The native Catalan architect certainly left his mark upon this great city and a stop by at Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without consuming a few of his greatest works. An architect seemingly without contemporaries, Gaudi’s free-flowing post modern creations were decades before his time. The globe has taken word of Gaudi which is reflected in the actual fact that the properties discussed below are all UNESCO world heritage sites.
The true name because of this building is actually, Casa Mila – La Pedrera is a nickname and means “the quarry” in Catalan. When Gaudi built this property between 1905 and 1907 most Catalan’s at that time lambasted the architect for defacing the city’s skyline, hence the derogatory moniker. Today none of the negative connotations remain and, indeed, city residents notice as one of the proudest landmarks. Sitting on the Passeig de Gracia the building will not contain a unitary straight line, instead carrying out a wave-like, organic and natural form. Highlights are the wild and wonderful wrought iron balconies and the rooftop using its wonderfully original chimney stacks.
Gaudi was commissioned to refurbish this building by the dog owner, Josep Batllo. Taking this brief Gaudi embarked using one of his most daring and easily recognisable designs as he completely transformed the old building. His radical design showed equal disregard for the straight line and he added bone-like balconies and used the “trencadis” technique of using shards of broken tiles to make a shimmering mosaic of colour on the façade, similar to the near by ocean (a recurrent theme in Gaudi’s work). All this put together to lend the creating a fluid quality. The arched roof has been likened to the trunk of any dragon plus some theorise that the turret and cross, which extend from the roof of the building, are thought to represent the sword of St George, plunged in to the back again of the dragon. Casa Batllo is situated near La Pedrera on the Passeig de Gracia.
Gaudi’s surreal garden organic is positioned in the Gracia district of the location as well. Originally intended within a commercial enclosure site, the project never arrived to full fruition because of the financial downturn in the town. Not surprisingly, Park Guell continues to be one of Gaudi’s most magical creations and shows his versatility. Undulating, organic and natural shapes abound, decorated with the colourful “trencadis” technique – what amazes here’s that his designs seem to be to mould in to the natural topography of the landscape. The most well-known area of the Park is the distinctive main terrace using its long mosaic benches and the sea-serpent feature, colourfully adorned with shimmering shards of tile. Gaudi’s house, which is often visited within the otherwise free Park for a tiny cost, displays furniture created by the fantastic man and will probably be worth checking out if you are a fan of the enigmatic architect.
Unquestionably Gaudi’s “magnum opus”, the Sagrada Familia was to be the architect’s unfinished masterpiece. Gaudi took charge of the project in 1885 and continued focusing on it, even living on site in his latter years, till his death over forty years later. An enormous project to attempt, Gaudi intended it to be always a monument to 20th century architecture with sixteen towers representing the twelve apostles, the four evangelists, the virgin Mary and Christ; the latter was scheduled to tower 170 metres above the town. Tragedy struck in 1926 when Gaudi was run-down with a streetcar and killed, halting his focus on the project. An additional setback struck in 1936 whenever a fire caused by Civil War bombings claimed his notes, designs and models. Today, over 120 years following the first brick was laid, building goes on. The direction that it’s to adopt has been at the mercy of much debate and controversy but Barcelona, and the planet, hopes that soon we’ll have the ability to start to see the masterpiece done. There may be no better tribute to 1 of Catalonia’s favourite sons.