Walking from Passeig de Gracia to the Sagrada Familia you will find the stunning Casa Terrades, more commonly known as the Casa de les Punxes (loosely translated from Catalan as the house of needles). One glance and you’ll see why.
It occupies an entire (triangular) block in the Eixample Dreta area of Barcelona and while not exactly a hidden gem, is a delightful surprise for determined tourists and students of architecture alike.
It is a working building, with a bank, a upmarket specialist bookstore, a kitchen design centre on the ground floor, and offices and residencial apartments above. In early 2012 it is underwent some maintenance and was covered up but it is no back in its full glory.
The building is private and cannot be visited, but the portero (concierge) is usually friendly and if asked nicely I imagine would let you in to see the foyer.
Before continuing on to the Sagrada Familia there is a great coffee shop next door. La Danesa (the Danish woman) is right on the corner of the intersection of Avenguda Diagonal, Carrer de Rosellon, and happily just a fews step back from la casa de les Punxes. They do snacks and light lunches and it’s all prepared there in the kitchen. The staff are friendly and obliging and speak English. Highly recommended.
The outside terrace of La Danesa is beautifully located but can be noisy from the traffic of Diagonal wizzing past just inches away, or inside is a gorgeous mid-morning suntrap. I recommend the chocolate-chip cookies.