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.
Güell Park is a reflection of Gaudí’s artistic fullness: it belongs to his naturalistic stage (first decade of the 20th century), a period in which the architect perfected his personal style, through inspiration in the organic forms of nature, to which put into practice a whole series of new structural solutions originated in his deep analysis of ruled geometry. To this the Catalan artist adds great creative freedom and an imaginative ornamental creation: starting from a certain baroque style, his works acquire great structural richness, of shapes and volumes devoid of rationalist rigidity or any premiseclassical. In Park Güell Gaudí displayed all his architectural genius and put into practice many of his innovative structural solutions that would be emblematic of his organicist style and culminate in the Sagrada Familia.
The park was conceived by Güell and Gaudí as a structured complex where, within an incomparable setting of natural beauty, high-standing homes would be located, with all the technological advances of the time to provide maximum comfort and with high-quality finishes. artistic quality. Likewise, they devised a set impregnated with a strong symbolism, since they tried to synthesize in the common elements of the park many of the ideals, both political and religious, shared by the patron and architect: thus, concepts from political Catalanism are perceptible in the set – above all on the access staircase, where the Catalan Countries – and the Catholic religion are represented—In the monument to Calvary, originally designed as a chapel. The mythological element is also important: apparently, Güell and Gaudí were inspired by the temple of Apollo at Delphi for their conception of the park.
On the other hand, numerous experts have wanted to see in the park a series of references of varied sign, due to the complex iconography applied by Gaudí to the whole urban project, references that range from political claim to religious exaltation, passing through mythology, history or philosophy. Specifically, many scholars pretend to see references to Freemasonry, a fact unlikely due to the deep religious beliefs of both Gaudí and Count Güell and, in any case, not proven by any objective evidence in all historiographyof the modernist architect. The multiplicity of symbols developed in Park Güell is, as has been said, political and religious, in any case with a certain mysterious character due to the taste of the time for enigmas and riddles.
The park has an area of 17.18 hectares. It is a Devonian terrain, formed by layers of slate and limestone. Gaudí always tried to achieve a perfect integration of his works in nature and this park is a perfect example of this. In its design the natural and architectural elements are optimally agglutinated, without right angles, everything is resolved with wavy shapes.
When Gaudí took over the project, the area was deforested – as its name “Pelada Mountain” indicated -, so he ordered the planting of new vegetation, for which he chose autochthonous Mediterranean species, those that best adapted to the terrain: pine, carob, holm oak, oak, cork oak, eucalyptus, palm, cypress, olive, fig, almond, plum, mimosa, mastic, ivy, maquia,Kermes oak, broom, rockrose, rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage, bay leaf, etc.
Gaudí conceived the park with a religious as well as organic and urbanistic sense, since he took advantage of the 60- meter unevenness that the mountain has – whose height ranges from 150 to 210 m – to project a path of spiritual elevation, which would lead to a chapel at its top – which was not finally built – in the place that currently occupies the monument to Calvary (or Hill of Three Crosses).
The park is divided between the monumental area – the one designed by Gaudí – and a forest area on the north slope of Mount Carmelo, which has as its most prominent element the source of San Salvador de Horta: of remote origin, it is a natural mine of water, located in a place of plane trees, oaks, ash trees and strawberry trees. On the wall of the fountain there is a ceramic panel with the image of Saint Salvador de Horta kneeling in front of the Virgin and Child. The environment was remodeled in 1984 by Joaquim Casamor.
Other corners of the park are the Joan Sales viewpoint – dedicated to this writer -, from where there is an excellent perspective of Barcelona, and the Moragas square, where there is a children’s and picnic area and a stele dedicated to the pedagogue Jeroni de Moragas, work by Rafael Solanic from 1969. Near this square, next to the entrance to Avenida del Coll del Portell, are the remains of the castle d’en Frey, a stately mansion built in 1928 by the architect Xavier Turull and demolished in 1963, of which only the wall, a door and a capital remain.
Among the plant species, after Gaudí’s intervention, the most planted have been pythosporous and magnolia trees. Other species present in the park are: acanthus, oleander, fireweed, basil, trefoil, privet, hackberry, aloe, Arauja, tree of love, arrancamoños, Creeping pigweed, Brasera, bell, castanet, barley, centranto,cerraja, cerrillo, prickly pear, morning glory night, durillo, asparagus meadowlark, hawthorn, firethorn, euphorbia, heliotrope, ivy Cape, fennel, jazminorro, Camomile, mallow, maritime cress, millet negrillo, palm, downy panizo, pine carrasco, plumbago, pita,tipuana, tomatillo del diablo, smelly clover, tuya, viborera and sarsaparilla.
The fauna of the park, the birds stand out, of which there are about sixty species registered. Some of them live there all year round (pigeon, blackbird, sparrow, goldfinch, heron, robin, finch, starling, chickadee, swift, verdigris), while others settle temporarily, especially in warm seasons (swallow, hoopoe). The department of Parks and gardens of Barcelonaencourages the presence of birds with the placement of nest boxes, feeders and drinking troughs.
The park has shops, bars and services, as well as children’s areas, a dog area, petanque and skating courts, and picnic areas.
Design and style
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 park owes its name to Eusebi Güell, a wealthy businessman who is a member of an influential bourgeois family in Barcelona. A versatile man of great culture, he was a writer, painter, linguist, chemist and biologist. As a businessman, he owned companies such as El Vapor Vell or Cementera Asland, and had interests in other companies such as Tabacos de Filipinas, Banco Hispano Colonial or the Compañía de los Caminos de Hierro del Norte de España. Likewise, he was active in Catalanism and was a deputy in the Cortes in 1878. In 1910 he was appointed count by King Alfonso XIII. A close friend and patron of Gaudí, he commissioned him to do many of the works made by the modernist architect, without interfering with his artistic decisions. For Count Guell, Gaudi, plus Park Guell, built the palace Guell, the Guell cellars, the Güell pavilions and the crypt of the Colonia Güell.
Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to plan an urbanization for well-to-do families on a large estate he had acquired in the area popularly known as the Peeled Mountain. Its location was unbeatable, in a healthy environment and with splendid views over the sea and the Pla de Barcelona. In the urbanization, about 60 plots were planned in a triangular shape, with a complex network of paths, viaducts and stairs that saved the topography of the land. Construction conditions were very restrictive, as only one-sixth of the plot could be built, and the height and location of the dwellings could not obstruct the sea view or deprive the neighbors of the sun.
Gaudí respected the existing vegetation on the old estate, such as carob trees and olive trees. As for the introduction of new species, he opted for Mediterranean plants of low aquifer demand. He also devised various systems for capturing and storing water from the irrigation systems he had learned in the rural environment of his childhood. In this way, both the vegetation and the management of water resources helped to prevent soil erosion as a result of heavy Mediterranean rains, while helping to cover the water needs of the inhabitants of the urbanization.
Modernism in Barcelona
When the construction of Park Güell began in 1900, Barcelona was a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis that based its economy on the power of its industry and with more than half a million inhabitants. Its walls had been demolished almost half a century ago and the new city, the Eixample designed by the engineer Ildefons Cerdà, had grown dramatically since 1860.
The Universal Exposition of 1888 showed in Europe and, in the rest of the world, the power of Barcelona and promoted the search for new artistic languages and urban representations. This is the reason for the success of modernism, present in the heart of the Eixample, and the work of the architect Antoni Gaudí.
Güell’s commission to Gaudí
The relationship between the industrialist and politician Eusebi Güell and the architect Antoni Gaudí began in 1878 when Güell saw a display case that Gaudí had designed for the glove merchant Esteve Comella, at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. From that moment, he commissioned the Catalan architect to build his new home (the Palau Güell), the furniture of the pantheon chapel of the Palau de Sobrellano, a wine cellar, a church (the Colònia Güell) and, finally, in 1900, Gaudí was commissioned to design Park Güell.
Güell understood, more than any of his contemporaries, the meaning of Gaudí’s architecture. The relationship they maintained was not simply that of an artist and a patron but a true story of friendship. For many years the Güell family lived in the manor house in the Park (now a school), while Gaudí lived in one of the two houses built there.
In the life of the businessman, the park was already considered one of the great tourist attractions of the city of Barcelona. The large square was often given over to Catalanist events, sardana gatherings and other civic events.
The reason for the name Park Güell
The project was based on the construction of an urbanization for well-to-do families on a large estate he had acquired in the area popularly known as the Bare Mountain. The situation was unbeatable, in a quiet environment, with splendid views over the sea and the Pla de Barcelona. About 60 triangular plots were planned, with a complex network of paths, viaducts and stairs that saved the topography of the land. Güell’s idea was to recreate selective British condominiums and for this reason he named it Park Güell in English.
The stages of construction
In October 1900 the land began to be leveled and the works went at a good pace. On January 4, 1903, an article published in the Yearbook of the Association of Architects found that the two pavilions of the entrance, the main staircase, the outer fence, the shelter, the viaducts and a part of the great esplanade. In 1907 the first events were held in the main square and the ceramic bench that surrounds it was completed in 1914.
The first to buy a plot of land in the Park was a friend of Güell’s, the lawyer Martí Trias i Domènech, who commissioned the architect Juli Batllevell to build his villa in 1902. In the same year, Josep Pardo i Casanovas, contractor of the work, built a show house in order to boost sales. Four years later, Gaudí bought it and decided to move in with his father and niece.
From private urbanization to public park
The lack of adequate transport, the complex conditions of the sale of the plots (through old emphyteutic contracts) and the exclusive character of the urbanization made it unfeasible. In the absence of buyers, the works were abandoned in 1914. Only two of the 60 planned houses had been built. In this way, the park became a large private garden that Güell gave away for public events, while it began to appear in tourist guides in Barcelona as one of the most visited places in the city.
Eusebi Güell died in his house in Park Güell in 1918 and his heirs offered the park to Barcelona City Council, which agreed to buy it at the municipal plenary held on 26 May 1922. Four years later, it was opened as a municipal park and the house of the Güell family became a public school (Baldiri Reixac School) and the area to the left of the entrance was used. to an ornamental garden for the Town Hall. The association of Friends of Gaudí bought Gaudí’s house and turned it, in 1963, into a house-museum in memory of the architect. Park Güell became a public space much appreciated by Barcelona residents and a focus of tourist attraction.
In 1969 Güell Park was named a National Historic-Artistic Monument and, in 1984, UNESCO included it within the World Heritage Site “Works of Antoni Gaudí”. Between 1987 and 1994 the park was restored by Elías Torres and José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, with the collaboration of Joan Bassegoda. There is still a pending project to adapt the north face of the mountain – which was not part of Gaudí’s project – especially the forest area, where the San Salvador de Horta spring is located.
A parallel project to that of Park Güell and an excellent example of a garden designed by Gaudí are the Can Artigas gardens, in La Pobla de Lillet (1905-1907), commissioned by the textile industrialist Joan Artigas i Alart. Operators who had worked in Park Güell participated in this work, who carried out a project similar to that of the famous Barcelona park, so that the stylistic and structural similarities are evident between both works. As in Güell Park, Gaudí designed gardens that are fully integrated into nature, with a set of constructions with organic lines that are perfectly integrated with the natural environment.
Park Güell is the reflection of Gaudí’s artistic plenitude, which belongs to his naturalist phase (first decade of the 20th century). During this period, the architect perfected his personal style through inspiration from organic shapes. He put into practice a series of new structural solutions rooted in the analysis of geometry. To that, the Catalan artist adds creative liberty and an imaginative, ornamental creation. Starting from a sort of baroquism, his works acquire a structural richness of forms and volumes, free of the rational rigidity or any sort of classic premises. In the design of Park Güell, Gaudí unleashed all his architectonic genius and put to practice much of his innovative structural solutions that would become the symbol of his organic style and that would culminate in the creation of the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family.
Güell and Gaudí conceived this park, situated within a natural park. They imagined an organized grouping of high-quality homes, decked out with all the latest technological advancements to ensure maximum comfort, finished off with an artistic touch. They also envisioned a community strongly influenced by symbolism, since, in the common elements of the park, they were trying to synthesize many of the political and religious ideals shared by patron and architect: therefore there are noticeable concepts originating from political Catalanism – especially in the entrance stairway where the Catalan countries are represented – and from Catholicism – the Monumento al Calvario, originally designed to be a chapel. The mythological elements are so important: apparently Güell and Gaudí’s conception of the park was also inspired by the Temple of Apollo of Delphi.
On the other hand, many experts have tried to link the park to various symbols because of the complex iconography that Gaudí applied to the urban project. Such references go from political vindication to religious exaltation, passing through mythology, history and philosophy. Specifically, many studies claim to see references to Freemasonry, despite the deep religious beliefs of both Gaudí and Count Güell. These references have not been proven in the historiography of the modern architect. The multiplicity of symbols found in the Park Güell is, as previously mentioned, associated to political and religious signs, with a touch of mystery according to the preferences of that time for enigmas and puzzles.
Access to the park presents an allegorical structure of great symbolism where, within the conceptual parameters shared by Gaudí and Count Güell, centered on political Catalanism and the Catholic religion, urbanization is presented as an allegory that represents the highest of the earthly and spiritual world, with references both to the advancement of industry and the development of the bourgeoisie as well as to the culture of the classical Greco-Roman tradition and, especially and above all, the presence of religion: access to the park represents the entrance to the Paradise, to the utopian place where calm and well-being reign.
Gaudí placed the entrance in the lowest part of the mountain (Calle de Olot), the closest to the urban center. As access he devised a monumental entrance with a pair of mechanical gazelles that would open with the two doors, but which was never built. In its place, a wooden door was installed until, in 1965, a wrought iron door was placed – with a modeling inspired by palm leaves – which was transferred to the park from the Vicens house, one of the first works of Gaudí (1883-1888). The park has eight other entrances: two lateral ones at each end of Olot Street, one on Avenida del Santuario de San José de la Montaña, on the descent of Gloria, on Avenida del Coll del Portell, on the Carmelo road, on the Can Móra road and on the Torrent del Remei street.
On both sides of the entrance gate there are two pavilions, which were intended one for the gatehouse and the other for the administration and maintenance of the urbanization, as well as for receiving visitors. Next to the pavilions a wall was born that had to surround the enclosure, although it was only partially built. It has a length of 210 m and a variable height of between 2 and 4 m. It is built with local rustic stone and finished off with ceramics, alternating with red and white stripes, and has medallions with the inscriptions “Park” and “Güell”. There are a total of 15 medallions of different colors, circular in shape and 1.4 m in diameter. Both the wall and the pavilions were built between 1900 and 1903.
At the entrance there is a 400 m² vestibule to organize the accesses to the park, on the sides of which there are two service areas in the style of grottos: the one on the left was designed for garage and warehouse, although it currently houses a bar and toilets; the one on the right was used as a shelter for carriages. The latter has a circular room with a toric vault supported by a central conical column, with a structure that resembles the legs of an elephant; This column is similar to the one in the crypt of the Sant Pere de Rodes monastery, a possible place of inspiration for the architect. Both service areas have walls covered in trencadís ceramic of different colors, topped by battlements.
The entrance pavilions are in the purest Gaudí style, with an organic structure reflecting Gaudí’s deep study of nature. Made with local stone masonry, they stand out for their hyperbolic paraboloid shaped vaults, covered with brightly colored ceramic. Gaudí used the technique of the Catalan vault or “partitioned vault”, which consisted of the superposition of several layers of bricks with mortar. Some of the structures were prefabricated and then installed in their corresponding places, with which Gaudí again anticipated current construction techniques.
The goal pavilion measures 14.80 x 7.66 m on the ground and has a height of 21 m. It is made of masonry, with trencadís coating on the windows, cornices and battlements. The building is made up of two bodies, an elongated one that faces the street and a rear one, which has an entrance porch with a stone column. It has three floors: the ground floor is made up of three bays with octagonal columns that support parabolic arches and it has four rooms (hall, dining room, kitchen and living room); the toilets are on a mezzanine; on the second floor were the bedrooms, in a total of four; and on the third floor is the attic, covered with hyperboloidal vaults and with two terraces with battlements.
In the attic windows there are trencadís crosses with warped shapes. The building is crowned by a tower with a lookout, with a dome in the shape of a flared cap that resembles a mushroom — probably a fly agaric. On the façade facing the street there are some panels with the inscription Park Güell, as in the entrance wall. For the rear and at an angle of the building Gaudí installed an external urinary surmounted by a cone of trencadis. Today this building houses the Park Güell Interpretation Center, dependent on the Barcelona History Museum.
The administration pavilion has a height of 29 m and a floor plan of 12.60 x 6.60 m. It has two floors: in the lower one there was a large square room that is now divided into two rooms, plus two other rooms in an apse shape; from here a curvilinear staircase starts in whose middle section are the mezzanine toilets; on the second floor there is a room equivalent to the lower one, flanked by two crenellated terraces, with a mushroom-shaped dome finish, like the previous building. The tower located on one side stands out in this building, in a hyperboloidal shape and covered with trencadís in white and blue checkered. It is crowned by the typical Gaudinian cross with four arms, which indicates the fourcardinal points. Measuring 3.8 m high, this cross was destroyed in 1936 and rebuilt after the Civil War. In 1952 it was restored due to cracks, by the architect Adolf Florensa. This building also has some medallions with the words Park Güell. Today it is a bookstore and souvenir shop.
The pavilions combine rustic stone with trencadís ceramics, as well as scrap pieces: in the dome of the goal pavilion the veins of the mushroom are made up of coffee cups turned upside down. Also noteworthy is its completely organic shape based on warped surfaces, without any right angles. Due to their formal and chromatic fantasy, it has been suggested that the pavilions evoke the story of Hänsel and Gretel, whose operatic version, by Engelbert Humperdinck, was performed in the Lyceum theater in 1901 – the year the pavilions were built -, with translation by Joan Maragall, friend of Güell and Gaudí.
From the entrance hall there is a staircase that leads to the Hypostyle room – thought as a market for the urbanization – built between 1900 and 1903. Divided into two branches, it has 45 steps, in three sections of eleven steps and one of twelve, with total length of 20 m and a width of 8.1 m. The walls that surround the staircase are elliptical in shape, with a maximum height of 5.8 m. They are made of ceramic, with alternating white convex plates and other concave plates of various colors, with a warped surface; these walls are topped by battlements, on a rustic stone cornice that contains planters of hanging plants. Many of these ceramic pieces were designed by Pau Pujol, from the Pujol i Bausis factory. In its central area it houses three fountains with sculptural ensembles, which represent the Catalan countries: North Catalonia (French) and South Catalonia (Spanish).
The first fountain has a trapezoidal shape, with a naturalistic composition of false logs, stalactites and vegetation through which the water falls into a small pool. Its shape seems to evoke a place called L’Argenteria, in the Collegats gorge in the course of the Noguera Pallaresa river. In this fountain Gaudí placed a circle as a symbol of the world and a compass as a symbol of the architect.
The second source is in the form of a medallion with a toric frame and contains the coat of arms of Catalonia and a snake, as an allusion to medicine —or else representing the snake Nejustán that Moses carried on his crook, surrounded by eucalyptus fruits. On the back there is a workbench covered in white trencadís, semi-circular in shape.
In the third fountain there is a dragon or salamander made of bare brick covered in colored trencadís, 2.4 m long. There are different versions of its meaning: it can represent the alchemical salamander, which symbolizes the fire element; the mythological Python from the temple of Delphi; or the crocodile that appears on the coat of arms of the city of Nîmes, the place where Güell grew up. This figure has become the emblem of the garden and one of those of Barcelona. A replica of this figure has been in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid since 1969. On this figure there is a small construction in the shape of a tripod, alluding to the one used by the fortune teller from Delphi. In the center of this tripod is a stone that could represent the onphalos, the “navel of the world” of the Delphic oracle.
On the last flight of the steps there is an odeon- shaped bench, situated in such a way that it receives the sun during the winter and the shade during the summer.
On one side of the staircase is the CEIP Baldiri Reixac school (former home of Count Güell), while on the other is the Austria Garden, designed in the 1960s by Lluís Riudor i Carol. Its name comes from a tree donation made by the authorities of that country on the occasion of the Vienna exhibition in Barcelona, held in 1977. In 1981 a commemorative cedar called Roots of brotherhood (Wurzeln der Freundschaft) was planted here. donated by the deputy governor of the province of Styria, Franz Wegart.
On the staircase is the 1500 m² “Hypostyle Room” or Hall of the Hundred Columns – also called the “Doric Temple” – which serves as a support for the upper plaza. Measuring 43 m in length, it has a square plan, except on the side of the staircase, where it is cut out on the sides like chamfers. Built between 1908 and 1909, this room was intended to function as a market for the residential neighborhood that Gaudí was creating, but this function was disregarded after the failure of the project.
It is composed of 86 fluted columns, 6.16 m high and 1.20 m in diameter, made of mortar and rubble simulating marble, and covered with trencadís, up to a height of 1.80 m. The outer columns are slightly inclined to achieve a better structural balance (entasis). They are of the Doric order, although with an octagonal abacus instead of a square, and a circular but flattened equine. The ceiling is made of convex hemispherical vaults lined with trencadís White.
Originally this room had to house 90 columns, but Gaudí eliminated four of them and, in the free space left in the ceiling, he placed four large circular panels in the form of rosettes, 3 m in diameter, representing the four seasons of the year, with drawings of suns with 20 points, of different colors. These are complemented by 14 smaller panels in the center of the vaults, one meter in diameter, representing the lunar cycle, with drawings of eddies, helices and spirals. The ceiling panels were the work of Jujol, Gaudí’s collaborator with the most creative imagination, made of trencadís ceramic and waste materials.
The central point of the park constitutes an immense -the Nature- square square shape oval of 2694 m² (86 m long by 43 m wide), built between 1907 and 1913. According to the original plane, the square central was to be a Greek theater, suitable for community gatherings and for holding cultural and religious events. On the outside it contains a cornice covered with gargoyles in the shape of a lion’s head to drain the rain, as well as triglyphs and small figures in the shape of a drop of water.
On the outer edge, which serves as a balcony to the stairway and the entrance to the park, there is an undulating bench, 110 m in length, covered with small pieces of ceramic and glass by Josep Maria Jujol, with one of the favorite techniques of the architect, trencadís. At the other end, the plaza ends in a wall excavated in the mountain, which has the effect of an amphitheater, on which there is a palm tree promenade closed off on the mountain side by a wall of palm-shaped columns. In this wall there were some natural caves that today are used as services.
The rolling bank is formed by a succession of modules concave and convex of 1.5 m, with a design ergonomically adapted to the human body. The base is made of white trencadís and is crowned with a ceramic decoration reminiscent of Dadaist or Surrealist collages, with generally abstract motifs, but also some figurative element, such as the signs of the zodiac, stars, flowers, fish or crabs. Jujol also included rosesand allegorical phrases in homage to the Virgin Mary, in Catalan and Latin, as well as crosses and the letter J for Jujol. The trencadís was built with waste materials, tiles, bottles and pieces of china. The colors blue, green and yellow predominate, which for Gaudí symbolized Faith, Hope and Charity.
This square is unpaved, because the water it collects from rainfall is drained and channeled by the columns that support it and is accumulated in an underground tank of 1200 m³, to later be used to irrigate the park. If the tank exceeds a certain limit, the excess water is expelled by the dragon that welcomes the park. There was also a spring, which, due to the failure of urbanization, Count Güell decided in 1913 to market the water under the brand name SARVA (sar and va are two letters in Sanskrit, initials of Śiva and Viṣṇu, Hindu godswhich mean the Whole).
The roads and viaducts
Gaudí built a series of viaducts to pass through the park, wide enough for the passage of carriages and with arcaded paths underneath for the passage of pedestrians. The paths have a total length of three kilometers, which bridge the unevenness of the mountain (60 m) and optimally communicate the lower level with the upper one. There are also some small stone paths that connect these viaducts by way of shortcuts, sometimes with steps. Each variant of the road has a different width: 10 m for the main avenue, 5 m for the streets and 1 to 3 m for the trails. Gaudí tried to integrate these viaducts into the mountain in the most natural way possible, so he did not clear, but adapted the roads to the topography and added retaining walls where necessary.
The viaducts are made of brick and covered with rustic stone, and have differentiated structural solutions, inspired by different architectural styles: the lower one (viaduct of the Museum or pont de Baix) in Gothic style, the middle one (viaduct of Algarrobo or pont del Mig) Baroque and the upper one (viaduct of the Jardineras or Pont de Dalt) Romanesque. The lower one has two rows of inclined columns and its upper part houses benches and planters; the middle one has three rows of columns, the exterior ones also inclined, and counts as an anecdotal element the trunk of a carob tree that Gaudí decided to preserve (it is listed as a tree of local interest in Barcelona); the upper one also has three rows of columns and houses in the road a succession of benches and pillars 2.81 m high topped with pots containing pitas.
The main path, called del Rosario because it has a row of stone balls as beads of a rosary, goes from the entrance on the Carmelo road to the avenue of the San José de la Montaña Sanctuary, and crosses the square central. It is ten meters wide and was built on an old Roman road that led to San Cugat del Vallés, formerly known as the Camino de San Severo. The balls of the rosary are spherical, 60 cm in diameter, there are 150 and originally they served to separate the path from carriages and passersby. In 1968 a door with an iron grille from the Mateu de Llinars del Vallès tower was placed at the entrance of the avenue of the San José de la Montaña avenue, a work whose authorship is doubted between Gaudí and his assistant Francesc Berenguer. which it was demolished in 1962.
Between the square of the Greek theater and the Larrard house is the so-called “Portico of the Washerwoman”, thus nicknamed for a column of the caryatid type sculpted in the shape of a washerwoman, although other scholars see in the form of this column an imitation of The Carrier of offerings, a famous Egyptian statuette preserved in the Louvre museum. This portico is in the shape of a Romanesque cloister – possibly inspired by that of Elne Cathedral.-, supported by double columns, the outer ones vertical, shaped like a palm tree, and the inner ones inclined to better support the weight. The conjunction of these inclined columns with the curved interior wall – inclination from the natural slope of the land – creates an effect like a sea wave. A second section of the portico is a spiral- shaped ramp, with helical columns. In total, this portico has a length of 83 m. At the entrance to the portico there is an iron door in the shape of “calf’s livers”, according to a famous phrase by Salvador Dalí.
On a promontory in the upper part of the park, in a place formerly called Turó de les Menes (“hill of the Mines”, due to some iron mines that were in the place), at an altitude of 182 m, Gaudí planned to build a chapel, which due to the failure of the urbanization was not finally carried out. This chapel would have had a diameter of 30 m, lobed in shape, like a six-petal flower, similar to the crypt of the Colonia Güell.
When this project was not carried out, Gaudí designed instead a monumental cross with the insignia of the Passion of Jesus: the cross would be crowned by a J with the crown of thorns and the inscription Alleluia; the crucifixion nails would be placed and the Greek letters alpha and omega (symbol of the beginning and the end) at the ends; and below would be found the torture instruments of the Nazarene (the whip and the spear of Longinus) and the inscription Amen. From a sketch that Gaudí left, where he placed a person at the foot of the cross, it can be seen that it would have had a height of about 10 m and a width of about 4 m on the horizontal crossbar.
Finally, in the place where the chapel would have been located, Gaudí built a monument in the shape of a Calvary with three crosses. Inspired by the discovery of some prehistoric caves where fossil remains were found, Gaudí conceived of Calvary as a megalithic monument, in the style of the Talayots of Balearic prehistory. The monument has a circular plan and two stair ramps, at the top of which are located the three crosses and from where there is a magnificent panoramic view of Barcelona. There are two lower crosses (1.5 m) and a higher one (1.7 m), one of which ends in the shape of an arrow. The orientation of the crosses indicates the fourcardinal points and the one that ends in an arrow points towards the sky, which gives rise to speculation about its meaning. The crosses were destroyed in 1936, at the beginning of the Civil War, and rebuilt in 1939. In 1995 the monument was restored.
The gardens around Calvario have a terraced structure with rockery elements. They were designed by Lluís Riudor i Carol.
The Gaudí House-Museum
On the grounds of the park, on the road to Rosario, is the Gaudí House-Museum, the architect’s place of residence from 1906 to 1925, a few months before his death, when he moved to the Sagrada Familia workshop. Here he lived with his father, Francesc Gaudí Serra – who died in 1906 at the age of 93 – and his niece, Rosa Egea Gaudí – who died in 1912 at the age of 36. Designed by his assistant Francesc BerenguerBetween 1904 and 1906, it was built as a sample house for the urbanization, until it was acquired by Gaudí when the failure of the project was already visible. It is a basement house with three floors, with two terraces and topped by a tall tower crowned by a cross and a weather vane, surrounded by a rustic garden surrounded by a low wall, where a pergola with parabolic arches covered in jasmine stands out. The decoration, where ceramic elements and sgraffito elements stand out, is modernist in style and denotes the influence that his master exerted on Berenguer.
On the architect’s death it was put up for sale and the amount was allocated to the works of the Sagrada Familia, according to the will left by Gaudí. It was acquired by the Italian couple Chiappo Arietti, until in 1963 it was bought by the Friends of Gaudí association with the aim of founding a museum dedicated to the Reus architect. In 1992 this association donated its property to the Construction Board of the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family.
The museum houses various furniture and personal objects of Gaudí, such as his bedroom and his oratory, as well as some paintings and sculptures, as well as information and audiovisual panels dedicated to the architect. In the hall there is a bronze bust with the effigy of the architect made by Joan Matamala. Among the furnishings there is original furniture from the Calvet house, the Batlló house and the crypt of Colonia Güell. Various objects are also exhibited in the garden, such as the four-armed cross on the portal of the Miralles estate, a copy of a sculpture of the Sagrada Familia entitled Cosmos, a gargoyle shaped like a lion’s head on the cornice of the park square or some bars from the Vicens house and the Milà house.