Today’s guest post is by Philip Marcel and he writes about the Spanish Catalan architect and best-known representative of Catalan Modernism, Antoni Gaudi.
Antoni Gaudi was one of the most important modernist style architects worldwide. Many of his most extraordinary works are to be found in Barcelona. On my last trip to Barcelona, I found I could loose myself for hours, days even, in the brilliant architecture and design of Gaudi and not even feel hunger nor fatigue. I found an apartment in Barcelona close to Gaudi’s Park Guell and Sagrada Familia and wasted no time learning about this amazing man and his work.
Born in 1852 in Reus (Camp de Tarragona) and son of a copper maker from Riudoms, from childhood Gaudi was an attentive observer of nature and felt attracted to its forms, colours and geometry. In 1868, he decided to study architecture in Barcelona, in a college dominated by neo-classical and romantic trends. Thus, his first architectural production swung between a reinterpretation of historical canons with oriental influence and the recovery of medieval events.
My favourite works of Gaudi in Barcelona include:
Sagrada Familia photo credit Janex & Alba
(1883-1926) This great cathedral, inspired by gothic style and a landmark of modern architecture, is in reality not much more than a facade. Gaudi died before he could finish his biggest and most beloved project, with galleries that should have roomed 1500 singers, 700 children and 5 organs.
Though construction of Sagrada Familia had commenced in 1882, when Gaudi took over the project in 1883 he transformed it with his architectural and engineering style—combining Gothic and curvilinear, Modernista forms with ambitious structural columns and arches. Gaudi devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Familia’s construction progressed slowly as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War—only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s.
Parc Güell (photo credit bordas)
(1900-1914) The extraordinary craftsmanship and unusual use of materials and plants throughout the park catch and delight the eye, making Parc Guell one of the great parks of the world. It is also a place which offers opportunities to engage in different activities, including strolling, people-watching and having a coffee in one of the many cafes. A fascinating scenario of gardens and odd dimensional architectural forms show off Gaudi’s unusual sense of equilibrium, that always works, somehow.
Finca Güell (photo credit santiMB)
(1884-1887) Through a narrow portal the visitor enters a fantastic world of forms and colors, which the architect created for his friend and sponsor, industrialist Eusebi Guell.
The portal of Finca Miralles (photo credit xn44)
Finca Miralles, or Miralles Estate, was a large piece of property owned by Gaudi’s friend Hermenegild Miralles Angles. Gaudi surrounded the estate with just a small section of wall made with ceramic, tile, and lime mortar. Originally, the wall was topped with a metallic grill. Only the front entrance and a portion of the wall remain today.
Bellesguard (photo credit SOL-druidabruxux)
(1900-1909) This medieval time structure is a Landmark of Catalonia. This gothic building, formerly summer-residence of king Martin I, was designed and built by Gaudí between 1900 and 1909 in the Sarri