The history of Modernisme in Terrassa is connected to changes in its main industry. At the beginning of the 20th century, Terrassa was a leading wool industry town and supplied wool to the whole of Spain, as well as exporting it to the country's overseas colonies. But the town changed with the arrival of the railways in 1856, an event that definitively strengthened its commerce and industry. In 1875, the Town Hall commissioned a new urban plan from the master builder Miquel Curet and, in the following year, it decided to demolish the town's fortifications, which were still standing.
At the same time, the town overcame its own natural barriers in 1896 with the construction of a bridge over the Vallparadís stream, to the east of the town, the beginning of a process that would end by covering the Palau stream, to the west of the town. This was followed by the arrival of new architectural styles that totally altered the town's image. Old rural housing was replaced by party wall houses and new factories and sumptuous department stores were built in the town's outskirts along the road between the town's centre and the train station.
But the architect who would totally change the town's image and leave it its most important series of Catalan Modernista industrial buildings was Lluís Muncunill i Perellada, who arrived in Terrassa in 1891. Muncunill was the official town architect until 1903 and he worked with various eclectic styles, from the neo-Gothic Town Hall he designed to the eclectic Palau d'Indústries, which houses the Escola Industrial. When he left this post, he dedicated himself to private commissions and it was then that he began designing Modernista works.
Muncunill combined forms that were remotely inspired by a taste for Gaudí and a great knowledge of architectural technique, such as a mastery of materials like traditional brick and cast iron. But Lluís Muncunill's great contribution was the recovery of flat brick vaulting with metallic ties over cast iron pillars. This approach allowed for forms of great beauty not only in his industrial works, such as the Vapor Aymerich, Amat i Jover (1907-1909), but also in his housing designs, such as the Masia Freixa (1905-1910), which involved the remodelling of an old industrial building. These are the most important works of his career.
Other architects such as Melcior Vinyals, Antoni Pascual Carretero and Josep Maria Coll i Bacardí also left Modernista works in the town that are worthy of consideration.