Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), a Spanish architect and designer, made his mark on Barcelona creating unique architectural designs, seven of which are now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gaudí was passionate about architecture, nature, and religion and these passions influenced his designs. He considered every detail and integrated features such as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry into the buildings.
While pictures can show you these amazing works, visiting and touring Gaudi’s unique designs is the best way to experience this beautiful architecture.
Let’s take a peek at four of Gaudi’s works in Barcelona.
This building, purchased in 1903 by Mr. Josep Batlló, is known as Casa Batlló. After purchasing the home, Mr. Batlló chose architect Antoni Gaudi to fully renovate it and granted him full creative freedom. The original plans were to demolish the home and have it built from the ground up, but Gaudi convinced Mr. Batlló that he could redesign the home without demolition. Gaudi designed a unique façade and it seems the goal was to avoid straight lines completely.
The home is also known as the “House of Bones” because the pillars of the façade are shaped like bones from the outside. Much of the facade is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles. Using differently colored tiles that have a metallic sheen, Gaudi created an arched roof that gives the illusion of a dragon.
The interior is also an amazing work of art with areas such as the loft with a series of 60 catenary arches, creating a space that gives the feel of the ribcage of an animal and the lightwell, a fundamental part of the house that distributes the air and light that enter through the main skylight. The lightwell is decorated with tiles of different blue tones in order to ensure the uniform distribution of the light.
Casa Batlló is a highly rated cultural and tourist attraction, welcoming 1 million visitors every year.
Did you know that Antoni Gaudí only designed 3 residential buildings?
Casa Milà is Gaudí’s last civil work, which he finished in 1912. It was one of the first places of the industrial era to be added to the list of the most exceptional sites in the world. Its nickname, “La Pedrera”, (meaning “stone quarry”) refers to its external appearance, where stone has been used as a key material for the design of the façade and the balconies.
Casa Milà has one of the most iconic terraces with sculptured chimneys and air vents. Much like Casa Batlló, Gaudí designed the terrace with many curves, both decorative and functional, which gives better distribution of the light through its two large inner courtyards.
Eusebio Güell met Antoni Gaudi in 1878 at the World’s Fair in Paris and they became lifelong friends and associates. in 1900, Güell bought land in Barcelona and employed Gaudí to build an estate for the rich. Several plots were sold, including Gaudí himself, who moved there in 1906. Unfortunately, a lack of buyers led to plans being abandoned in 1914, with only two of the sixty houses having been built. The park then became a large private garden, which Güell allowed to be used for public events. When Eusebi Güell died in 1918, his heirs offered the park to the City Council, which agreed to purchase it. It was opened as a municipal park in 1926. The Güell family house was converted by Municipality into a school. Thanks to the work of Friends of Gaudí, Gaudi’s house in Park Güell was opened to the public as the Gaudí House Museum.
Parc Güell is now a captivating and whimsical park that attracts many visitors to Barcelona. It was recognized as an artistic monument in 1969.
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família , is Gaudi’s masterpiece. Commonly known as the Sagrada Família, this building is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world.
After a visit to the Vatican, Philanthropist Bocabella was inspired to build a church in Spain and in 1882, construction of the Sagrada Família began under architect Francisco de Paula del Villa. Only 1 year later, de Villar resigned and Antoni Gaudí took over as chief architect, transforming the project with his unique architectural and engineering style. Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and from 1914 on, Sagrada Familia was the only project he worked on.
There are only two people buried in the church’s crypt: Josep Bocabella and Antoni Gaudi. At the time of Gaudi’s death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. The slow progress of the construction was caused by multiple factors including changes in design, the Spanish Civil War and slow construction funding, which primarily come from donations and ticket sales.
Chief architect Jordi Faulí announced in October 2015 that construction on Sagrada Familia was 70 percent complete and the final phase of raising six large steeples had begun. The steeples and most of the church’s structure were planned be completed by 2026, the centennial of Gaudí’s death; however, a recent estimate reports that decorative elements should be complete by 2030 or 2032.
Did you know? The Sagrada Familia can be seen from the terrace of two of Gaudi’s residential projects: Casa Mila and Casa Batlló.