Modernisme was a dynamic aesthetic attitude linked to the financial bonanza of the emerging middle classes and was introduced into the building industry after a set of circumstances coincided. This set of circumstances arrived slightly later in Olot than in other Catalan cities and towns, which meant that Modernista architecture in the town proliferated between 1905 and 1917, when Noucentisme was already beginning to spread, imbuing buildings with simplicity and a certain rational functionalism. Olot's urban layout at the end of the 19th century was not that different to the one it had in the 17th century. It was not until 1850 that the walls of the old town were demolished, with urban growth based around the churches of Sant Esteve and Santa Maria del Tura. Alongside an increase in population and services, thanks to the opening of the first Olot-Girona railway line in 1895, the town was also growing. This growth reached its peak in 1906, when the town architect Alfred Paluzie designed a new area that was inspired by the hygiene policies of modern cities. All this combined to provide Olot with city status in 1907. But the city's development meant that it required another urban extension plan and this was carried out in 1916 by Manuel Malagrida, the owner of the famous Paris cigar factory. Malagrida had made his fortune in Argentina, then returned to Olot and designed a residential district divided into two radial zones, each symbolising Spain and America and linked by a Columbus bridge. Catalans who had made their fortune in Spain's South American colonies were referred to locally as Indianos and this work was a veritable allegory of Indiano enterprise. During these years of growth and modernisation, certain well-to-do families wanted to build or renovate their homes in the fashionable style of the day, and they basically did this in the higher-level areas of the city. The architects commissioned to carry out these works, such as Josep Azemar i Pont, Alberto Blasco i Ochoa and Joan Roca i Pinet, were trained in Barcelona and therefore knew of the dominant trends in the city. Nonetheless, they used a "softer" Modernista style with neo-Medieval touches, which meant that their innovative work can be reduced to a few elements, such as solutions to corners, a use of iron and fashionable decoration. Three works are worth mentioning for being strongly based on what
was thought of as "new architecture" at the time: the Can Solà Morales, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and the Can Gaietà Vila, by Alfred Paluzie i Lucena. The decorative arts are excellently integrated into both these works, as is a taste for new forms. Finally, it is worth mentioning the Casa Masramon, by Rafael Masó i Valentí, where a Secessionist tendency has been simplified to a rationalism that is more in keeping with Noucentisme.