7 Best Antoni Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona + Biography
We can understand a lot about the top Antoni Gaudí buildings in Barcelona with one quote:
Those who look to the laws of nature as support for new works collaborate with the creator.
It’ll be impossible to get it out of your head as you experience Gaudí’s style, a unique blend of Catalan modernism and madness, that not only defined a man but an entire city as well.
Let’s take a look at the most famous Antoni Gaudi buildings and learn a bit about the man behind the madness.
Who is Antoni Gaudí?
Antoni Gaudi was born in Reus in 1852 to a family of copper smiths.
Gaudi watched his father and grandfather work with metals in their family laboratory from a young age as they made many essential daily tools. This would lay the foundation of his craftiness.
The young architect to be developed a great appreciation of nature wandering around the family summer home and going on outings with outdoor club the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya.
Young Gaudí and Early Education
At 17 Gaudi moved to Barcelona to study architecture at the Provincial School of Architecture.
He emerged right away as someone with great manual ability, distinctive style, excellent mathematical calculations, and an acute sense of observation.
During those years a maturity began to arise which lead to the innovative character that would define him not only as an architect, but as an avant guard artist.
Antoni Gaudi’s Work
For having being almost too ahead of his time there were even some teachers who criticized his unorthodox methods – and if not for a few trusting industrialists he may have never got his shot.
Gaudi was commissioned to build some of Barcelona’s most exciting attractions. Over the years the once-doubted fringe architect would build famous buildings accruing 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the process.
You won’t be visiting Barcelona properly if you don’t check out at least a few of Gaudí’s buildings.
The 7 Best Antoni Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia
Area: Eixample | Carrer de Mallorca 401 | Metro: Sagrada Familia (purple line, yellow line)
Gaudi worked on the Sagrada Familia church from 1891 until his death in 1926: that’s 35 years of construction. In fact, Gaudi was very conscious of the fact that the art nouveau church would never be completed while he was alive.
As people hounded him about the completion date of the ‘Gaudi cathedral’ he’d famously quip:
My client isn’t in a hurry, God has all the time in the world.
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família has been thought of by many famous critics not only to be a work in progress, but something that should deliberately never come to a finish.
The constant building and work on the world’s most spectacular basilica would show the ultimate devotion to god, much more than a completed building standing tall with little or no effort to carry it forward.
Just look at those stained glass windows.
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Area: Gracia | 08024 Barcelona, Spain | Metro: Diagonal (yellow line)
Let’s imagine a rich industrialist, in this case Eusebi Guell, buying a prime plot of land over the city and giving a blank cheque to Gaudi to create a Utopian neigbourhood in the middle of a park.
Nothing is invented, for it’s written in nature first.
This spectacular urban park was originally intended to have 70 luxury homes across 13 city blocks of property: only three were built. What remains is glorious communal area surrounding Nature Square, home to the famous trencadis-speckled benches with the best city view in Europe.
The twin-flight dragon staircases, ginger bread house-like porter’s lodge, 86 columns of the tree-root-like Doric Temple, and the mosaic salamander are other nature-inspired jaw-droppers in this parky paradise.
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Area: Eixample | Passeig de Gracia 43 | Metro: Passeig de Gracia (purple, yellow, green lines)
When textile industrialist Josep Batlló bought a ‘fixer upper’ on Barcelona’s most luxurious street in the ritzy Eixample district you can imagine who he contacted to create the most creative and audacious house on the block.
The result is a 32 metre high ode to nature that some call ‘the Dragon House’.
A prime example of Gaudi architecture. Look at the facade of the house and see its jaw-bone balconies coming to life. The dragon’s back rooftop stupifies while the marine-inspired light well (in cover photo) dazzles and brings the whole house to life.
Nothing is art if it does not come from nature.
And from nature it did come. Gaudi designed every detail of the house down to the ergonomic doorknobs, mushroom-shaped furnaces, and radiators inspired by tropical fish.
CASA BATLLO BLUE
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Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Area: Eixample | Passeig de Gracia 92 | Metro: Passeig de Gracia (purple, yellow, green lines)
La Pedrera, another Antoni Gaudí apartment block on Passeig de Gracia looks like wobbling jell-o, owing to the architect’s refusal to use straight lines, and is known to locals as La Pedrera (‘Stone Quarry’).
There are no straight lines or corners in nature, therefore buildings must have no straight lines or corners.
Stand outside and see for yourself: the building really is a constant curve. From the air it’s actually an asymmetrical 8 with a self-supporting limestone facade wrapped around two luminous courtyards.
Best of all? La Pedrera’s roof terrace and its haunting chimney stacks that look a bit like storm troopers standing on guard. It’s known as the Garden of Warriors.
The whale-skeleton-like attic made up of 270 parabolic arches is another favourite.
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Area: Eixample | Carrer de les Carolines, 20-26 | Metro: Fontana (green line)
It’s 1888 and Antoni Gaudí is just 5 years removed from school, when he gets his big break from big boy stockbroker Manuel Vicens i Montaner to build a summer chalet.
The result? A fairy tale in building form. Seeing the mosaic facade, contrasted with an almost prison-like set of bars on the windows, is a unique look into where Catalan modernism was at the time.
The inside gets decidedly more exotic, with an oriental-style interior garden, a Turkish-style smoking room, and a living room with an overhead dome painting of the sky that’ll blow your mind.
This Gaudi building was closed to the public until 2017, but it’s now open for visits.
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The Crypt at Colonia Guell
The aforementioned industrialist Eusebio Guell funded this purpose-built industrial village to house the factory workers in the vicinity of his new textile mill.
The idea was to give workers life-improving amenities, a theater, a school, shops, and a five minute commute! And who would be commissioned to design the church? Gaudi, of course. And so the other Antoni Gaudí church is born.
The creation continues incessantly through the media of man.
This was Antoni Gaudi’s first big project and you see his genius in every corner of the church from the emblematic catenary arches to the broken mosaics to the parabolic outer walls.
Unfortunately the church ran out of funding and so only the crypt was completed.
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Eusebi Guell was again protagonist in this early Antoni Gaudi building in the Raval neighbourhood of Barcelona. The art nouveau mansion was built for the purpose of not only living but entertaining guests of Barcelona high society.
You’ll see the prestige right away with the decorative iron gates made to welcome horse carriages – Gaudí created the parabolic arch with a combination of steel forged into a horsewhip and interestingly, seaweed.
Anything created by human beings is already in the great book of nature.
The highlight is the main party room and its holed ceilings that held lanterns that would mimic a star-spangled night sky. Film buffs may recognize the building as it was used in Antonioni’s The Passenger starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider.
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Antoni Gaudí’s Death
It was June 7th 1926, just after six o’clock in the afternoon.
Gaudi was walking, presumably deep in thought, away from the Sagrada Familia and towards the church of Sant Felip Neri. This was a daily routine of sorts where he would unwind praying and confessing with Father Mas.
He crossed the street, perhaps without paying too much attention, a was hit by one of Barcelona’s old school trams. The driver immediately got out, without recognising the legendary architect due to his lack of documents and shoddy appearance, and mistook him for a homeless man.
He simply dragged Gaudí to the side of the road, abandoned him, re-boarded the tram, and drove away.
Countless passersby stepped over the city’s greatest gift to the world without even recognising him. When help was finally called Gaudi was taken to Santa Creu Hospital where Gaudí died on June 10th 1926.
Even after Gaudi had been found out, he still refused to be transported to a high end hospital for the rich. He preferred to die among the common folk. After all, his only task was to prepare himself for his imminent meeting with god, the only architect who could ever outdo him!
On June 12th the funeral was held.
The whole city took the streets to pay their respects to the main who would later be called the interpreter of the Catalan people. Gaudi was embalmed, dressed as a monk, and given a rosary in his left hand.
He was interred in the crypt at the Sagrada Familia, where Gaudí dedicated the last years of his life.
Related: How Many Days Should I Stay in Barcelona?
Antoni Gaudi Attractions Map
Looking to visit the best Antoni Gaudi buildings in Barcelona? Here’s a map to help you get around.
🚌 Visiting Gaudi attractions? Make sure you know how to get around Barcelona on public transport first.
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the 5 Most Iconic Buildings
Barcelona is the city that is especially characterized by its spectacular architecture.
When one thinks of Barcelona, first thing that comes to mind is probably the buildings of Antoni Gaudí: his name, his iconic creations and his incredible vision, all of these made the city one of the most outstanding destinations of the world.
Some of the greatest creations of the architect are located in the beautiful region of Cataluña, with some of the most well-known in its capital Barcelona. Even if you are not very familiar with his architecture, when you see his building you immediately recognize Gaudí’s style.
Here are some of the most important buildings designed by the architect that are “must-visit sites” for everyone coming to the Ciudad Condal.
Table of Contents
- Sagrada Familia
- Park Güell
- Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
- Casa Batlló
- Palau Güell
- Casa Vicens
- Our recap of the top 5 Gaudi’s Buildings around Barcelona
The real icon of Barcelona, and in the eyes of many people, of the whole Spain.
The world-famous basilica that has been particularly known for its long construction that
began back in 1882 and is still not finished, 134 years later.
It is so unique and spectacular, that every day thousands of tourists come to admire this great Gaudí’s work.
When the architect started the project he was only 31 years old, and it became his biggest and most important work.
“El Temple Expliatori de Sagrada Familia” is the symbol of Catalan modernism, and is one of the most important tourist attractions in Barcelona. In 2005, the Nativity façade and the Crypt of the Basilica were declared a World Heritage Site “Works of Antoni Gaudí”.
Gaudí was able to see only one of the towers raised while he was still alive, but had a very active and important role in directing the construction until his death in 1926. He managed to only comlete a quarter of the whole project. During the Spanish Civil War in 1936 much of the models and plans of the architect were destroyed by the Catalan anarchists, so many parts of the design that we see now are based on a modern adaptation and reconstruction version of those models. Some architects argue that these designs go against Gaudí’s vision.
Where: Carrer de Mallorca, 401
Parc Guell in Barcelona
This spectacular garden complex is one of the most important creations of Antonio Gaudí, built between1900 and 1914.
It is located on the hill of El Carmel, boasting one of the best views of Barcelona. The project was commissioned by Eusebi Güell and turned out quite an unsuccessful housing site.
It was originally intended to become a place for well-off families where they could live in a very healthy setting, with great views and far from the city centre bustle.
In the end only two of the planned 60 houses were built, after no one came forward. So the architect bought one for himself and moved in with his family.
Today Park Güell is part of the UNESCO list: “Works of Antoni Gaudí”. It offers so many incredible things to explore: the main terrace of the park with its mosaic benches, the columns simulating the palm trees and much more.
Where: Park Guell
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
One of the most famous and most visited houses of Gaudí.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
It is the last of his civil works built for Roser Segimon and Pere Milà.
Its building was finished in 1912. It is one of the most important works of the architect, characterized by its undulating stone façade and twisted iron balconies.
As many designs of the architect, it was very controversial at the time of its construction, but anyway was recognised as a World Heritage site in 1984.
Where: Passeig de Gracia, 92
This residential building was reconstructed by the architect in 1904 from a house built back in 1870s.
It was designed for Josep Batlló, who moved in with his family into the two first floors and then rented out the remaining space of the building.
Casa Batlló definitely reflects Gaudí’s artistic side and the influence of the nature, organic forms and geometry.
The design of the house is absolutely mind-blowing: its windows sizes and forms, the colors, the balconies looking like skulls and bones and every other detail or its exterior are unique and must be seen and admired.
Just like La Pedrera, the building was criticised after it was built, and now is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Where: Passeig de Gràcia, 43
Palau Güell in Barcelona
The Palace was built as a residence of the Güell family. It does not exactly look like the architect’s other buildings…
This work belongs to the orientalist stage of Gaudí’s career, to its very beginning, in which the architect made a series of works of oriental dye influenced also by Mudejar art.
The Palace was created in collaboration with Gaudí’s Francesc Berenguer, one of his most faithful assistants.
Where: Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5
This house, located in the Gracia district, was the first important contribution of Gaudí, designed and built after the architect completed his degree in the Provincial School of Architecture of Barcelona.
He designed it for the owner of a ceramic factory named Manuel Vicens.
Gaudí started its building in 1883 and finished in 1888.
You can see that its design differs from the later works of the architect: it lacks the curved lines, but it still is very much influenced by the Arabic and eastern art, a characteristical element of many of his later works.
Casa Vicens was exclusively used as a family residence for 130 years, first for summer and then as the habitual residence. In 2017 the doors of Casa Vicens were open to the general public for the first time after the house was acquired in 2014 by a company that invested money in its rehabilitation and restoration.
Now all the interested in the modernist architecture can make a visit and see the beginnings of the architect’s big and important career!
Where: Carrer de les Carolines, 20
Our recap of the top 5 Gaudi’s Buildings around Barcelona
These are far from all the buildings of the genious architect. If you want to discover his other works, some more time and patience are needed, because there are many of them located quite far from the Barcelona central area.
Some that you may be interested in seeing are Bellesguard, the Church of Colonia Guell, Casa Calvet, Casa Botines, Jardins Artigas, Bodegas Guell in Garraf, the Teresian College building, Portal Miralles, Hércules Fountain and even the Plaza Reial streetlights.
We hope this post was helpful! If you have any questions, write us and we will try to resolve all your doubts.
Antoni Gaudí buildings in Barcelona
While still little known and a student, during the creation of the Parc de la Ciutadella, Gaudí assisted the architect Josep Fontzer in the construction of this vast green space and its Trevi-style water feature, the Cascade Fountain. He was given responsibility for the design of the park’s entrance gate and bandstand balustrade (where early examples of his iconic ironwork can be seen). Perhaps his most notable contribution is the artificial rock at the center of the fountain, a motif that signaled his penchant for nature and its incorporation into later architectural designs.
Casa Vicens, an inaccessible private property for over 100 years, finally opened its doors to the public after extensive restoration work on November 16, 2017. Built between 1883 and 1885 during the architect’s Oriental period, it was also his first formal building design project. The commission was requested by stockbroker Manuel Vicens and Montaner. Montaner was a tile maker whose profession was explicitly mentioned in Casa Vicens – numerous green and white tiles. They are combined with various oriental motifs popular during the construction of the building.
Casa Vicens is one of Gaudí’s earliest projects. It contrasts sharply with more recent projects such as Casa Mila and La Sagrada Famlia. Although it boasts a few elements that are characteristic of the later style, such as exposed stonework and organically twisted cast iron railings.
Originally a private mansion owned by Count Eusebi de Güell, Palau Güell is now a key part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Colonia Güell and five other notable buildings by Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí was commissioned to create a city palace with the aim of making it a multi-purpose building consisting of several apartments, service rooms and exhibition halls. Palau Güell, an eclectic mix of Gothic, Art Nouveau and Islamic architectural style, is a sight to behold inside and out, from its intricate staircase and magnificent music room, to stately rooms that offer a glimpse of what it was like to live luxury in the late 1800s in Barcelona.
Located in the El Raval area, the mansion was reopened to the public in 2012 after several years of restoration work. Today, tours of the interior of the building are a must when visiting Barcelona. Visit during opening hours when music is played from the grand piano in the music room.
Gaudí’s buildings in Barcelona are certainly a unique sight on any architectural route, but to get the full picture, it’s worth taking a trip around the edge of the city centre. The Torre Bellesguard was built at the beginning of the 20th century and is not a traditional Gaudí building: although we see many mosaics, colors and patterns, the architect surprises by using more rectilinear forms, in contrast to his natural tendency towards roundness.
Also known as the “Casa Figueiras”, it allows visitors to admire one of Barcelona’s most stunning panoramas, a feat not quite as subtle as its name alludes to. In Catalan, “Bellesguard” means “beautiful view”. The place is away from the city center but easily accessible by bus from the main areas such as Pl. Catalunya, Pl. glory or Les Corts. It’s also relatively close to the ‘Tramvia Blau’, an old-fashioned tram that leads to the Tibidabo funicular.
Casa Calvet, one of Gaudí’s earliest naturalistic buildings, is also considered one of his most conservative works. The building, commissioned by the family of the textile manufacturer Per Martir Calvé, is designed in the Art Nouveau style, but with characteristic elements of the Catalan Baroque. The façade of Casa Calvet is adorned with exquisite wrought iron work on the balconies, as well as three eerie busts representing Saint Genesius of Rome, Saint Peter Martyr and Saint Genesius of Arles. Other symbols on the façade include the olive tree, the cypress, and the coat of arms of Catalonia.
Often overlooked by locals and tourists alike, Casa Calvet may not show the theatrics of Gaudí’s other more famous buildings, but it set the tone and helped shape the architect’s iconic style. Constrained by the Eixample building requirements set by Cerda at the time, Gaudí had to design a building with a rectangular base, a central courtyard and a double façade. Although, as Plato once said: “Necessity is the mother of ingenuity.” The result is a structure that elegantly blends into its surroundings while maintaining a unique sense of identity.
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It is important to note that, like Casa Vicens, Calvet is private property and most of Gaudí’s buildings can only be viewed from the outside. However, unlike the first one, there is a lucky loophole in the look of the Casa Calvet restaurant. Located on the ground floor of the building, this place includes the former owner’s offices, an intimate collection of spaces designed according to the classic Art Nouveau convention. Original posters and historical photographs adorn the deceptively simple white tiled walls. These, in turn, are warmly illuminated by floral lamps, while multi-colored light is filtered through organic patterned stained glass windows.
Park Güell is known as one of the best “free” attractions in Barcelona. The park itself – with its local Mediterranean feel and vegetation, hiking trails and viaducts – is free, but there is a fee to access the monumental area. This €7 fee (adult, no guide) is well worth it as the monumental area has some stunning buildings and sites.
Gaudí’s style reappears in the rounded shapes and colorful tiles of the Trencada. At the top of the monumental grounds is a large square with a round bench covered with unique Catalan mosaics, from where you can admire a panoramic view of Barcelona. From here you can see everything in the city – the towers of the Sagrada Familia, the MNAC on Montjuic and even the coast.
Please note that although it is possible to get to the park by metro or bus, you need to be prepared for a slight uphill climb to get there. Also, take plenty of water with you, as Barcelona’s summer weather can quickly drain your energy, and book your tickets in advance (especially if you want to take a tour). Without advance booking, the peak waiting time can be 4 to 6 hours at the park gate.
Gaudí House Museum
Gaudí House Museum was designed by friend and contemporary Francesc d’Asse Berenguer y Mestres as a modern landmark and an original structure that Anthony himself would recognize. The museum building, which is nothing less than the residence of Gaudi himself, (located in the heart of the Park Güell) is magnificent in Art Nouveau and religious motifs. While the last two “museum” attractions in this article tend to advance the career of an architect, Gaudí’s House Museum takes a somewhat broader perspective.
First occupied by Gaudí, his father and niece in 1906, his rooms are purely private spaces with very little decoration or pomp. In the white-walled bedroom, for example, which houses a rare collection of clearly Gaudí-style furniture, the focus is on the corner, where there is a tiny backlit bookshelf, a single wooden chair, and an image of Christ on the cross. The scene looks more like something from a secluded monastery than the home of one of the world’s most famous architects. This, however, perfectly captures the purpose of the House Museum; it acts as a window into Gaudí’s mind of the “man” rather than the architect.
Indeed, the audio guide available at the entrance encourages visitors to “discover a more intimate side of the architect”. This is not to say that the house is devoid of art, in fact it boasts one of the finest collections of Gaudí furniture anywhere in the city. Its architecture is undeniably inspired by Gaudí’s creativity, with long, curved arches, floral patterns, and curvilinear ironwork as prominent as in any of Antoni’s other efforts.
Casa Batll, one of Gaudí’s masterpieces, is an extraordinary piece of architecture that embodies the whimsical side of the designers at its best. It is an eclectic, almost surreal building, with subtle religious flourishes and physical elements inspired by bodily forms (particularly those of dragons). The latter quality is largely responsible for Batlló’s alternative name, “Casa del Ossos” or House of Bones. True to its name, the building’s exterior reveals a decidedly skeletal design that is especially noticeable at night when interior lighting shines, casting eerie yet beautiful shadows.
Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring 7 of Gaudí’s masterpieces, tourists can look into the unique attic and famous mezzanine where the Batlló family lived. The roof of Casa Batllo is quite intriguing, even from afar, as it looks like the back of a dragon. The colorful tiles resemble the scales of a beast, with “spikes” that change color at different angles. Casa Batll is a masterpiece of rainbow art. It is a place where visitors can experience the full spectrum of Gaudí’s genius.
Also known as “La Pedrera”, Casa Mil is one of the last civil buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí. It was built between 1906 and 1912. It is currently one of the most visited buildings in Barcelona thanks to its coral façade, unique interior and impressive rooftop, both artistic and offering a unique view of the city. Even the furniture inside the house was designed by Gaudí and is unique like the rest of the building, making it a must see for anyone traveling to Barcelona.
Casa Mil is also known as “La Pedrera” (stone quarry) because its undulating exterior is reminiscent of the rocky shelves commonly seen in stone quarries.
In every major city in the world, there is one famous tourist attraction that everyone knows about. London has Big Ben, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Milan has the Duomo, and Barcelona has the Sagrada Familia. Considered by many to be the most important of all Gaudí’s buildings, this Roman Catholic basilica has generated much controversy since its conception in 1882.
Initially, people claimed that the new church would compete with the city’s cathedral, that the project would not outlive Gaudí (who died at 1926) or that the architectural style has nothing to do with the church. The architect himself, long gone, but his opus Magnum is still alive, almost a century and a half later, and the project is far from dead. It should be completed between 2026 and 2028. It is considered a masterpiece, even in its unfinished state, and consistently ranks high on the top 10 lists of Spain’s most visited attractions.
It is hard to find a church more symbolic, unique and with such an unusual history as the Sagrada Familia, which was built entirely with private donations and has survived the economic crisis, civil wars and periods of weakening religiosity. Combining Gothic architecture with Art Nouveau concepts, Gaudí created one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
Sagrada Familia Schools
Located right at the intersection of Carrer de Sardegna and Carrer de Mallorca, this quiet, modest rectangular building. Known as the Sagrada Familia Schools, this undulating 10 x 20 meter building was originally conceived as a temporary structure in which the children of those who work in the nearby church could receive an education. However, like its older brother, it was designed by architect Antoni Gaudí in his signature modernist style – an attribute that will no doubt save it from future demolition.
This is not to say that schools have not experienced danger. Damaged during the Spanish Civil War and moved to make way for the ever-expanding basilica, it no longer occupies the original position it held in 1909. It is also likely that as the Sagrada Famlia approaches its estimated completion date of 2026, the building will once again be raised and remodeled elsewhere. Saved from total annihilation.
From the outside, visitors can admire the school’s undulating Catalan brick walls and sinusoidal roof.
The interior of the building is divided into three classrooms, a hall and a small chapel. These rooms now serve as offices for the Sagrada Familia and are open to visitors.
Located in the town of Santa Coloma de Cervello, about 20 km southwest of Barcelona, Colonia Güell was originally intended as a working village, but due to economic difficulties only the crypt was completed in 1915 . Commissioned by renowned industrialist Count Euseby de Guell, Colnia Gell is another highlight of the aforementioned Unesco World Heritage-listed “Gaudí Works” – a collection of 7 of Antoni Gaudí’s most famous buildings and landmarks.
A vibrant church, Gaudí’s signature crypt architectural style is undeniable. Unusually oval in shape, its building techniques are said to have given rise to Gaudí’s most famous work, the aforementioned La Sagrada Famlia. The crypt or church is not like the others. Originally conceived as a place of worship, it has since transcended that role and is now a very secular testament to Gaudí’s avant-garde style.
Not far from Parc Güell, on Carrer de Larrar Street, you will find Gaud Experincia, a place where you can explore the heritage of the famous architect in 4D. The exhibition summarizes the concept and construction of Gaudí’s most famous buildings throughout Barcelona. This is a great learning experience for both adults and kids who will love the live 4D experience.
Getting there is easy: take the bus (lines 24, 31, 32, H6 and 92) or take the metro to Lesseps station. Since it is very close to Park Güell, which is another famous Barcelona attraction, it is easy to see both on the same day, not to mention cheap as the adult ticket costs only 9 euros. Gaud Experiencia should ideally be visited at the start of a stay in Barcelona and should be seen as an introductory overview of the architect’s greatest works, most of which should be visited in person.
Gaudí Exhibition Center
Gaudí Exhibition Center is a museum entirely dedicated to the work of the great architect. Here you can find everything from documents, models and old letters of the author in the museum, as well as new non-traditional methods of understanding Gaudí’s mind, such as virtual reality, interactive whiteboards and holograms. Opened in 2016, the museum is located in the Pia Almoina building, which is a miracle in itself. It can be found next to the cathedral in the city center and is easily accessible by metro (L4 – Jaume I station or L3 – Liceu station) or bus (lines 45, V15 and V17). Access to the museum is free with the Barcelona Card, which gives a discount to several of Gaudí’s other buildings.
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The architect Gaudi and his houses: the work and creativity of the master
Home » Sights » Architecture
- 1 The life and work of Gaudí
- 2 The origins of the architect’s own style
- 3 Casa Vicens
- 4 El Capriccio
- 5 Works commissioned by Eusebio Parc Güell
- 6 Sagrada Familia
- 7 Casa Batlló
- 8 Casa Mila
Gaudí is an outstanding Catalan architect who created many famous buildings in Barcelona. World history knows not so many architects who have so strongly influenced the views of their cities and created something so significant for their national culture. Gaudí is the most famous architect in Spain. His work marked the peak of Spanish Art Nouveau. A feature of his style is that the sources of the architect’s fantasies were natural forms (trees, clouds, animals, rocks). It was nature that primarily determined the work of the sculptor and architect Gaudi in solving various problems – both artistic and constructive.
The architect did not like closed spaces, as well as geometrically correct forms. Therefore, he fundamentally refused straight lines. He believed that a straight line is a product of man, while a circle is a product of God. Therefore, Antonio Gaudi used only curved surfaces, creating his own original style. The architect Gaudi and his houses are known far beyond the borders of Catalonia and Spain.
Life and work of Gaudí
The architect was born on 06/25/1852 in the town of Reus near Barcelona. His family belonged to the dynasty of hereditary masons. In 1868 he moved to Barcelona and there in 1873-78. studied at the Higher Technical School of Architecture, and also mastered various crafts (blacksmithing, carpentry, etc.) in the workshop of E. Punti.
In 1870-82 was engaged in the implementation of applied orders (sketches of lanterns, fences, etc.) in the workshop of F. Villar and E. Sala. His first building, which can be considered independent (the fountain in Catalan Square in 1877), demonstrated the brightness and quirkiness of Gaudí’s imagination.
Antonio Gaudí tragically died on 06/07/1926 in Barcelona. He was hit by a tram not far from the Sagrada Familia. The architect at the end of his life behaved strangely, walked in an untidy form, so he was brought to a hospital for the poor, in which he died. Buried in the Sagrada Familia.
Origins of the architect’s own style
Neo-Gothic reigned in Western Europe at that moment. In his youth, Gaudí adhered to the ideas of such neo-Gothic representatives as the French architect Viollet-le-Duc (the largest restorer of Gothic temples in the 19th century, who restored, in particular, Notre Dame Cathedral) and the English art historian John Ruskin, author of the article “Decorativeness is the beginning architecture”, which completely coincided with the thoughts of Gaudi himself and for many years was the code of his work. However, he was most influenced by Catalan Gothic, which combined European and Moorish motifs in an interesting way. It is this combination that permeates the architecture of Antoni Gaudí.
This building was built in 1880-83. During its construction, the architect applied the polychrome effects characteristic of ceramic cladding. The buildings of Gaudí, built in his “mature” period, are distinguished by the use of this technique. This Gaudí house was built for the owner of the ceramics factory, M. Vicens, and looked like a fairy-tale palace. In an effort to realize the desire of the building’s customer, the industrialist Vicens, to see the “kingdom of ceramics” in this house, the architect used iridescent multi-colored majolica tiles to cover the walls, decorated the ceilings with stucco “stalactites”, and installed fancy gazebos and lanterns in the courtyard.
The residential building itself and the buildings in the garden made up a wonderful architectural ensemble, for the creation of which Gaudí first tried his signature techniques: ceramic decoration in large quantities, plastic flowing forms, bold combinations of elements of different styles, contrasts of dark and light, vertical and horizontal elements, etc.
House Vicens can be considered a kind of dialogue with the architecture of the Arab world. The asymmetry of the facades, broken roof lines, forged gratings, bright ceramics are the main features of Casa Vicens.
In 1883-85 El Capriccio was designed by Gaudi. This building is a summer mansion located in the village of Comillas on the Cantabrian coast. For its construction, the principle of horizontal distribution of space was used, the windows of the rooms are brought out into the valley, which descends to the sea. The kitchen and utility rooms are located on the ground floor. The first floor contains large halls, living rooms, guest bedrooms and bathrooms. Passing through the gallery, you can come from each bedroom to the central room of the entire building – the salon-living room.
From the outside, the building is finished with brick and ceramic tiles. The main façade is distinguished by rustication painted in gray and ocher colors, which is distinguished by a rough relief. The cladding of the first floor is made using multi-colored bricks, which are laid out in wide rows. Brick rows alternate with narrow strips of majolica slabs and relief casts of sunflower inflorescences.
Works commissioned by Eusebio Güell
In 1883, Antonio Gaudí first met Eusebio Güell, a major textile industrialist who became the architect’s regular customer and best friend. For 35 years, until the death of his patron, Gaudí created for him and his family everything that is needed for life, from household items to mansions and parks. Guell was the richest man in Catalonia at that time, he had a good aesthetic taste and could order any dream for himself. Thanks to him, Gaudi found what any creator needs: complete freedom of expression.
Antonio Gaudí’s architecture includes the pavilions of the estate in Pedralbes near Barcelona, designed especially for the Guell family, the wine cellars in Garraf, the crypts and chapels of the Colonia Guell and the Park Guell in the Catalan capital, which is no less famous than all Gaudí’s houses in Barcelona.
In 1884-87 the architectural ensemble of the Güell estate near Barcelona was created. Walls decorated with mosaics created from ceramic tiles are a hallmark of many of Gaudí’s buildings. The most famous buildings in Park Güell and on the estate are the “Greek Temple” (a building intended for a covered market), where the architect built 86 columns, and the winding “Endless Bench”, which is several hundred meters long.
This park allowed Gaudí to realize ideas that can be seen in the wild and never seen before in architecture. All structures look like they have grown out of the ground and form an integral ensemble that looks very organic with all the variety of forms.
The genius of Gaudí manifested itself in full measure in such projects as the architect’s own house-museum, the monastery of St. Teresa, the house of Calvet.
In 1891, the architect received an order for a new cathedral in Barcelona – the Sagrada Familia (that is, the temple of the “Holy Family”). This building was the maximum manifestation of his imagination. Realizing the great importance of this building as a symbol of the entire national revival of Catalonia, Gaudí completely concentrated on its construction from 1910th year, placing his own workshop here.
The style of the cathedral is similar to Gothic, but it also contains something new, more modern. This building can accommodate a choir with 1,500 singers, 5 organs, and a children’s choir of 700 people. The cathedral was to become a major center of Catholicism. Its construction was supported by the then Pope Leon the 13th.
Although Gaudi was engaged in the construction of this temple for 35 years, he managed to build and decorate only the Nativity facade, which in a constructive sense represents the eastern part of the transept, with 4 towers above it, while the western part of the apse, which makes up most of the entire monumental Cathedral, remains unfinished to this day. The construction of the Sagrada Familia continues to this day.
This is one of Gaudí’s most famous buildings, built in 1904-06. and became the fruit of his original fantasy, which had a purely literary origin. The house is the epitome of the story of St. George slaying the dragon. The 2 lower floors resemble the skeleton of a dragon, the wall – dragon skin, the roof with a peculiar pattern – a dragon spine. On the roof there is a small tower and chimneys, which have various intricate shapes. They are finished with ceramics and combined into several groups.
In the Casa Batlló project, color harmony and material plasticity were masterfully used. The sculptural decoration of the building looks like it consists of living forms that are frozen for only a moment. The completion of this decor is the design of the roof, which resembles a dragon’s back.
Among the architectural masterpieces of Gaudí is the House of Mila (1906-10), the famous Art Nouveau building, which was nicknamed “La Pedrera” (i.e. “quarry”) because of its quirkiness. It is a 6-storey apartment building located on the corner, with 2 courtyards and 6 light wells.