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the intrinsic relationship between the city and the architect. The paper
presents a brief biography of Gaudi and examines the general characteristics,
influences, and styles of his work and creations. The paper describes four of
Gaudi's many projects in Barcelona: the Sacred Family (La Sagrada Familia), La
Pedrera (Casa Milà), La Casa Batlló and the Güell Park.
Antoni Gaudi i Cornet was worn in the province of Tarragona in Catalonia in 1852.
At the age of 16 Gaudi left his hometown Reus to join the school of architecture of
Barcelona. At that time Barcelona was a fast-growing city because of the start of its
industry. It was the main city of Catalunya where at the time Gaudi arrived there
was a large anarchist independence movement. Like the followers of this
movement Gaudi loved Catalunya above everything else. For that reason the major
influences on his work were mauresque, oriental and gothic architecture, all of
them traditional Catalonian styles. New foreign movements like the arts and crafts,
impressionism and Art Nouveau were also discussed in the intellectual modernist
Art Nouveau is the movement that influenced Gaudi the most, stimulating him to
experiment with new materials and new shapes, thereby helping him to give up
imitating historical styles and find his own way. The term Art Nouveau is French
and means New Art. It was an extraordinary movement in art history from the end
of the nineteenth century and lasted from about 1880 to 1915. The style is
characterized by using organic, ornamental shapes and patterns and by integrating
all aspects of art and design. The movement had different names in different
languages. In Germany it was called Jugendstil, in Italy Stile Liberty, in Austria
Sezession and in Spain Modernista or Modernismo.
The opportunities afforded by Catalonia's socioeconomic and political
environments were endless. Catalonians such as Antoni Gaudí often showcased the
region's diverse art techniques in their works. By mimicking nature, such artists
symbolically pushed back the province's ever-increasing industrial society. Gaudí,
among others, promoted the Catalan nationalist movement by incorporating
elements of Catalan culture in his designs.
Almost all of Gaudi's buildings were constructed in Barcelona. His early designs
reflect the taste in the late 1800's for color and for peasant or folk traditions. In
Gaudi's work, this resulted in the use of colorful tiles of the sort used in moorish
architecture. His best known designs of the early 1900's include two houses, the
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park called the Park Guell. Gaudi's most famous structure is probably the
unfinished Church of the Sagrada Familia.
The Casa Batlló was build between 1898 and 1904. Happy and harmonic, what
initially had to be just a refurbishment of the façade of the Batlló family house,
finally happened to be the most poetic and sensitive work of Gaudí. He added to
the project a double loft, the staircase and the interiors decoration. The result was
and still is- an architectural smile related to Barcelona forever.
Gaudí worked in The Casa Milà between 1905 and 1910. This big house, built for
Mr. Pere Milà i Camps, is the best example of Gaudí's plastic architecture concept.
Designed with overwhelming imagination and creativity, the Pedrera ("Stone
quarry", called like this because it looked like a stone quarry) is nowadays another
must of Barcelona.
The Güell Park was constructed between 1900-1914 and it's a lively example of
the best union among nature, urbanism and architecture. Commissioned by Mr.
Eusebi Güell, the park was originally conceived to be a garden city. From 1922 is a
city municipal park, and has certainly become one of the most emblematic
monuments of the city. Its dragon, at the main entrance stairway, is one of the most
famous sculptures in the world.
If one work is to define Gaudi then surely it would have to be the "Sagrada
Familia". He took control of the project in 1883 and would devote a huge part of
the next 43 years of his life to project, right up until his death.
"The Temple de la Sagrada Família is an hymn in praise of God intoned by the
Humankind, and each one of its stones is a strophe" Puig Boada.
One of the main gifts of Gaudí was being able of creating relationships between
architecture and poetry, religion, botanics and astronomy. No detail escapes from
the symbolism of the Temple de la Sagrada Família, everything has a reason.
Everything transmits. Everything speaks the language of nature and religion.
As some who has born in Barcelona, one would perhaps always remember the
historical area around Los Ramblas, the old Gothic Cathedral or the Olympic
Stadium, as well as the special charm of the city, proud in its Catalan spirit, but
there is little chance that something is likely to impress you more than the presence
of Antoni Gaudi in the city, his modernist creations, his dedication to the city and,
even more so, the intrinsic relationship between the city and the architect. Indeed,
Gaudi has only worked and created in Barcelona and the city represented to Gaudi
a place of inspiration and artistic evolution, but probably also the only place where
the interior effervescence could be properly exploited. Every Catalan feels proud to
live in a city with such great buildings acclaimed all over the world.
- Lahuerta, J.J., 2003, Antoni Gaudí 1852-1926, Milan, Electa architecture.
- Bassegoda, J., Antonio Gaudi : Master Architect, London, Abbeville Press inc.
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