© 1993-2005 Frank Derville
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)
La Sagrada Familia (1883-1926)
La finca Güell (1884-87)
Palau Güell (1886-89)
|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.|
48, Calle de Casp
|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
Zoom on the balcony and street number
|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.|
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.|
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.
Passeig Manuel Girona, 55-61
|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.||
General view of the Finca shading the statue of Gaudi
43, Passeig de Gracia
|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.||
Organic roof and tower with 4 branch cross
Bow window with bone-like pillars
92, Passeig de Gracia
|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.
Photos : from top-down and left to right : facade ondulations, street angle facade, chimneys, roof, ceiling of onr of the porches.
|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. The shape is a "surface reglée" in French (I don't know how it is named in English). That means that the 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!|