Antoni Gaudi’s Barcelona
Born in 1852, Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish architect, best known as the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism. Gaudi's architectural work was highly unique and featured one-of-a-kind designs that were, and are still, not found anywhere else in the world. Most of Gaudi's work is located in Barcelona, including arguably his most famous work, the church of the Sagrada Familia. Across most of Gaudi's work, three themes became apparent, which happened to be things he was supremely passionate about, nature, religion and architecture. A meticulous planner, Gaudi worked tirelessly on the plans for buildings he was designing but his plans were rarely hand drawn. Instead, he would create 3D scale models and mould the details on the models as he conceived them. Gaudi also tried to integrate crafts including carpentry, stained glass, wrought iron forging, and ceramics organically into his creations. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Gaudi became a part of the Modernista movement, partly after being influenced by neo-Gothic and Oriental techniques. Till date, Gaudi's architectural prowess is lauded by modern architects and the Sagrada Familia is the most visited monument in Spain. By 2005, seven of his works were inducted in the prestigious World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Other Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona
Apart from the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona is home to many masterpieces by Gaudi. Here are a few of the most popular ones:
A public park featuring gardens and architectonic elements, Park Guell is located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona. Work on the park began in 1900 and it was officially opened for the public in 1926. Park Guell was designed by Gaudi during his naturalist phase and showcased his personal style through inspiration from organic shapes. In fact, this strangely enchanting place is one of the few places in the world where the artificial seems more natural than the natural. Inside the main entrance on Carrer d'Olot is the park's Centre d'Interpretation, a curvaceous former porter's house which houses a display on Gaudi's building methods and also the history of the park. The steps from entrance is guided by a mosaic dragon and lead to the Doric Temple. This is a forest featuring 86 stone columns.
Located on Passeig de Gracia, Casa Batlló, along with La Pedrera, is one of the two iconic buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi. The exterior facade of Casa Batlló resembles skulls and bones, giving the building a strikingly unique look. The skulls portion of Casa Batllo are the balconies while the bones make up the supporting pillars underneath. For Casa Batllo, Gaudi drew inspiration from the colours and shapes of marine life. For instance, the colours used in the facade resemble those found in natural corals. Casa Batllo is another beautiful showcase of the unique artistic sensibilities and attention to detail Gaudi lent to each of his creations. Visit Casa Batllo to admire this stunningly original and one-of-a-kind building where the size of the windows varies depending on how high the window is from the top of the building.
Constructed between 1906 and 1912, Casa Mila is another gem of a building designed by Antoni Gaudi. Casa Mila was commissioned by Pere Milà and Roser Segimon and derived its name from the fact that the building was supposed to be the new home of the Mila family. Post completion of construction, the Mila family occupied the first floor of the building and put the other apartments on rent. Considered by many modern architects as one of Antoni Gaudi's most iconic work of civil architecture, Casa Mila is a must visit for anyone who wants to admire the creative genius of an artist at the height of his power. The building not only features functional and constructional innovations which were unheard of at the time but also its decorative and ornamental prowess. Casa Mila is also known as La Pedrera due to its resemblance with an open quarry, the fact that the building features forms drawn from nature. Officially, Gaudi's last work of civil architecture, Casa Mila is even more special for it represents a break from the more complex creations that he was otherwise known for.
Casa Vicens Gaudi
Opened to the public only in 2017, Casa Vicens is a UNESCO listed masterpiece created by Antoni Gaudi. Completed in 1885, this angular, turreted private home was built for Manuel Vicens i Montaner, a prolific stock and currency broker. Casa Vicens was Gaudí’s first commission, when the architect was aged just 30 and was one of the reasons he was noticed. The residential quarter features an opulently detailed facade with ceramic colours and shapes and is located away from Garcia's main drag. For Casa Vicens, Gaudi drew inspiration from the rich heritage of building in the Mudejar-style brick, which was quite common in parts of Spain reconquered from the Moors. The Mudejar style of architecture was credited to Arabs and Berbers who were allowed to remain in Spain following the Christian reconquests. There are 30 minutes guided tours available to enlighten you about Casa Vicens or you can explore tthe beautiful masterpiece at your own pace.