Círculo Ecuestre / Casa Pérez Samanillo | Barcelona Bus Turístic

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Círculo Ecuestre / Casa Pérez Samanillo

Modernisme with neo-Gothic influences

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At the junction of Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer de Balmes there is a house with a very special history and a very special window. It is Casa Pérez Samanillo, a detached house built by Joan Josep Hervàs i Arizmendi, a Catalan who had previously served as Manila’s municipal architect.

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What can you see at Casa Pérez Samanillo?

Casa Pérez Samanillo is a detached house inspired by the neo-Gothic style, which in 1911 won the Barcelona City Council award for the best building of the year. Joan Josep Hervàs i Arizmendi, a Catalan architect who had worked as the municipal architect of the Philippine capital, was commissioned to build the house by Luis Pérez Samanillo, a Manila-born entrepreneur.

It is an atypical example of a detached house, given that it follows the line of the chamfer and features unique Modernista elements, such as the large oval dining room window over Avinguda Diagonal, which is popularly known as ‘La Peixera’ (fishbowl). It is also surprising that rather than being on the chamfer its door is located on a side street, where it previously gave onto a garden. In 1948, when the Círculo Ecuestre chose it as its headquarters, the house was refurbished by Raimon Duran i Reynals, who built an additional structure onto it with a ground floor and terrace. Years later, the land where the garden had been was sold to build an apartment building, which meant that the carriage entrance and the original door were lost.


How do you get to Casa Pérez Samanillo?

Hop off at the Passeig de Gràcia – La Pedrera stop on the Blue Route or the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic and you can get to Casa Pérez Samanillo by walking up Avinguda Diagonal to the corner with Carrer de Balmes.


For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? Casa Pérez Samanillo is the headquarters of the Círculo Ecuestre, a private club founded in 1856 for the city’s leading lights in economics, politics and business. Women were not allowed entry until 1982.
  • Local’s tip: The building can only be visited on the open days organised by the Círculo Ecuestre, but you can often see part of its sumptuous interior through its large fishbowl window.