Castell dels Tres Dragons

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If you head towards Arc de Triomf and walk down Passeig de Lluís Companys, you reach Ciutadella Park. The first building you find was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and is called Castell dels Tres Dragons (Castle of the Three Dragons). It is considered one of the first examples of Catalan Modernism in Barcelona. Castell dels Tres Dragons is the name the people gave this building that was constructed in 1887-1888 as a café for the 1888 Universal Exposition by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

The building is listed in the Inventory of Architectural Heritage of Catalonia and was originally created as a café for the 1888 Universal Exposition. At that time, it was meant to be one of the main buildings for the event, along with the Palace of Fine Arts opposite, which has since been torn down. However, construction delays and a dispute with the business that had the licence for the café led Domènech to abandon the works on 12 June 1888. He was replaced by Josep Forteza, who finished the works in August, not long before the end of the exposition.

After the exposition, the building was abandoned and in 1891, Mayor Joan Coll i Pujol commissioned Domènech to ‘finish the job’, adapting the project to house a History Museum. The adaptation included different decoration and the addition of heraldic motifs. The provisional inauguration was in 1892, celebrating the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America.

In 1920, the Zoology Museum of Barcelona moved into the building: one of the four pillars of the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona. In 2010, the public collections were moved to the Blue Museum, inaugurated in March 2011, and the Castell dels Tres Dragons building became the scientific headquarters of the museum, home to the Laboratori de Natura, which features laboratories and spaces for research, study and conservation of the museum collections.

In 2015, the museum announced its intention to refurbish this emblematic heritage building for the Casa del Conte (House of Stories), a family-orientated cultural centre to promote literature for children and young adults. This facility has ties to the existing cultural and recreational offering at Ciutadella Park.