Claudio López i Bru, second Marquis of Comillas and Güell ‘s brother-in-law, commissioned Antoni Gaudí to build the pavilion of the Companyía Transatlàntica, the main trans-oceanic shipping consortium in Spain, for the International Exposition of Barcelona of 1888. Gaudí was not asked to build a new pavilion but to adapt and reform an existing one, designed by Adolfo García Cabezas for the 1887 Naval Exposition in Cadiz. However, the architect's intervention was fairly substantial, and the resulting pavilion was virtually a new work, with many references to Nazarite art. Gaudí added four towers with battlements, poles with pennants, shutters with wooden latticework and an entrance imitating the court of the lions in the Alhambra in Granada.
Set in the maritime section of the Universal Exposition, the pavilion was not dismantled when it closed, remaining in place until well into the twentieth century, when it was demolished to build the present Passeig Marítim in Barcelona.