The city that Gaudí built

Perhaps never before has one man shaped an identity of a whole city. That is the certainly the case with Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona.

Senor Gaudí
Senor Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí was a Spanish Catalan architect from Reus and the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works reflect an individualized and distinctive style. Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. Gaudí considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. He also introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as trencadís which used waste ceramic pieces.

Casa Mila
Casa Mila
The famous rooftop of Casa Mila
The famous rooftop of Casa Mila

Casa Mila is a modernist building in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was the last civil work designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. It was commissioned in 1906 and at the time, it was controversial because of the undulating stone façade and twisting wrought iron balconies and windows designed by Josep Maria Jujol. Architecturally it is considered structurally innovative, with a self-supporting stone front and columns, and floors free of load bearing walls. Also innovative is the underground garage. In 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The fairytale façade of Casa Batllo
The fairytale façade of Casa Batllo

Casa Batlló is a renowned building located in the centre of Barcelona and is one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces. A remodel of a previously built house, it was redesigned in 1904 by Gaudí and has been refurbished several times since. The local name for the building is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), as it has a visceral, skeletal organic quality.Like everything Gaudí designed, Casa Batlló is only identifiable as Art Nouveau in the broadest sense. The ground floor, in particular, has unusual tracery, irregular oval windows and flowing sculpted stone work. There are few straight lines, and much of the façade of Casa Batlló is decorated with a colourful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles. The roof is arched and was likened to the back of a dragon or dinosaur.

parkguell20

Park Güell is not just a resplendent green park. It also contains amazing stone structures, stunning tiling, and fascinating buildings. There is a Gaudí-inspired dragon fountain that is at the entrance to Güell park. This dragon is adorned in beautiful coloured tiling and there is something rather hypnotic and magical about it. At the top of Güell park is a terraced area where you get a wonderful view of the park and of Barcelona City. Here you will find multi-coloured tiled mosaic seats as shown in this picture. The vibrant colours of the tiles are truly breath-taking.

sagradafamilia10

La Sagrada Familia is as-yet unfinished
La Sagrada Familia is as-yet unfinished

While the small houses and public parks that Antoni Gaudí built were indeed special, there remains one amazing piece of architecture that I consider to be the pinnacle of Barcelona’s buildings, and that is La Sagrada Familia, which is an unfinished cathedral. They say the cathedral will be completed in the next decade or two, and if this is correct then I will make a special return to Barcelona to see it in all its glory!

Here is some more information on some of Gaudi’s best designs in Barcelona. I wish I could have seen everything in that list, but time constraints meant I had to stick to the major sights.

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6 thoughts on “The city that Gaudí built

    1. As far as Europe goes, yeah I would agree with you: Barcelona is indeed one of the best cities. There’s so much to do and so much to see – and Gaudi had a huge influence in the design of the city.

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