Domènech i Montaner, Lluís

Domènech i Montaner, Lluís

Barcelona , 30/12/1849 - Barcelona , 27/12/1923
Main function: Provider

Link to the museum

Architect of the Café-restaurant of the Universal Exhibition of 1888, known as Castell dels Tres Dragons, home of the Museu de Zoologia de Barcelona since 1920.

Historical/biographical notes

He studied architecture in Madrid, and worked as an architect for more than 50 years. He traveled to different European countries. He took an active part in the political and cultural life of the time.

His architectural work includes: Montaner i Simón Publishing House, Grand Internacional Hotel, Refurbishment of Comillas Cemetery, Santa Florentina Castle, Refurbishment of interior of Fonda España Restaurant, Santa Creu and sant Pau Hospital, Lleó Morera House,  Domènech House, Palace of Catalan Music, Fuster House, others.

Cafè Restaurant

The Café Restaurant was a commission made by Barcelona City Council for the Exposition Universelle of 1888. Unlike the other pavilions in the exposition, which were designed for temporary use, the café-restaurant was supposed to be a permanent structure. The executive committee in charge of the exposition found it attractive, a fine example of modern architecture, as it proposed original constructional solutions and decorative finishes (reinterpreting artistic styles of the Iberian Peninsula). Due to the building’s mediaeval air, it was christened The Castle of the Three Dragons, the name of a well-known comedy written by Serafí Pitarra (Frederic Soler) a few years earlier. The design was completed in a short space of time and the building work began immediately, although as a result of several problems that arose during its construction it remained unfinished, particularly the ornamental touches. Domènech preferred to resign from the project than to hand the work over to the tenant and seeing how he made use of it. Josep Forteza, until then assistant architect, was commissioned to complete the work.


Once the building was abandoned after the Exposition Universelle closed its doors, Barcelona City Council commissioned Domènech its conversion into a history museum. The Museu d’Història de Barcelona officially opened in 1892, although the building would later house the Museu de Catalunya de Ciències Naturals, the Catalan Natural Science Museum. The extensive polychrome decoration of the wall surfaces and metallic elements would subsequently be repainted.

In 1990 the building became the zoo museum, Museu de Zoologia, a function it preserved until 2011.


Bibliographical references

Casanova, Rossend. «Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a la recerca de la ceràmica moderna». Millars: espai i història, [en línia], 2002, Vol. 25, p. 155-73, [Consulta: 2-06-2020].

Casanova, Rossend. 2009. El Castell Dels Tres Dragons. Tesi doctoral. ISBN 978-84-9850-144-5 <>


Fundació Lluís Domènech i Montaner