The construction of a building

In the 13th and 14th centuries, Barcelona was sufficiently important as an economic and commercial centre to have an exchange building where merchants could meet and conduct economic transactions. These were carried out in porches and exchanges, which were buildings in which foreign merchants had their accommodation, storerooms and shops. In 1339, at the merchants’ proposal, King Peter III the Ceremonious authorised the building of the Llotja on lands in the Ribera district.

However, in spite of the monarch’s firm support, the project would take time to become reality, the process being interrupted for long periods. The Llotja finally began to take shape in 1352, but the works were halted five years later, in 1357, possibly due to the war with Castile. In 1382, Peter III gave a new boost to the project he had initiated forty years earlier, ordering the removal of the scaffolds that had been installed on the site halfway through the building of the Llotja. Finally, work was resumed a year later and, according to a number of documents, finished on July 5th, 1392. But in reality the construction of the Llotja was not complete, and work continued for several more years. The original building, the rectangular-plan body formed by the present-day Contracting and Consular Halls, was not concluded until the early 15th century.

Little is known about the authors of the construction. Some scholars have believed that Pere Llobet, the creator of the Hall of One Hundred in the Barcelona City Hall, was the first architect of the Llotja, while some documents mention Pere Arvei and Pere Sabadia as directors of the works in different periods, although they cannot be attributed the responsibility for the project with any certainty.