Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), the architect who made the city of Barcelona better known around the world. The tour of Gaudí Architecture theme route will present his work and show how Gaudí broke with tradition to propose a new way of understanding architecture, both in terms of the application of geometry, the conception of space and constructive procedures, such as the use of materials, shapes and colors with which he endowed his works with expressiveness.
Throughout its history, Barcelona has been an open and welcoming city. Thanks to the economic push and social progress, between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th there was a dynamic process of modernization that affected town planning and all artistic expressions. The style of the time was called Modernism, coinciding with the European formulation of Art Nouveau and so deeply rooted in all spheres of society, that it quickly became one of the most representative styles. That is why Barcelona is one of the world capitals of Modernism.
Gaudí, although it coincided with the modernist age, developed a differentiated language, completely unpublished and extremely personal. Many interpretations have been made of Gaudí’s work. Some consider it to come from tradition, and others, it is avant-garde. Some describe Gaudí as a great artist, and some others as a great technician. Some define him as a transgressor and some defend his mysticism. Everyone, however, agrees that their buildings are amazing, different, and therefore difficult to classify.
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was an architect modernist Catalan has been recognized internationally as one of the geniuses more relevant to their discipline.
Gaudí moved to study architecture in the city of Barcelona, where his first works were influenced by various styles, such as neo-Gothic, Mudejar and Baroque, until the explosion of modernism., in which he managed to implement his own style, with the application of his studies on nature and the regulated forms of geometry, the use of all the applied arts for the decoration of his buildings and the recovery for ornamentation of the old mosaic transformed by him into trencadís, turned into a new technique.
His contribution to architecture is unique and is considered one of the greatest exponents of modernism. From childhood, Gaudí was an attentive observer of nature, whose shapes, colors and geometry attracted him. Despite having large buildings, of which more and more monographs are made, what has given him more fame around the world is, without doubt, the temple of the Sagrada Familia, a work still under construction whose popularity continues to grow as which rises, as well as the admiration it arouses.
Antoni Gaudí is the only architect to have 8 works declared World Heritage Sites, including the Sagrada Família, the most visited monument in Catalonia, and Casa Batlló and La Pedrera. With a great imaginative capacity, Gaudí mentally projected most of his works. In fact he rarely made detailed plans, but recreated them in three-dimensional models.
The influence of the Mudejar is evident in the first works of Gaudí; the Vicens house and the interiors of the Güell palace are completely Moorish. A little later, it surprises the already Hispanic Mudejar that is observed in the convent of the Teresianes, with linear rhythms and elements of color in the ceramics.
In his studies, he designed artisan architectural accessories, he was even in charge of its realization, thanks to the knowledge he obtained about this work in his father’s boilermaking workshop, which later, already in Barcelona, he expanded by attending the workshops of carpentry by Eudald Puntí and Llorenç Matamala, sculptor and model. Everything influenced his architecture, as he was able to give a personal stamp to the whole of his buildings; thus, they are designed by Gaudí, furniture, frames of arches and interior and exterior doors of wood or iron, grilles, bed bugs, handles, locks, etc.
Architectural synthesis must be linked to geometry and mechanics, to the laws and forms of equilibrium; Gaudí’s research from the 1880s began with the construction of Eusebi Güell’s house and the study of the forces of understanding in arches and vaults. The parabolic arches of melindro brick or board allowed him to make beamless roofs, as in Bellesguard, or the attic of La Pedrera.
He studies historical styles along with nature, accumulating ideas and effects for his creations. He regarded himself as a great admirer of Greek art and a follower of Mediterranean art, but seeking the most intimate meaning and with the spirit full of his religious sentiments; it is in Gothic architecture where he finds the most relationship with God. For many years, he sought in his projects the structural mechanism of the system of pillars and vaults; the construction of the church of Colònia Güell, the project in a combination of funnels or equilibrium curves, of structures surrounded by the calculation system, as in the famous stereostatic model of cord and sachets of pellets.
Gaudí’s architecture has some contact with the Baroque in achieving the perception of the senses with the play of geometric shapes. As in the Baroque, the complex forms are appreciated and only with the contemplation of the work its dynamics is discovered; this is captured in the temple of the Sagrada Familia, in which there is a great fusion between sculpture and architecture in the Baroque way. Antoni Gaudí has a corporal vision of his architecture; for this reason, it curves the walls to achieve greater plasticity, idealizing everything it appreciates in nature, and reaching the last structures of its work of maturity, such as the Sagrada Família, already with lines of great richness and bold fantasy, but always with non-aggressive forms.
Lighting was part of Gaudí’s research, which he carries out by means of the geometry of law fixed to the stained glass windows and with the placement of the columns among themselves; thus, when the light is filtered, it is oriented in directions of 45 ° with respect to the spectator, and the vision of the relief and the harmony in all the forms is obtained. In the vaults that cover the naves, it uses curvatures such as the hyperboloid and the hyperbolic paraboloid; this, together with the sloping columns, produces the impression of a mysteriously illuminated sanctuary.
All four types of regulated surfaces: the hyperboloid, the helicoid, the hyperbolic paraboloid and the conoid, were used by the architect in his structures in the vaults, ceilings, walls and pillars.
A particularity in the finishes for the final coating of walls or floors of Gaudí’s works was the use of trencadís, which is achieved with fragments of glazed ceramic tiles from scrap pieces from the Pujol i Bausis factory, located in Esplugues. of Llobregat, broken to form new drawings or colors; Gaudí, together with his collaborator Josep Maria Jujol, was the first to use it mainly during modernism, and managed to make it a characteristic sign of this artistic movement.
The technique was first used for the chopper at the entrance to the Güell estate on Avinguda de Pedralbes, where the sinuous architecture made it necessary to break tiles where there could not be whole ones. The bench in the large square of Parc Güell stands out with a concrete structure and covered with multiple colors with the trencadís technique.
During the adolescence of Antoni Gaudí, the manifestation of Catalanness was very frequent, among others, with hiking and the recovery of artistic heritage. Together with their high school classmates Eduard Toda and Josep Ribera, during a summer vacation, between 15 and 17 years old, they decided to do a restoration project of the monastery of Poblet, then in ruins; a drawing by Gaudí and a memoir by his colleagues are preserved. Each of them had a mission in the reconstruction: Gaudí the thickness of the work, to build walls and roofs; Toda would make the inventory of the library and Ribera would investigate the history of Poblet; they even came up with a way to get financial aid, setting up a souvenir shop where the book that would be published about the monastery, made by Ribera, could be sold. That September, the three friends separated. Eduard Toda and Güell edited Poblet. Data and notes, in 1870.
He was a member of the Associació Catalanista d’Excursions Científiques between 1879 and 1889 and collaborated with the Associació d’Excursions Catalana which merged with the previous one to form the Center Excursionista de Catalunya. Gaudí made several excursions; among these, in Granollers, where he wrote a report for the restoration of the church of Sant Esteve; his friend Eusebi Güell also belonged to this association since 1880. Another excursion with the association was made in 1883 in Banyuls de la Marenda, Perpignan and Elna, where a photograph was taken with Verdaguer and Guimerà and published in theCatalan illustration.
The symbols of the flag of the four bars appear in many of their works:
In the Palau Güell, on the central part of the ground floor between the two entrance doors, you can see the coat of arms of Catalonia commissioned by Gaudí to Joan Oñós, made of a size of two meters high, of wrought iron, with helical shapes, and to represent the colors it does in mesh of a continuous strip.
At the entrance of Bellesguard, the stone shield with the four bars with two dates: 1409, of the wedding of Martí I l’Humà with Margarida de Prades and the second date of 1909, at the end of the works of Bellesguard.
In the column of the tower of Bellesguard, the flag of Catalonia is formed with helical strips.
On the stairs of Parc Güell, the shield appears at the entrance along with the head of a snake.
In the First Mystery of Glory of the Monumental Rosary of Montserrat, there is a shield made with the trencadís technique.
Gaudí’s professional life was distinctive in that he never ceased to investigate mechanical building structures. Early on, Gaudí was inspired by oriental arts (India, Persia, Japan) through the study of the historicist architectural theoreticians, such as Walter Pater, John Ruskin and William Morris. The influence of the Oriental movement can be seen in works like the Capricho, the Güell Palace, the Güell Pavilions and the Casa Vicens. Later on, he adhered to the neo-Gothic movement that was in fashion at the time, following the ideas of the French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. This influence is reflected in the Teresian College, the Episcopal Palace in Astorga, the Casa Botines and the Bellesguard house as well as in the crypt and the apse of the Sagrada Família. Eventually, Gaudí embarked on a more personal phase, with the organic style inspired by nature in which he would build his major works.
During his time as a student, Gaudí was able to study a collection of photographs of Egyptian, Indian, Persian, Mayan, Chinese and Japanese art owned by the School of Architecture. The collection also included Moorish monuments in Spain, which left a deep mark on him and served as an inspiration in many of his works. He also studied the book Plans, elevations, sections and details of the Alhambra by Owen Jones, which he borrowed from the School’s library. He took various structural and ornamental solutions from nazarí and mudéjar art, which he used with variations and stylistic freedom in his works. Notably, Gaudí observed of Islamic art its spatial uncertainty, its concept of structures with limitless space; its feeling of sequence, fragmented with holes and partitions, which create a divide without disrupting the feeling of open space by enclosing it with barriers.
Undoubtedly the style that most influenced him was the Gothic Revival, promoted in the latter half of the 19th century by the theoretical works of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The French architect called for studying the styles of the past and adapting them in a rational manner, taking into account both structure and design. Nonetheless, for Gaudí the Gothic style was “imperfect”, because despite the effectiveness of some of its structural solutions it was an art that had yet to be “perfected”. In his own words: Gothic art is imperfect, only half resolved; it is a style created by the compasses, a formulaic industrial repetition. Its stability depends on constant propping up by the buttresses: it is a defective body held up on crutches. (…) The proof that Gothic works are of deficient plasticity is that they produce their greatest emotional effect when they are mutilated, covered in ivy and lit by the moon.
After these initial influences, Gaudí moved towards Modernisme, then in its heyday. Modernisme in its earlier stages was inspired by historic architecture. Its practitioners saw its return to the past as a response to the industrial forms imposed by the Industrial Revolution’s technological advances. The use of these older styles represented a moral regeneration that allowed the bourgeoisie to identify with values they regarded as their cultural roots. The Renaixença (rebirth), the revival of Catalan culture that began in the second half of the 19th century, brought more Gothic forms into the Catalan “national” style that aimed to combine nationalism and cosmopolitanism while at the same time integrating into the European modernizing movement.
Some essential features of Modernisme were: an anticlassical language inherited from Romanticism with a tendency to lyricism and subjectivity; the determined connection of architecture with the applied arts and artistic work that produced an overtly ornamental style; the use of new materials from which emerged a mixed constructional language, rich in contrasts, that sought a plastic effect for the whole; a strong sense of optimism and faith in progress that produced an emphatic art that reflected the atmosphere of prosperity of the time, above all of the esthetic of the bourgeoisie.
The strong religious formation that Gaudí demonstrated throughout his life began with the reception by his mother, who transmitted to him the love of nature and God “faith in the creator of these wonders.” His attendance at daily Mass is known to have been constant throughout his life.
His religiosity also includes his civil architecture, in which he used symbols such as the four-armed Gaudinian cross, which was constant in his work; thus, you can see the first time he used it as a simple vane was in the Güell palace, in the Batlló house, in one of the pavilions of the Güell park, in the Teresianes school and the Bellesguard house. His Marian devotion is evident in the many inscriptions on the temple of the Sagrada Família; those of a Marian nature can be seen on the frieze of the Angelus of the Milan house, at the top of the façade, and others are in the tiles of Valencia made specifically for the large bench of Parc Güell. On the door of Bellesguard, executed in wrought iron, there is the inscription: “Hail Mary, without sin she was conceived.”
In October 1913, during the First Congress of Christian Art in Catalonia, he was part of the committee, in which his friend Bishop Josep Torras i Bages gave the opening speech. He was a member of the Spiritual League of the Virgin of Montserrat, founded by Torras i Bages, and participated in the First Liturgical Congress of Montserrat in 1915.
In the 1878 drawing of a reliquary kept in the Museum of Reus, next to an image of the Virgin, there is an inscription of “Ave Maria” and “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus”. The use of this invocation has already been made abundantly by Gaudí in the project of the door of a cemetery (1875), it is repeated in an altar of Alella (1883), in the towers and in the crypt of the Sagrada Família, as well as in the oratory of Bocabella (1885).
On the edges within the paths of Parc Güell, there are large stone balls in a number of 150, which correspond to the denes of the rosary, as if inviting walkers to their prayer.
Thanks to his great patron Eusebi Güell, he contacted ecclesiastical groups of renovating ideas, which helped him with his religious convictions. The commission for the construction of the temple of the Sagrada Família was his great work, in which he put in addition to its architectural value all its religious concerns: Religious affairs require the use of all means in their highest degree. The temple should inspire the feeling of divinity with its infinite qualities and infinite attributes.
During the visit of Pope Benedict XV’s nuncio to the Sagrada Família in 1915, the future Cardinal Francesco Ragonesi told him that he was a poet, and the architect replied: «And who would not feel it, in the next to the church. ” Gaudí had a deep Christian religious feeling that made him dedicate himself in the final part of his life exclusively to the construction of the temple of the Sagrada Família.
Due to his great Catholic fervor, he performed a Lenten fast in 1894, taken to such an extent that he endangered his own life, and in which he had to intervene Torras i Bages to persuade him that the ‘abandoned.
He is currently in the process of being beatified by the Catholic Church. The Association for the Beatification of Antoni Gaudí requested authorization together with the request of the Archbishop of Barcelona Ricard Maria Carles to start the process for his beatification, which was authorized by the Vatican in 2000. In 2003, all the documents of the work carried out up to that year in the diocesan process in Barcelona were presented to Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, in the Vatican. In June 2003 the canonical process was opened in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. Since 2003, the diocese of Barcelona has considered him a servant of God for his Christian virtues.
In 2010, the Rev. Lluís Bonet i Armengol, rector of the parish of the Sagrada Família and vice-postulator of the cause of beatification, expressed his desire that in 2016 Gaudí go from servant of God to venerable. In the same year, Cardinal Sistach stated that 2026 is a realistic date for beatification, which would coincide with the centenary of Gaudí’s death and the possible completion of the Sagrada Família temple.
New architectural language
Gaudí is usually considered the great master of Catalan Modernism, but his works go beyond any one style or classification. They are imaginative works that find their main inspiration in geometry and nature forms. Gaudí studied organic and anarchic geometric forms of nature thoroughly, searching for a way to give expression to these forms in architecture. Some of his greatest inspirations came from visits to the mountain of Montserrat, the caves of Mallorca, the saltpetre caves in Collbató, the crag of Fra Guerau in the Prades Mountains behind Reus, the Pareis mountain in the north of Mallorca and Sant Miquel del Fai in Bigues i Riells.
This study of nature translated into his use of ruled geometrical forms such as the hyperbolic paraboloid, the hyperboloid, the helicoid and the cone, which reflect the forms Gaudí found in nature. Ruled surfaces are forms generated by a straight line known as the generatrix, as it moves over one or several lines known as directrices. Gaudí found abundant examples of them in nature, for instance in rushes, reeds and bones; he used to say that there is no better structure than the trunk of a tree or a human skeleton. These forms are at the same time functional and aesthetic, and Gaudí discovered how to adapt the language of nature to the structural forms of architecture. He used to equate the helicoid form to movement and the hyperboloid to light.
Another element widely used by Gaudí was the catenary arch. He had studied geometry thoroughly when he was young, studying numerous articles about engineering, a field that praised the virtues of the catenary curve as a mechanical element, one which at that time, however, was used only in the construction of suspension bridges. Gaudí was the first to use this element in common architecture. Catenary arches in works like the Casa Milà, the Teresian College, the crypt of the Colònia Güell and the Sagrada Família allowed Gaudí to add an element of great strength to his structures, given that the catenary distributes the weight it regularly carries evenly, being affected only by self-canceling tangential forces.
Gaudí evolved from plane to spatial geometry, to ruled geometry. These constructional forms are highly suited to the use of cheap materials such as brick. Gaudí frequently used brick laid with mortar in successive layers, as in the traditional Catalan vault, using the brick laid flat instead of on its side. This quest for new structural solutions culminated between 1910 and 1920, when he exploited his research and experience in his masterpiece, the Sagrada Família. Gaudí conceived the interior of the church as if it were a forest, with a set of tree-like columns divided into various branches to support a structure of intertwined hyperboloid vaults.
He inclined the columns so they could better resist the perpendicular pressure on their section. He also gave them a double-turn helicoidal shape (right turn and left turn), as in the branches and trunks of trees. This created a structure that is now known as fractal. Together with a modulation of the space that divides it into small, independent and self-supporting modules, it creates a structure that perfectly supports the mechanical traction forces without need for buttresses, as required by the neo-Gothic style. Gaudí thus achieved a rational, structured and perfectly logical solution, creating at the same time a new architectural style that was original, simple, practical and aesthetic.
Surpassing the Gothic
This new constructional technique allowed Gaudí to achieve his greatest architectural goal; to perfect and go beyond Gothic style. The hyperboloid vaults have their center where Gothic vaults had their keystone, and the hyperboloid allows for a hole in this space to let natural light in. In the intersection between vaults, where Gothic vaults have ribs, the hyperboloid allows for holes as well, which Gaudí employed to give the impression of a starry sky.
Gaudí complemented this organic vision of architecture with a unique spatial vision that allowed him to conceive his designs in three dimensions, unlike the flat design of traditional architecture. He used to say that he had acquired this spatial sense as a boy by looking at the drawings his father made of the boilers and stills he produced. Because of this spatial conception, Gaudí always preferred to work with casts and scale models or even improvise on-site as a work progressed. Reluctant to draw plans, only on rare occasions did he sketch his works—in fact, only when required by authorities.
Another of Gaudí’s innovations in the technical realm was the use of a scale model to calculate structures: for the church of the Colònia Güell, he built a 1:10 scale model with a height of 4 metres (13 ft) in a shed next to the building. There, he set up a model that had strings with small bags full of birdshot hanging from them. On a drawing board that was attached to the ceiling he drew the floor of the church, and he hung the strings (for the catenaries) with the birdshot (for the weight) from the supporting points of the building—columns, intersection of walls. These weights produced a catenary curve in both the arches and vaults. At that point, he took a picture that, when inverted, showed the structure for columns and arches that Gaudí was looking for. Gaudí then painted over these photographs with gouache or pastel. The outline of the church defined, he recorded every single detail of the building: architectural, stylistic and decorative.
Gaudí’s position in the history of architecture is that of a creative genius who, inspired by nature, developed a style of his own that attained technical perfection as well as aesthetic value, and bore the mark of his character. Gaudí’s structural innovations were to an extent the result of his journey through various styles, from Doric to Baroque via Gothic, his main inspiration. It could be said that these styles culminated in his work, which reinterpreted and perfected them. Gaudí passed through the historicism and eclecticism of his generation without connecting with other architectural movements of the 20th century that, with their rationalist postulates, derived from the Bauhaus school, and represented an antithetical evolution to that initiated by Gaudí, given that it later reflected the disdain and the initial lack of comprehension of the work of the modernista architect.
Among other factors that led to the initial neglect of the Catalan architect’s work was that despite having numerous assistants and helpers, Gaudí created no school of his own and never taught, nor did he leave written documents. Some of his subordinates adopted his innovations, above all Francesc Berenguer and Josep Maria Jujol; others, like Cèsar Martinell, Francesc Folguera and Josep Francesc Ràfols graduated towards Noucentisme, leaving the master’s trail.
Despite this, a degree of influence can be discerned in some architects that either formed part of the Modernista movement or departed from it and who had had no direct contact with him, such as Josep Maria Pericas (Casa Alòs, Ripoll), Bernardí Martorell (Olius cemetery) and Lluís Muncunill (Masia Freixa, Terrassa). Nonetheless, Gaudí left a deep mark on 20th-century architecture: masters like Le Corbusier declared themselves admirers, and the works of other architects like Pier Luigi Nervi, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Oscar Niemeyer, Félix Candela, Eduardo Torroja and Santiago Calatrava were inspired by Gaudí. Frei Otto used Gaudí’s forms in the construction of the Munich Olympic Stadium. In Japan, the work of Kenji Imai bears evidence of Gaudí’s influence, as can be seen in the Memorial for the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan in Nagasaki (Japanese National Architecture Award in 1962), where the use of Gaudí’s famous “trencadís” stands out.
Design and craftsmanship
During his student days, Gaudí attended craft workshops, such as those taught by Eudald Puntí, Llorenç Matamala and Joan Oñós, where he learned the basic aspects of techniques relating to architecture, including sculpture, carpentry, wrought ironwork, stained glass, ceramics, plaster modelling, etc. He also absorbed new technological developments, integrating into his technique the use of iron and reinforced concrete in construction. Gaudí took a broad view of architecture as a multifunctional design, in which every single detail in an arrangement has to be harmoniously made and well-proportioned. This knowledge allowed him to design architectural projects, including all the elements of his works, from furnishings to illumination to wrought ironwork.
Gaudí was also an innovator in the realm of craftsmanship, conceiving new technical and decorative solutions with his materials, for example his way of designing ceramic mosaics made of waste pieces (“trencadís”) in original and imaginative combinations. For the restoration of Mallorca Cathedral he invented a new technique to produce stained glass, which consisted of juxtaposing three glass panes of primary colours, and sometimes a neutral one, varying the thickness of the glass in order to graduate the light’s intensity.
This was how he personally designed many of the Sagrada Família’s sculptures. He would thoroughly study the anatomy of the figure, concentrating on gestures. For this purpose, he studied the human skeleton and sometimes used dummies made of wire to test the appropriate posture of the figure he was about to sculpt. In a second step, he photographed his models, using a mirror system that provided multiple perspectives. He then made plaster casts of the figures, both of people and animals (on one occasion he made a donkey stand up so it would not move). He modified the proportions of these casts to obtain the figure’s desired appearance, depending on its place in the church (the higher up, the bigger it would be). Eventually, he sculpted the figures in stone.
Urban spaces and landscaping
Gaudí also practiced landscaping, often in urban settings. He aimed to place his works in the most appropriate natural and architectural surroundings by studying the location of his constructions thoroughly and trying to naturally integrate them into those surroundings. For this purpose, he often used the material that was most common in the nearby environment, such as the slate of Bellesguard and the grey Bierzo granite in the Episcopal Palace, Astorga. Many of his projects were gardens, such as the Güell Park and the Can Artigas Gardens, or incorporated gardens, as in the Casa Vicens or the Güell Pavilions. Gaudí’s harmonious approach to landscaping is exemplified at the First Mystery of the Glory of the Rosary at Montserrat, where the architectural framework is nature itself—here the Montserrat rock—nature encircles the group of sculptures that adorned the path to the Holy Cave.
Equally, Gaudí stood out as interior decorator, decorating most of his buildings personally, from the furnishings to the smallest details. In each case he knew how to apply stylistic particularities, personalising the decoration according to the owner’s taste, the predominant style of the arrangement or its place in the surroundings—whether urban or natural, secular or religious. Many of his works were related to liturgical furnishing. From the design of a desk for his office at the beginning of his career to the furnishings designed for the Sobrellano Palace of Comillas, he designed all furnishing of the Vicens, Calvet, Batlló and Milà houses, of the Güell Palace and the Bellesguard Tower, and the liturgical furnishing of the Sagrada Família. It is noteworthy that Gaudí studied some ergonomy in order to adapt his furnishings to human anatomy. Many of his furnishings are exhibited at Gaudi House Museum.
Another aspect is the intelligent distribution of space, always with the aim of creating a comfortable, intimate, interior atmosphere. For this purpose, Gaudí would divide the space into sections, adapted to their specific use, by means of low walls, dropped ceilings, sliding doors and wall closets. Apart from taking care of every detail of all structural and ornamental elements, he made sure his constructions had good lighting and ventilation. For this purpose, he studied each project’s orientation with respect to the cardinal points, as well as the local climate and its place in its surroundings. At that time, there was an increasing demand for more domestic comfort, with piped water and gas and the use of electric light, all of which Gaudí expertly incorporated. For the Sagrada Família, for example, he carried out thorough studies on acoustics and illumination, in order to optimise them.
Lighting also served Gaudí for the organisation of space, which required a careful study of the gradient of light intensity to adequately adapt to each specific environment. He achieved this with different elements such as skylights, windows, shutters and blinds; a notable case is the gradation of colour used in the atrium of the Casa Batlló to achieve uniform distribution of light throughout the interior. He also tended to build south-facing houses to maximise sunlight.
World Heritage Site
The UNESCO declared 1984 and 2005 Heritage Some of the works of Antoni Gaudí: the Parc Güell, the Palau Güell, the Casa Mila, the Nativity façade and Crypt of the Sagrada Family, Casa Vicens and Casa Batlló in the city of Barcelona —along with the crypt of Colònia Güell, in Santa Coloma de Cervelló.
The declaration of World Heritage of these works by Gaudí means recognizing their exceptional universal value. This was reasoned by UNESCO:
The work of Antoni Gaudí represents an exceptional and outstanding creative contribution to the development of architecture and construction technology at the time of the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century.
Gaudí’s work shows an important exchange of values closely related to the culture and artistic currents of his time, represented in the modernism of Catalonia. It has influenced many of the forms and techniques that were relevant to the development of modern construction in the twentieth century.
Gaudí’s work represents a series of outstanding examples of the type of construction in early twentieth- century architecture, both residential and public, for the development of which he made an important and creative contribution.
Gaudí’s work in Barcelona
Gaudí’s work is normally classed as modernista, and it belongs to this movement because of its eagerness to renovate without breaking with tradition, its quest for modernity, the ornamental sense applied to works, and the multidisciplinary character of its undertakings, where craftsmanship plays a central role. To this, Gaudí adds a dose of the baroque, adopts technical advances and continues to use traditional architectural language. Together with his inspiration from nature and the original touch of his works, this amalgam gives his works their personal and unique character in the history of architecture.
Chronologically, it is difficult to establish guidelines that illustrate the evolution of Gaudí’s style faithfully. Although he moved on from his initially historicist approach to immerse himself completely in the modernista movement which arose so vigorously in the last third of the 19th century in Catalonia, before finally attaining his personal, organic style, this process did not consist of clearly defined stages with obvious boundaries: rather, at every stage there are reflections of all the earlier ones, as he gradually assimilated and surpassed them. Among the best descriptions of Gaudí’s work was made by his disciple and biographer Joan Bergós, according to plastic and structural criteria. Bergós establishes five periods in Gaudí’s productions: preliminary period, mudéjar-morisco (Moorish/mudéjar art), emulated Gothic, naturalist and expressionist, and organic synthesis.
The Casa Vicens is a building modernist and first project important to the architect Antoni Gaudí started to build in 1883. Located in the street Carolinas, number 20-26, in the district of Gràcia of the city of Barcelona. It is a work declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. House stately gardens of complex volumes, Gaudí combines the stone, the brick and seen a wide range of tiles in Valencia in colors different, where the influence of Orientalism rooted in Islam is clear.
The wrought iron fences are directly inspired by nature and, in particular, by the palm tree (a palm tree typical of the western Mediterranean). Railings and grilles are also wrought iron and prelude modernist decorative motifs. The marquetry of the lattices of the garden, the garden itself, ranging from interior finishing solutions Arabising, of a Mediterranean or closeness to nature. In the interior, the main decorative element is carved and polychrome wood, which together with the furniture and produces a set of a fantastic character.
In 1883, Gaudí was commissioned by Manuel Vicens i Montaner to build a summer residence. In February 1883, Manuel Vicens applied to the Vila de Gràcia City Council for permission to build a summer house at Carrer Sant Gervasi 26 (currently Carrer Carolines 20-26). A month earlier he had applied for permission to demolish the house he had inherited from his mother, Rosa Montaner, given its poor state of preservation. Although Mr. Manuel Vicens is still a fairly unknown character, his will mentions his profession: stockbroker and exchange, which would disprove his alleged link with ceramics and would be reinforced by the inventory of 1885 of the Pujol i Bausis pottery factory that is preserved in the Municipal Archive of Esplugues de Llobregat, where Mr. Manuel Vicens i Montaner, from Gràcia, is documented as a debtor of 1,440 pesetas.
The Casa Vicens was designed by Antoni Gaudí in 1878 and built between 1883 and 1885 as a summer house in Gràcia is Gaudí’s first attempt to find a new style and escape from architectural historicism and eclecticism. prevailing. At Casa Vicens, Gaudí anticipates in a purely intuitive way a whole series of formal and constructive categories that will help prepare for the emergence of modernism. It is structured on four levels, corresponding to a basement for the cellar, two floors for the house and an attic for the service. Gaudí attached the building to the middle of a neighboring convent, thus obtaining a large and spacious garden. For the other side of the garden, he designed a monumental fountain of exposed brick, formed by a parabolic arch above which was a passage between columns. The water was stored in two tanks placed on top of each end pillar of the fountain. In 1946 it was demolished for the sale of this part of the land.
Gaudí is in his first period, in which he uses an architectural language of great constructive simplicity, with a predominance of the straight line over the curve. He wants to break with the influence of historicism and recognizes the Mudejar heritage by taking advantage of the business activity of the owners and using ceramics intensely. It was inspired by plant elements of the site to design some of the most significant pieces of decoration, such as a palm leaf for the wrought iron grille or a carnation to decorate the ceramics of the facade. We are at the turn of an era that was imminently preluding modernism. It is time that Domenech i Montaner for the editorial Montaner i Simon, with total and massive use of brick, and the castle of the three Dragons (Restaurant of the Exhibition of 1888), with iron and glass structure, and the tile wall with naturalistic ornamentation of ceramics.
This house had a spring of mineral water, much loved by the neighborhood because of the healing powers people gave it. The neighborhood knew her by “water from the Santa Rita fountain.” This house has similar characteristics and dates quite coincident with the ” Capricho de Comillas ” (Santander), also the work of Gaudí.
In 1925, the architect Joan Baptista Serra carried out an extension of the building in the image of what Gaudí had done, significantly reducing its garden. For these works, he won the prize of the Annual Competition for Artistic Buildings in 1927, awarded by Barcelona City Council. On March 27, 2014 MoraBanc bought the Vicens house and finally opened its doors as a house-museum on November 16, 2017.
The Güell Pavilions are a number of buildings on the neighborhood of Pedralbes, in Barcelona, designed by the architect modernist Catalan Antoni Gaudí, built between 1884 and 1887. Gaudí was commissioned by his great patron, Count Eusebi Güell. He had known Gaudí’s work at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878, when he began a long friendship and a large number of commissions such as the Palau Güell, the Güell Pavilions in Pedralbes, Parc Güell and the Crypt of the Colònia Güell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló.
Güell had an estate in Les Corts de Sarrià, a union of two plots of land known as Can Feliu and Can Cuyàs de la Riera. The architect Joan Martorell i Montells, one of Gaudí’s masters, had built a small palace with a Caribbean air, almost where the Royal Palace of Pedralbes is now. The house was known as Torre Satalia, the name given to it by Monsignor Cinto Verdaguer, a friend of the family. Gaudí was commissioned to renovate the house and build a fence wall and goalposts.
Gaudí made an oriental air project, which is sometimes reminiscent of Mudejar art. He made the masonry wall with several doors, highlighting the main one with a dragon- shaped iron grate, with crystal eyes; this figure would represent Ladó, the guardian dragon of the Garden of the Hesperides, defeated by Hercules in his eleventh work – episode narrated by Jacint Verdaguer in his poem L’Atlàntida, dedicated to Antonio López y López, first Marquis of Comillas, who was the father-in-law of Eusebi Güell, where we can perceive the possible origin of the figure of entrance to the pavilions-. Above the dragon is an orange tree made of antimony, also alluding to the Hesperides. The shape of the dragon corresponds to the position of the stars in the constellation of the Serpent, which Ladó was turned into as punishment for stealing the oranges.
The other three access doors to the estate lost functionality with the opening of Avinguda Diagonal: one of them is still in front of the cemetery of Les Corts, although its iron grate was moved to the Casa Museu Gaudí from Parc Güell; another was restored in 1982 by the University of Barcelona and is currently located between the faculties of Earth Sciences and Biology; and the third was demolished when the Faculty of Pharmacy was built, but rebuilt in 1957 next to this building.
The pavilions consist of stables, stables and goalposts: the stables have a rectangular base, covered with a catenary- shaped partitioned vault; the chopper is square in base, with a dome of hyperboloidal profile, topped by a temple; the gate consists of three small buildings, the central one with a polygonal floor plan and a hyperbolic dome, and two smaller ones with a cubic floor plan. All three are topped by fans in the shape of chimneys, covered with ceramics. The work is made of brickseen in various shades between red and yellow, and covered with colored crystal; in certain sections he also used prefabricated blocks of cement.
Gaudí was also partially responsible for the design of the estate’s gardens, building two fountains and a pergola, and planting various types of Mediterranean plants (pines, eucalyptus, palm trees, cypresses and magnolias). The Fountain of Hercules still remains next to the Royal Palace of Pedralbes, restored in 1983; it contains a bust of the Greek mythological hero, on a pile with the coat of arms of Catalonia and a cannon in the shape of a Chinese dragon. In 1969 the Güell Pavilions were declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument. The Pavilions are currently home to the Royal Gaudí Chair, belonging to the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and the Botanical Garden of the Faculty of Biology is located on its grounds.
Expirator temple of the Sagrada Familia
The Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família, commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a Catholic basilica located in the city of Barcelona. It is one of the best known examples of Catalan modernism and a unique building in the world, which has become a symbol of the city. Unfinished work of the Architect Catalan Antoni Gaudí, is the neighborhood of the Sagrada Familia, in the district of the Eixample district of the city. The Sagrada Família is a testament to Gaudí’s artistic fullness: he worked there for most of his professional career; but especially in recent years, when it reached the culmination of its naturalistic style, with a synthesis of all the solutions and styles tested so far. Gaudí achieved a perfect harmony in the interrelation between the structural and the ornamental elements, in such a way that all the arts were integrated in a structured and logical set.
From 1915, Gaudí dedicated himself almost exclusively to the Sagrada Família, a work that means the synthesis of all its architectural evolution, as he applied all his findings previously experienced to the crypt of the Colònia Güell.. After the creation of the crypt and the apse, still in neo – Gothic style, Gaudí conceived the rest of the temple in an organic style, with imitation of the forms of nature, where regulated geometric shapes abound. The interior looks like a forest, with a set of sloping, helically shaped tree columns, which creates a structure that is both simple and durable. During the life of Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), only the crypt, the apse and, partially, the façade of the Nativity were completed, of which only the tower of Sant Bernabé was completed.
In this temple, the architect conceived a meticulous symbolism within a mystical poem with great formal constructive audacity, as in his way of conceiving the structure with the parabolic arch – also called funicular of forces -, combining the treatment naturalistic sculpture with the abstraction of the towers. It is the most visited monument in Spain, ahead of the Alhambra or the Prado Museum, with 3.7 million visitors in 2015. The work by Gaudí – that is, the crypt, the apse and the façade of the Nativity— was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.
The concept of an expiatory temple means that its construction is carried out on the basis of donations, which has meant that sometimes the works have had to be stopped. However, since the 1990s, the influx of visitors and the great world renown have changed the economic situation and the works have taken a strong push, until the Covid-19 pandemic. The Sagrada Familia was declared a minor basilica, by Pope Benedict XVI on November 7 of 2010. Although it is not a cathedral, several sources have called it the Cathedral of Europe, due to the universal character that Gaudí wanted to give it.
The Palau Güell is a building designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí, the greatest representative of Catalan modernism, between 1886 and 1890. The palace is located at Carrer Nou de la Rambla no. 3-5 of Barcelona, in the Raval district. The Barcelona businessman and patron Eusebi Güell commissioned his friend Gaudí to build his family residence, which was also to be a meeting point for the bourgeoisie at the time. It is the first major work that Eusebi Güell entrusted to Gaudí and stands out for how the architect conceived space and light. This work belongs to the Orientalist period of Gaudí (1883-1888), a period in which the architect made a series of works inspired by the art of the Near and Far East (India, Persia, Japan), as well as the l ‘ Islamic art Hispanic mainly art Moorish and Moorish. Gaudí employed profusely decorated in tile pottery, as well as parabolic arches, ledges of brick seen and shots in a bandstand or dome.
The building is structured in several functionally differentiated floors, with an entrance in the shape of a catenary arch of impressive dimensions and a distribution of the rooms around the central hall, the main axis and backbone of the building. There are twenty chimneys on the roof that, far from being treated as simple chimneys, Gaudí conceived of them as sculptures. With this, he began a way of designing the chimneys that he would develop in his later works, until he achieved spectacular results at Casa Milà.
Gaudí had for its construction the collaboration of the architect of his workshop Francesc Berenguer, the master blacksmith Joan Oñós, the cabinetmaking of Antoni Oliva and Eudald Puntí, the decoration, stained glass and furniture of Francesc Vidal and Jevellí and the painting of Aleix Clapés i Puig. The Palace was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its outstanding universal value in 1984.
The Palau Güell stands on a plot of almost rectangular floor, 18 x 22 meters, with an annex building in the southwest, 6 x 20 m. The structure is based on the walls of the facades, of natural stone, as well as on the partition walls, of brick, in addition to pillars of brick in the basement and of stone in the other floors. The dividing wall on the east side was originally a exposed façade, until it was plastered and painted with a fresco by Aleix Clapés depicting Hercules looking for the Hesperides, inspired by the poem L’Atlàntida by Jacint Verdaguer, now gone. The building consists of a total of seven floors between basement for stables, ground floor with entrance hall, porter, garage and various service areas, mezzanine for the administrative area, noble floor for the social area, second floor for the private area (bedrooms, bathrooms), third with the service area, kitchen and laundry, and roof terrace.
The basic characteristic of the building is the richness of spaces, with fluid routes and an independence in the distribution of each plant that produce an appearance of a built volume quite big for the limited surface of the lot. The general design follows the lines of his creations of that time, marked by the oriental style applied to the design of his works. This palace culminates a period of predominance of Arab, Byzantine or Mudejar- inspired forms, with works such as the Casa Vicens, the Güell Pavilions and El Capricho de Comillas (Cantabria). Gaudí applies a transitional style with Gothic compositional elements with solutions reminiscent of certain Venetian palaces.
Gaudí carefully designed both the exterior and the interior of the palace, with a sumptuous Mudejar-style decoration, where the ceilings with wooden and iron coffering stand out. Gaudí also studied efficiently all the technical and structural solutions of the building, taking care in the greatest detail aspects such as lighting, ventilation or acoustic insulation of the exterior. Analyzed from a strictly constructive aspect, the Palau Güell represents one of the most complex points of Gaudí’s production, where many of the geometric and constructive resources that the architect will use in the future come together. As if Gaudí had wanted to experiment, completely new elements are found trying out more suitable construction procedures for each case.
The delicate modeling of the transition surfaces between the parabolic arches and the marble columns of the main room clearly anticipates the plastic treatment of some of his later works such as the Milan house and, in particular, the work with crooked surfaces of the vaults of the Colònia Güell and the Sagrada Família. The type of treatment and formal generation of the domes and chimneys on the roof of the palace have, at the same time, a clear antecedent in the Vicens house and the Güell estate, but it will be projected even more strongly in the Milà and Batlló houses, reaching their maximum plastic expression in the shapes of Parc Güell.
College of the Teresians
The College of the Teresians is a school on Carrer de Ganduxer in the old town of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, and currently in the Tres Torres district of the Sarrià – Sant Gervasi district of Barcelona.. The school teaches all courses of regulated education from the second cycle of early childhood education to high school. It used to be a girls-only school, but by the end of the 20th century it was mixed. It has a concert with the Generalitat de Catalunya to teach compulsory education. It is a work declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. The Teresian school is an elongated rectangular building with a longitudinal axis of communication, formed by parabolic arches, and four stories high (ground floor and three floors), made mainly of stone and exposed brick.
At the corners of the façade, there are brick pinnacles with a helical column culminating in the four-armed cross, typical of Gaudí’s works, and with ceramic shields with various defining symbols of the Teresian order: the crowned Mount Carmel. by the cross, the heart of the Virgin crowned with thorns and that of St. Teresa pierced by an arrow. Almost all the openings have a shape close to the parabolic arch. On the ground floor they form a gallery of arches in a row. On the first and second floors, the arches are inscribed in a rectangle. On the top floor, a succession of arches (alternating real openings with blind arches) form a large frieze that crowns the whole, which is superimposed by the roof railing that is combined with a kind of triangular-shaped battlements and pinnacles with crosses of four arms at the corners.
On one of the long sides is a small porch close to the square, which rises two more floors forming viewpoints, enclosed by brick latticework with small colored ceramic circles. The entrance door of this porch, formed by a parabolic arch, has a wrought iron grate, which is in line with the dragon door of the Güell pavilions, although its design is simpler.
The coat of arms of the order appears in several places. In contrast, there are virtually no ornamental elements, but constructive solutions. Inside, there is a corridor that is famous for the succession of parabolic arches it contains. These elegant line arches are not merely decorative, but have the function of supporting the ceiling and the upper floor. Gaudí used the parabolic arch as an ideal constructive element, able to support high weights by means of thin profiles. The Teresian building thus becomes one of Gaudí’s most coherent works, in which the interior and exterior form a unit.
Gaudí built the building for the convent and school of the Teresians with a small budget, which together with the austerity of the religious order determined that the work did not have too many apparent pretensions; in this way, the simplicity of the internal structures is reflected on the outside, which is not decorated with any kind of polychromy. The commission was from Enric d’Ossó to house a school and convent of the Congregation of Teresian nuns (Company of St. Teresa of Jesus), which he himself had founded. It was conceived to replace the building that until then the nuns had lived in c / Sant Elies, 4, of the then independent municipality of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles. The house was occupied in 1886 and functioned as a boarding school, novitiate and provincial headquarters for rent. The insufficiency of the premises was soon seen and the current land was bought, then easily accessible to be near the railway from Sarrià to Barcelona, then an independent municipality and far from Barcelona.
Construction began in 1887 under the direction of the architect Joan Baptista Pons i Trabal, but in 1888 Ossó commissioned the project from Gaudí, who had already acquired a great reputation as an architect and as a devout person, which is why which Ossó opted for. The works lasted from 1888 to 1889.
Of the initial project of Pons and Trabal only the foundations had been carried out. Gaudí fulfilled the will of the order to reflect austerity in the building, in fulfillment of the vow of poverty; following the instructions of the nuns, he designed a sober building, made of brick on the outside, and with some brick elements on the inside. Using the argument that brick was not expensive, and that there was not much difference in costs in placing the pieces in one way or another, he was creating decorative elements where possible, both on the outside and inside. the interior. He also incorporated wrought iron grilles, one of his favorite materials, into the façade, and crowned it with a set of battlements that suggest a castle, a possible allusion to the. In 1908, Gaudí designed a chapel that could not be built due to disagreements with the superior of the convent; the current one, in neo- Gothic style, is the work of Gabriel Borrell i Cardona.
The Casa Calvet is a building designed by Antoni Gaudi, one of the most representative architects of the Catalan modernism. It is located at 48 Carrer de Casp, in the Eixample of Barcelona, and dates from 1899. The building was made for the family of Pere Màrtir Calvet i Carbonell, a textile manufacturer from Sant Genís de Vilassar married to Juliana Pintó i Roldós and was used both for the business, for which the ground floor and the basement were used., as for housing, located on the upper floors. Pere Màrtir Calvet died in Barcelona on February 21, 1894 at the age of 51 and his wife and children Eduard, Pere and Elisa Calvet i Pintó carry out the project. It is listed as a Cultural Asset of National Interest. Casa Calvet is considered the most conservative work of the architect. According to experts, the explanation lies in the fact that, on the one hand, Gaudí had to fit the building among other pre-existing ones and, on the other hand, it had to be taken into account that it would be located in an elegant neighborhood.
Indeed, the symmetry, balance and order that characterize the Casa Calvet are not common in Gaudí’s work. However, you can see modernist elements, such as the two curvilinear pediments at the end of the façade, the balcony with a glass gallery and slabs that protrude above the entrance or the shape of the other balconies. The columns that flank the entrance are reminiscent of spools of thread, and constitute an allusion to the textile business of the Calvet family. As a curious element we must also highlight, at the top of the facade, the busts of the three patron saints of Vilassar de Dalt, where the Calvets were: Sant Pere Màrtir (in honor of the owner’s father), Sant Genís d’Arle, the notary, and St. Genius of Rome the actor. It was the first building awarded by the City Council in the Annual Artistic Building Competition (1899). The forging works are the work of Josep Perpinyà.
Door and fence of the Finca Miralles
The door and fence of the Miralles estate is a work by Antoni Gaudí declared a cultural asset of national interest. It is the only one left of the house of Hermenegild Miralles. It is a work of Barcelona declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. The portal and fence of Can Miralles, a minor work by Gaudí, is a wall with a wavy profile, with a wider base and narrowing at the top. Crowning this wall, there is a continuous element along the entire wall which accentuates the meandering shape of the whole. Topping the wall is a wire mesh grille with spikes at the top. It is centered by the main door and its arching is also irregular. Next to the main door, there is a smaller one, which retains the original iron grate.
These doors are covered by a roof, as a marquee, gable. The tiles are made of fiber cement, although they were originally made of stone cardboard and were made by Hermenegild Miralles in one of her factories. This roof is tensioned with braided metal elements and crowned by a four-bladed Gaudinian cross with a sinuous wrought iron profile. This roof is a reproduction of the original, removed in 1965 and rebuilt in a restoration in 1977-1978. On the main door is a life-size bronze sculpture by Gaudí, made in 1999 by the sculptor Joaquim Camps, the year in which the last restoration was carried out. Currently, the preserved section of wall is in good condition, although it was originally 36 meters long.
The fence and the entrance door of Can Miralles, located on the promenade opened by the Count of Güell to reach the Dragon Gate of the Pedralbes estate, was built by Gaudí at the beginning of the century. It was commissioned by Hermenegild Miralles with the aim of creating a fence that would surround her entire estate. Saved from demolition, the fence was restored in 1977-78, with the restoration of the canopy that protects the access, which had disappeared, and the removal of the grille of the large portal, which was not the original.
The Park Güell is a large garden with elements architecture located in the upper part of Barcelona, on the slopes of the Carmel hill overlooking the sea, not far from Tibidabo. It was designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí, the greatest exponent of Catalan modernism, built between 1900 and 1914 and inaugurated as a public park in 1926. It has an area of 17.18 hectares (0.1718 km²), which makes it one of the largest architectural works in southern Europe.. In 1984 UNESCO declared the Park Güell a World Heritage Site. The design of the park clearly shows the hand of an architect, and Gaudí’s peculiar style is evident in any element, no matter how small. There are undulating shapes, similar to lava rivers, and walkways covered with columns that are shaped like trees or stalactites. Many of the surfaces are covered with trencadís, pieces of ceramic or glass in the form of colored mosaics. Due to its location in the middle of the city and at a high altitude, this park is a haven of peace that contrasts with the noise and frenzy of the Catalan capital.
Antoni Gaudí had the English garden cities in mind, and he insisted on achieving a perfect integration of his works into nature. Proof of this are the columns made of stones of very variable sizes and shapes, which suggest tree trunks, stalactites and natural caves. Right angles appear nowhere: the columns are sloping like palm trees. The central point of the park is made up of an immense square, the edge of which serves as a bench and undulates like a snake one hundred and fifty meters long. This bench is also covered with trencadís made of small pieces of ceramics and glass and is the work of Josep Maria Jujol, a collaborator of Gaudí.
The square is partially supported by the Hall of the Hundred Columns, composed of eighty-six columns resembling giant stalagmites in a cave. On the ceiling, between the columns are circular decorations where the columns that were initially planned were not built (they had to be a hundred). The staircase at the main entrance to the park reaches this place, with steps arranged symmetrically around the sculpture of a salamander that has become the emblem of the garden. Represents the alchemical salamander, which symbolizes the element fire.
At the main entrance to the park stand two buildings of pure Gaudí style, with smooth curved ceilings, strange appendages and geometric motifs. What is on the right is the Casa del Guarda, conceived and designed by Gaudí as a home for the goalkeeper of Park Güell. The forging works are the work of Badia, brothers. The Casa del Guarda is one of the few examples of a modest house built by Gaudí. It was built between 1901 and 1903 in response to the principles of utility and interior simplicity, without sacrificing, however, a great formal and visual richness. Over time, the house has had different uses and has undergone various restorations to accommodate the current museum project of the Museum of History of Barcelona (MUHBA). The exhibition “Güell, Gaudí and Barcelona. Expression of an urban ideal ”that explains the Casa del Guarda, the Park Güell and the Barcelona of the times of modernism from three axes: the house, the park and the city.
The Casa Batllo is a building designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, the highest representative of Catalan modernism, between 1904 and 1907 is situated at number 43 of the Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona, the wide avenue that crosses the modernist district in the Eixample. It was commissioned by Josep Batlló i Casanovas, a textile businessman linked to the Godó family by marriage. Its best-known part is the façade, considered one of the architect’s most creative and original works; combines stone, wrought iron,broken glass and polychrome ceramics.
Gaudí had for its construction the collaboration of the architects Josep Maria Jujol and Joan Rubió i Bellver for the realization of the facade, with the craftsmen of the forge the Germans Badia, the carpenters Casas and Bardés, the ceramist Sebastià Ribó and Josep Pelegrí (stained glass maker).
Beyond the different interpretations of specific areas or details of this work, Casa Batlló, within the naturalistic line of the author, is inspired by the marine environment. The variety of its colors and species make up the thesis with a prominent dominance of the blue of the sea and the ocher of the rocks, a blue that appears linked to the ceramic decoration, the facade, the lobby or the inner courtyards. According to historian Juan José Lahuerta, “the interior of the house becomes a gathering place for the man who faces the crowds of the city and fights in a competitive world, a kind of underwater cave where to gather, where to find an intimate space, as shown in the work of Jules Verne(very popular at the time and died in 1905 coinciding with the construction of the building), the hero, the modern and conquering man has two realities: an exterior, cosmic, without limits and an intimate where he collects in the cave, in the mother’s womb of the earth; nature, reason, and history converge in this work. ”
The building as a whole is inspired by a marine environment, a submarine enigma. The author’s naturalistic view explains this thesis with a prominent mastery of the blue of the sea and the ocher of the rocks. A blue that appears linked to the ceramic decoration, which begins with soft blue tones in the lobby that connect, internally, with the changing courtyards of intensity and, externally, with the sea of the façade. The main staircase is located in an underwater cave that leads to a noble floor that is configured as the great underwater refuge, as a fish tank from which we are observed or observed, as a submarine that allows us to isolate and protect us. An interior in which the rounded shapes of doors and windows evoke the interior floodgates of a ship and where the carvings of the oak doors present a sample of sea snakes,
The naturalistic connection of the building with a living being leads Gaudí to use similes depending on the mechanical work carried out. On long supports it uses shapes reminiscent of the humerus or femur; the bases and capitals of the pillars are reminiscent of vertebrae; the balustrades of the balconies on the first floor are phalanges and the convex, turgid grilles, made of iron handrails that protect the oculi from the iron balconies are reminiscent of ribs. In the absence of direct documentation from Gaudí, the meaning of the shapes and colors of the façade has had several interpretations, all of them quite plausible. The resemblance of the balconies of the balconies with party masks invites you to see confetti slips in the polychromy of the facade. The undulating polychrome tapestry with a predominance of green and blue colors undoubtedly has an aquatic symbolism, ranging from the lagoon of money- inspired water lilies to the transparent waters of the Costa Brava.
Lluís Permanyer’s interpretation points to a less profane and more epic vision than the previous ones, and places the symbolism around Saint George’s fight against the dragon, representative of evil, whose spine forms the upper profile of the façade. main building. The tower would be the spear that is nailed to the dragon, the building; a spear crowned by a cross that symbolizes the banner of St. George and with the initials of the Sagrada Familia inscribed, an unequivocal symbol of the triumph of religiosity and good. The blue scales of the dragon’s back turn red – stained with blood – on the left side of the tower. In this interpretation the balconies are fragments of skulls and the pillars of the main floor windows are the bones of the dragon victims.
The set of windows on the main floor outlines the image of a bat with open wings. It is an animal linked to medieval Catalan symbolism popularized by King James the Conqueror who, according to legend based on the Book of Facts, reminded him of a bat that prevented a defeat of the Crown of Aragon on the brink of Burriana and allowed the conquest of Valencia.
However, the most likely origin of this animal as a symbol lies in the vibrio of the Royal Summit of Peter the Ceremonious. The vibria was a dragon that used to crown the coats of arms of some important Mediterranean cities, such as Palma, Valencia and Barcelona. From the seventeenth century onwards, the image of the viburnum began to transform, identifying itself with a bat whose shape it eventually took on. This progressive transformation in heraldry was fully imposed during the nineteenth century, cornering the vibria almost completely. At that time, with the impetus of the Renaissance, the image of the bat was widely disseminated by the modernist movement, appearing on the covers of periodicals such as Lo Gay Saber and Revista de Catalunya. On the coat of arms of Barcelona the bat appeared at the beginning of the 19th century and remained until well into the 20th century. Thus, the bat as an evolution of the winged dragon is hagiographically related to the figure of St. George.
On the main floor many forms transport you to a fantastic world, as if inspired by myths or adventure books and expeditions so fashionable in the late nineteenth century. Some of the animals depicted or the interior shapes of the noble floor appear to be taken from Alphonse de Neuville’s illustrations in the 1870 edition of Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The “dragon’s eye” formed by the small triangular window is inspired by the Roca Foradada on the mountain of Montserrat. Gaudí, apart from his religious feeling, knew well the mountain where he made the First Mystery of Glory of the Monumental Rosary of Montserrat. The shape of the ceiling of the dining room of the noble floor has the shape of a splash with the drops it generates from which the expansive waves of creation are generated.
Casa Batlló is a vanitas on display in the most luxurious promenade in Barcelona and remembering, through the overflowing luxury of the bourgeoisie, the transience of all things and their death. On the other hand, death is the beginning of transformation, of eternal metamorphosis like the mobile perpetuum represented by the whirlpool where time devours matter and matter always returns through chaos. Spiral shapes such as nebulae associated with the generation of the universe, its creation. The most prominent form is on the ceiling of the living room of the noble floor, but it can also be seen on some tympanums of interior doors.
The main staircase is clearly the spine of a prehistoric animal inside its cave. From the joints of the bone-shaped columns on the outside of the gallery of the noble floor, fleshy plants sprout. Gaudí alludes to the constant regeneration of creation. Gaudí designed for the Batlló house the panot Gaudí, a hydraulic pavement made by Escofet, of hexagonal pieces of blue color and marine motifs that had to be on the floor of the Batlló bedroom to finish creating a marine atmosphere, but in the end it was not used. An alga of the genus Sargassum, an ammonite and an echinoderm are represented. Although he paid for it in Batlló, Gaudí recovered it and placed it in the Milà house. Over time, the Gaudíha panot became a sign of identity and is the pavement of the sidewalks of Passeig de Gràcia. It had been designed in gray wax by Joan Bertran, under the supervision of Gaudí who “retouched with his own fingers”, in the words of the builder Josep Bayó.
The Casa Mila, also known as “La Pedrera” building is a modernist located in Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona, in the corner of the street Provence. It was the last civil work designed by Antoni Gaudí and was built between 1906 and 1912.
It was commissioned by the businessman Pere Milà i Camps and his wife Roser Segimon i Artells, a native of Reus and widow of the wealthy Indian Josep Guardiola i Grau. At the time it was highly controversial due to the bold wavy shapes of the stone façade and the twisted wrought iron that decorate its balconies and windows, designed largely by Josep Maria Jujol, who also designed some of the plaster skies.
Architecturally, it is considered an innovative work as it has a structure of columns and floors free of load-bearing walls. In the same way, the façade – entirely made of stone – is self-supporting, in other words, it must not support loads from the plants. Another innovative element was the construction of the underground garage.
The year 1984 was declared Cultural Heritage by UNESCO for its outstanding universal value. Since 2013 it has been the headquarters of the Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera, which manages the various exhibitions and activities that take place there and visits to the building.
The building has 1,323 m² built per floor on a plot of 1,620 m². Gaudí began the first sketches in his workshop in the Sagrada Família, where he conceived the house as a constant curve, both outside and inside, incorporating multiple solutions of regulated geometry, as well as elements of a naturalistic nature..
Casa Milà is the result of two buildings that are structured around two courtyards that illuminate the nine levels: basement, ground floor, mezzanine, the main floor (or noble), four upper floors and an attic. The basement was intended for a garage, the main floor was the residence of the Milanese lords, a flat of 1,323 m², and the rest was distributed in 20 homes for rent. The resulting plant has an asymmetrical “8” shape due to the different shape and size of the courtyards. The attic, which housed the laundries and drying racks, forms an insulating space of the building and at the same time determines the different levels of the roof.
One of the most outstanding parts is the roof, crowned with bells or stair exits, fans and chimneys. All these elements, built with flat brick covered with lime, broken marble or glass, have a specific architectural function and yet become true sculptures integrated into the building.
Casa Milà is a unique organism, where the outer form has a continuity inside. Of the floors it is necessary to emphasize the plaster ceilings with reliefs of great dynamism, the work of the wood of the doors, the windows and the furniture (unfortunately, today disappeared), as well as the design of the hydraulic pavement and different ornamental elements.
The stairs were intended for the service, as access to the houses was by lift except on the main floor, where Gaudí added a staircase of particular configuration.
Schools of the Sagrada Familia
The schools of the Sagrada Família is a building built in 1909 by the Catalan modernist architect Antoni Gaudí, located in the grounds of the expiatory temple of the Sagrada Família.
It was commissioned by the Association of Devotees of St. Joseph, chaired by Josep Maria Bocabella, promoter of the temple of the Sagrada Família. Gaudí built on the land destined for the façade of the Gloria, which was expected to be free for quite some time to come; it was a small building intended for school for the children of the workers who worked in the Sagrada Família. The teaching was in charge of Gaudí’s teacher and friend, Magin Espina Pujol, the photo is in the current school. The building has a rectangular floor plan of 10 × 20 meters, and consisted of three classrooms, a lobby and a chapel, with toilets in a body added to the building. The construction was made of brick, in three superimposed layers, following the traditional Catalan technique. Both the walls and the ceiling have a wavy shape, which gives the structure a feeling of lightness but at the same time a great resistance. Outside, he defined three areas for classrooms in theiron.
The schools suffered severe damage during the Spanish Civil War, which is why the building was dismantled into blocks and later rebuilt. Domènec Sugrañes i Gras was in charge of the restoration in 1940 with limited funds, which is why it suffered a collapse and a new intervention was needed in 1943, by Francesc de Paula Quintana i Vidal. In 2002, the school building was moved to the outside of the temple, on the corner of Sardenya and Mallorca streets.
The schools of the Sagrada Família have been an example of constructive genius and have served as a source of inspiration for many architects, for their simplicity, resistance, originality of volume, functionality and geometric purity. Its wavy shapes have been applied by architects such as Le Corbusier, Pier Luigi Nervi, Félix Candela and Santiago Calatrava.