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    Arts Santa Mònica

    As we approach the striking building near the end of La Rambla that houses the Centre d'Art Santa Mònica, it's hard to believe that the present culture and contemporary art centre was once a convent. The venue invites us to enjoy its exhibitions as well as the building itself. An example of architecture in Barcelona, adapted to new uses.

    A convent of Barefoot Augustinians had stood at the end of Barcelona's La Rambla since 1626. The present Centre d'Art Santa Mònica is a Renaissance building that had suffered the vicissitudes of the French occupation in 1811, and, after that, it had many different uses that altered its original layout. It was used as a straw warehouse, a gendarmerie, a centre for military operations, etc. In 1984, it was refurbished and converted into an Arts and Culture Centre of Barcelona by the architects Helio Piñón and Albert Viaplana. The centre opened in 1988 and in 2003, Viaplana continued with the refurbishment project, with the opening of a new entrance on the Rambla, a new entrance to the cloister and the creation of a second gallery.

    The clever use of line of Centre d'Art de Santa Mònica perfectly combines past and present. The past of the Renaissance cloister with its round arches underpinning the first floor with its balconies. The modernity of the exterior ramp which provides a wonderful observation deck above the Rambla of Barcelona, while acting as a corridor linking the inside and outside of a building now used for contemporary art exhibitions. The Centre d'Art Santa Mònica safeguards 21st-century culture with its mission to provide a centre for the study, interpretation, production and exhibition of the art of the future in Barcelona.

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