headquarters of Gas Natural and if you’re wondering about its shape, it is a hammer. A year after the inauguration the company had to evacuate the property because 150 workers developed an abnormality in the skin. Although measures were taken, doctors and experts in architecture describe it as a sick building.

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Torre Mare Nostrum, Barcelona.


Bac de Roda Bridge

We cannot talk about controversial buildings in Barcelona without mentioning Comic Sans of Spanish architecture: Santiago Calatrava. Precisely this bridge, built on the occasion of the 1992 Olympic Games, was the one that gave it worldwide fame.

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Bac de Roda Bridge, Barcelona.