As I mentioned in the Barcelona post, this post will feature the works of Antoni Gaudí i Cornet—the famous Spanish Catalan architect best known for his Modernist style.
Antoni Gaudí’s (1852-1926) architectural wonders lure many visitors to the city of Barcelona. A large number of his most famous works are scattered throughout. His signature style, almost devoid of straight lines, is so unique it’s mesmerizing. He gained much of his inspiration from nature, which is clearly visible in his work.
Here’s a taste of some of Gaudí’s best…
Casa Batlló (commonly known as “House of the Dragon”)
This building, originally designed for a middle-class family, is one of Gaudí’s more colorful works. It was built in 1877 and remodeled from 1904 to 1906. Its blue, green and purple tiled facade and sculpted, curved balconies that look like masks, make this structure stand out from those around it. The arched roof resembles the scales of a dragon, as Gaudí based this work on the legend of Saint George and the dragon.
La Pedrera (meaning “the quarry”)
La Pedrera was built between 1905 to 1910 as an apartment and office building. Commissioned by the Milà family, it was formally known as Casa Milà. Its grey, stone facade virtually ripples down the street and its rooftop is a fanciful forest of giant chimneys. The attic houses a small museum where models of Gaudí’s work help explain the methodology of his genius.
[La Pedrera photo above by Jordiferrer. Available under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license and GNU Free Documentation License.]
(Kevin and I somehow forgot to take a photo of the exterior. Shocking, I know.)
When Park Güell originated in 1900 it was to become a residential housing development, but the project eventually flopped. Over the years, the site converted into a public park or, as some might say, a grand museum of Gaudí’s colorful and imaginative ways.
The tale of Hansel and Gretel seems to be the inspiration behind this design. The gate house to the right of the entrance is made of gingerbread, I think.
The “Hall of a Hundred Columns” was originally designed as a market space for the “never-to-be” residential development.
Long tube arcade. Just fascinating.
And finally, Gaudí’s most famous work, his unfinished masterpiece…
La Sagrada Família (The Holy Family Church)
Gaudí became the main architect in 1883, one year after construction began, and worked on the church until his death in 1926. He spent the latter part of his professional career carrying out this ambitious plan. When the church is complete, in some 25-30 years, (yes, I typed that correctly) it will be a grand achievement. La Sagrada Família is solely funded by private donations, so you are assisting the ongoing construction by paying the entrance fee (which is probably why it is taking so long).
When finished, the church will have the capacity for 13,000 people. It will include 18 towers dedicated to the 12 apostles, the 4 evangelists, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ (8 are now built) and will also have three facades: the Nativity Facade, the Passion Facade and the Glory Facade (Resurrection). Of the three, the Glory Facade is the only one that has yet to be finished. On the 7th of November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated La Sagrada Família, so it is now a holy place of worship.
Here is a prime example of Gaudí’s use of nature, as these columns look like trees.
Gaudí used real people and animals as models for the majority of his sculptures.
Whether you like Gaudí’s style of architecture or not, his work is something to see. There is no doubt that Gaudí was a genius in his field. Even after all these years, his designs still inspire awe. It was a great Gaudí day.