The Hospital was founded in 1401, for the merger of six hospitals that in those days existed in Barcelona. The hospital was placed in the neighbourhood of Raval (nowadays the building is the headquarters of The Library of Catalonia) but the urban development of the city during the 18th century surrounded it.
The construction of a new building at the beginning of the 20th century that could be financed by means of a banker’s donations (Pau Gil) with the purpose of building a hospital that could be manage by the town hall of Barcelona or any other similar institution. Its construction began in 1902 throughout 18 years and, to honour the patron (Pau Gil), the hospital was officially called Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.
The set of buildings is projected by the architect Lluís Domènech I Montaner, one of the principal representatives of the Catalan modernism. With the principal building and its numerous pavilions, Sant Pau's Hospital is the biggest modernist set of Europe. It was finished in the year 1930.
The set was projected to occupy approximately 9 apples of the District of the Eixample. It consists of a principal building dedicated to the administration, and of 27 pavilions where medical tasks are carried out. All the buildings are joined by underground suitable galleries for the movement of the patients whereas all the technical facilities are outdoors to facilitate their maintenance.
The architect Domènech had several artists who collaborated with him in the project. The principal ones were Paul Gargallo and Eusebi Arnau, who made the numerous sculptures of the set; Francesc Labarta, who designed the paintings and mosaics; and Josep Perpinyà, who created the elements built with wrought iron.
As the time goes by, the need of extension is an up-today issue due to the huge number of patients, the technological advances of the medicine and the increasing educational activity, since the hospital has nowadays university status.
An important characteristic is that the hospital was thought to differentiate the patients between regarding their gender. In the right side, the pavilions have names of Saints while in the left side the pavilions have names of holy or virgins.
One more curiosity is the worry of the architect to reflect the harmony and the symmetry. The pavilions that are near the principal entry are the smallest and they grow as we enter in the hospital.