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Barcelona and the Influence of Antoni Gaudí' (Park Güell, Sagrada Familia)

Posted October 11, 2013 12:00 AM by SavvyExacta
Pathfinder Tags: Gaudi Park Guell Sagrada Familia

My travels brought me to Spain a few weeks ago. Barcelona is a port city that was revived by hosting the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. But 100 years before those Games, the city's architecture was influenced by the work of Antoni Gaudí, who made Barcelona his home. You can read more about Gaudí at the Gaudí House Museum website, but Wikipedia has even more information.

Gaudí's designs are known for incorporating his passions of architecture, nature, and religion. He began implementing modernista, neo-Gothic, and naturalist designs in Barcelona in the late 19th century. Eusebi Güell, a Catalan entrepreneur, commissioned many of Gaudí's works.

Here are some of his most famous and recognizable designs in the city of Barcelona.

Park Güell

Gaudí began work on Park Güell in 1900 and continued through 1914. The space was originally intended to be an upscale housing development in a park setting. The housing plan failed after two structures were built. Today the area is a municipal garden. It's very unique! Mosaic art and whimsical walkways flow throughout the park. Built on a hillside, a series of ramps and staircases wind their way to the top. The park was intentionally designed without roadways to minimize intrusions.

Casa Batlló

image credit - barcelonatouristguide.com

Casa Batlló was constructed from 1904-1906. This well-known house has a unique façade. Gaudí did not like straight lines and so incorporated other design elements into the house:

  • The balconies are designed to look like masks
  • Colored ceramic fragments tile the front
  • The roofline is arched and resembles a dragon's back

Casa Milà

Constructed from 1906-1910, Casa Milà is another house with unique design elements:

  • The top of the house is meant to look like a snowy mountain
  • The chimneys are shaped like medieval helmets
  • The façade and balconies were inspired by waves and seaweed

Sagrada Familia

Construction of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882. Gaudi's involvement began in 1915; the church is his most famous work and will not be completed until at least 2027. After Gaudi's death in 1926 (he was struck by a tram), construction has continued to his specifications despite some difficulties. Gaudi primarily used models, rather than blueprints or plans on paper, to communicate his design. Many of his models for the Sagrada Familia were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.

The Sagrada Familia is unique in many aspects of its design and is intended to imitate natural shapes. In fact, it's supposed to look like a forest, and it does when viewed from a small park across the street. At completion it will have 18 towers.

Three facades of the church depict different parts of the Bible. Gaudí completed the Nativity façade before his death. This video shows what the finished church will look like. Improvements have come along more quickly since 3D design software, modern cranes, and lifts replaced mechanical tools and wagons!

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Re: Barcelona and the Influence of Antoni Gaudí' (Park Güell, Sagrada Familia)

10/11/2013 3:43 AM

Barcelona is a great city, and well worth a visit.

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