Barcelona Sights to See - Gaudi Architecture
The architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) didn't create Barcelona. After all, the
city is over 2,000 years old and the famed architect, and favorite, was active mainly
around the end of the 19th century. Much that is worthy in this Spanish
city today, however, is the result of his efforts. Just a simple list of the works he created that are still around here would fill pages. To describe them would take volumes.
Unquestionably the most well known of his buildings in Barcelona has to be the Sagrada Familia, otherwise known as the Temple of the Holy Family. The
structure almost defies description. Part neo-Gothic, part neo-Baroque it is all sui generis. A series of spires topping a church begun in 1883, it is still under construction today.
The Parc Guell on nearby Montjuic, which was completed almost a century ago in 1914, is one of the architect's civil engineering projects. It is a 20-hectare expanse filled with lush greenery and art objects that visitors to Central Park in New York would envy. Whether it's the outstanding lizard sculpture or the famed enormous wavy bench, or just a touch of mosaic tile here and there, the distinctive Gaudi look is clearly evident to the perceptive visitor to Barcelona.
Another structure almost as well known and as often visited is the Casa
Milà, or La Pedrera
(The Stone Quarry). Originally designed to be a private home, it
quickly evolved into a set of individual
apartments. The organic, undulating balconies give the facade its
unique look from the street, but the organic Gaudi elements are
everywhere in and on the structure. From the ice-cream cone-shaped
chimneys to the seaweed-style wrought iron to the hushed, glowing
attic, the building is Gaudi throughout.
Several other structures of the man regarded by most as the Father of Spanish Art Nouveau demonstrate his worthiness to that title.
erected in 1907, is one of the many Gaudi buildings on the
UNESCO World Heritage
list of worthy treasures that prove the point. As
in the Casa Milà, the architect's unusual style is readily
visible. The balconies that almost resemble sections of skull around
the eye sockets combine with a colorful mosaic-like facade that seems
to be melting. The curved chimney complex set in front of an orange
clamshell roofline is yet more proof of his unique style.
Gaudi employed organic shapes everywhere, but always adapted them to
his own purposes, just as the better known Frank Lloyd Wright
always did. That is clear in the Colonia
Guell chapel. The unique arches bear the stamp of this unusual artist. Festooned with organic carvings, the
arches themselves are sharp angled, yet, at the same time, seem to blend seamlessly into a main
structure that appears almost cavelike.
In a city that is already full of outstanding architecture, Gaudi's work continues to
be regualrly and frequently visited both by locals and tourists alike.
A single glance at any of his unique buildings makes it easy to see why.
More Sights to See in Barcelona