Visit Gaudi's work in Barcelona

In the modernist movement in Barcelona and even in Barcelona's history of architecture, no other architect have a brighter place than Antonio Gaudi. In fact, Gaudi is the only architect in the universe to have as much as 3 buildings listed at the world heritage cultural property of UNESCO. It is impossible to leave Barcelona without a glance at one of Gaudi's buildings. And once you've seen one, it is hard to resist visiting all his masterpieces. So let's go...

La Casa Vicens (1883-85)

Casa Vicens, 16K The casa Vicens is the first house built by Gaudi in Barcelona. At that time, it was surrounded by a large garden and an iron railing. Nowdays the garden has been reduced, the railing too. Part of it has been set to the entrance of the Park Guell. The house was inspired by mudejar arabic style. It is made of brick and some areas are covered by ceramics tiles.

La Sagrada Familia (1883-1926)

Sagrada Familia, 7K Gaudi died before he could finish this cathedral. It is still under construction nowdays and money is often missing to continue. There is a big controversal around this construction: "How Gaudi would have finish to built it?". Gaudi left some plans but Gaudi never followed his plans till the end. At the moment, only the two façades of the transept (with eight towers) and the façade of the chor are finished. No roof, no nave (5 were planed). One is dedicated to Christ birth (see image on the left) the second to Christ death. The first one is sculpted in a very fluid way, commestible way would have say Dali. The second is expressionnist. Both follow the whole (hi)story with several scenes. Into the crypt, there is a museum about Gaudi and the construction of the Sagrada Familia (models, plans, sketches...).

La finca Güell (1884-87)

Finša Guell, 15K

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The Finca Guell is composed of two buildinds: the caretaker's lodge and the stable. It is still done in a mudejar style but the organization of space is yet brand new. The two buildings are linked by stylisic unity and a wonderful modernist dragon shaped gate. The caretaker's lodge is octogonal covered by a flat cupola topped with a little tower. Gaudi enhances the contrast between a white luminous interior and the textured exterior with a roof structure in half tubes sustained by elliptical archs. Gaudi played with textures using ceramics tiles bricks and half circle decoration. p220p01s.jpg (6397 octets)

Pinnacle topping the caretakerer's lodge

Palau Güell (1886-89)

Palau Guell, 17K
One of the must by Gaudi. Gaudi gives us the result of his thoughts about what should be a house for a "Lord". The plan of this building is revolutionary. It is centred on a 3 story high reception room that has a natural stary ceiling. Top cool. The wood work reminds me Arts & Crafts (see especially the V&A; museum). The façade has 2 large metal doors to let the carriage and pair enter. This contribute also to magnify the size of the building. In this building Gaudi used for the first time the 5th façade (the flat roof) and played with the design of a dozen of chimneys. The building is open for visits.

El Collegi de las Teresianes (1888-89)

The Collegi de les Teresianes is a convent of the St Therese of Avila monastic order. Gaudi took this project on the fly. It was started one year earlier by an unknown architect. The flat rectangular plan was already settled. The difficulties in this project were getting a low cost (the teresian order nuns is mean). Gaudi used bricks and ch-shaped archs in order to eliminate the two supporting walls that used the unknown architect for the ground floor. It results in a higher liberty for organizing space. In fact, these ch-shaped arches, essential element of the structure, are also used as a decorative pattern in all the building. We can point out one of Viollet le Duc's lessons: the decoration must be closely related to the structure.

La Casa Calvet (1898-1904)

48, Calle de Casp

Casa Calvet, 22K
It is the most conventional building by Gaudi. It is also the only one that received an architectural price from the town. This building consists in 8 flats and two stores. As for the materials, Gaudi used stone for the front façade and a mix of brick and ceramics for the back one.

Gaudi designed every detail of the building including doors, furniture, ceramic tiles, .... in a very Art Nouveau way. The inside is worth a little visit even if some of its inhabitants are not always welcoming!

It hosts now onr of the best restaurant in Barcelona

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Zoom on the balcony and street number

La Torres Bellesguard (1900-09 and 1916-17)

Torre Bellesguard, 11K
The Bellesguard tower is ispired by historical Catalan architecture. It is built on a historical site and this country house with its decorated front door, its sharp crenels and its belfry has a look that is definitely rooted in the medieval time, one of the glorious period for Barcelona. The whole modernist movement was closely related to the nationalist and the independentist movements. The references to the glorious past of Catalunya is a common feature in Arts at that time. This has lead in architecture to a Catalan gothic revival. But this building is not only a gothic like building, it is a modern building. It has two sides: the gothic outside and the Art Nouveau inside. One severe and one delightful. One square and one rounded. The integration of the building in its site explains the reference to the middle ages in such a historical place.

Park Güell (1900-14)

Carrer d'Olot, Bus 24 and 25

The park Guell was inspired by the English theories about garden cities. The place is a mounty area with a view to the sea. Because of the slope, Gaudi created some u turn roads supported by pillars to give an access to every planed house. The village was centered around a covered market and on its top a large place surrounded by a snaky bank skined with broken pieces of ceramics by Jujol. It was first planed to build as much as 60 houses of which 4 only were built: the Conciergerie and the welcome house in a mushroom shape, the Dr Trias'house, the Casa Museu Gaudi by Domenech i Montaner in 1904 where Gaudi lived from 1904 and 1926. This house is now transformed in a museum. The backgroung image is inspired from the border of Casa Gaudi windows. p229p25s.jpg (9167 octets)
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The snaky bank illustrates the Gaudi's skill to turn ordinary materials (it was rubbish from the ceramic factories) into a fairy convivial work. The search of a good structure is also very present in this work with the ch-shaped 4cm width bricks roof of the conciergerie and the voidened columns of the covered market to gather the rain water in order to fill a tank to feed the various fontains.

La Finca Miralles (1901-02)

Passeig Manuel Girona, 55-61

Finša Miralles, 17K Finça means "real estate" and here the Gaudi's work is the entrance to a late twenties block of flats. We can notice again an influence of natural shapes: did Gaudi knew about Nessie? Or does it simply represents the waves. What is certain, is that the gate is the dramatically odd. p223p06s.jpg (8359 octets)

General view of the Finca shading the statue of Gaudi

La Casa Batllo (1904-07)

43, Passeig de Gracia

p228p16s.jpg (9622 octets)General view by nightCasa Batllo, 17K

Gaudi did not built this house he only transformed it. One should even better say he muted it. Everything has become soft so one can easily understand that Dali loved it. There are no angles, no plane surfaces. The walls become a skin made of ceramics. The bow window is often compared by barcelonians to bones. The roof tiles recall scales of fish, the ridge tile a backbone. This continues inside. The two light holes give a constant light throught all the stories thanks to a blue gradation (dark to the top and white to the ground floor). Gaudi designed the lift, the carekeeper's lodge, the step railing, the doors, the furniture,.. The main appartement (Batllo's one) settled on the first floor behind the bow window is really a marvel. The integration to the environment (the house on the left is lower) is done by a tower that shifts in a beautiful way the left part of the roof lower. The organic kingdom is everywhere. It is the most imaginative work by Gaudi. p228p23s.jpg (8732 octets)

Organic roof and tower with 4 branch cross

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Bow window with bone-like pillars

La Pedrera (1905-1910)

92, Passeig de Gracia

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Casa Mila, 15K
Pedrera means a stone quarry. The other name of this building is the Casa Milà after the name of its owner. It is the largest block of flats Gaudi had the opportunity to build. Less colors than in Batllo's house but some critics say that it is a synthesis of Gaudi's work. With the differenciated chimneys (Palau Guell) and the waving façade (reminds the bank in the Park Guell. This building is listed at the UNESCO world heritage. The size of this building make gaudi give up the old structures and use reinforced concreate. There are no sustaining walls inside the building, so it gave a high liberty in organizing the flats. The inside yards are funnel like to maximize the light diffusion. The street angle is rounded, giving even a more impressive view of the building.

There are two visits : the attics, the roof and its chimneys and one flat. See the museum section.

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Photos : from top-down and left to right : facade ondulations, street angle facade, chimneys, roof, ceiling of onr of the porches.

Church School (1909)

The church school compounds two temporary buildings made of bricks at a very low cost. The roof is only 8 cm thick but the use of a special shape give a very strong result. Its shape is a ruled surface. That means that the roof surface is composed of straight lines and so it is simple to build it with bricks. The surface is supported by two quincunx undulations and so the result is strong. See the result on the picture. Easy to build, very strong, money saving, I will add also a functional advantage, the cherry on the top: because this roof does not need sustaining walls, the two partition walls can be moved to reconfigure the classrooms. With a flat roof, the thickness would really be more important, and would have required more expensive materials and technics and sustaining walls. I have forgotten only one advantage about this structure, last but not least, it is beautiful!

Other works by Gaudi outside Barcelona

Bodeguas Guell, Garraf

, Santa Coloma de Cervello

Casa de los Botines, Leon

Cathedral, Palma

Casa el Caprichio, Santander

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