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Gaudí's biographyFountainStreetlamps Plaça ReialMataro Cooperative
Casa VicensEl CaprichoGüell PavillionsEpiscopal palaceColegio Theresiano
Güell PalaceCasa de los BotinesCasa CalvetCrypt of Colonia GüellBellesguard
Casa Battló Casa MiláParc GüellLa Sagrada Familia

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852- 1926)


Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was born the 25th of June 1852 in Reus, Catalonya. His father was a smith and other family members were potters. Gaudí himself was very soon interested in crafts like baking tiles, woodworks and bricklaying, and he got the talent to make three-dimensional objects. Gaudí moved to Barcelona around I869 where he started studying architecture. Gaudí was a bachelor, and his widower father and niece came to live with him later. During his studies he took part in public works, like the fountain of the Ciutadellapark and he designed the lampposts for the Plaça Reial. He finished studying in 1878. Because of his socialist points of view, he joined immediately after finishing his studies the workers cooperation, 'Cooperative Mataro', which resulted in the building of their headquarters. But very soon he came in contact with the intellectual and aristocratic elite of the city, and even became part of them later on. Eusebio Güell, a rich textile merchant was charmed by Gaudí's works, which resulted in lots of building orders. The young Gaudí was influenced by neo-Gothic architecture, but he felt the need to mix those styles with something new. Together with other Barcelonese architects, a new style was developed to express the Catalan nationalist feeling : Modernism. But Gaudí's style was different, and maybe that's why he is without doubt the most famous architect of this period. The rich aristocracy supported him, as did most of the sculptors ,painters and architects who worked for him. His initial success was due to the support of older architects like Juan Martorell, and to his many important friends, like Bishop Grau. Gaudí had a strong character, and was very independent. His ideas were, opposite to his spectacular works, very conservative as he belonged to the right wing High Church aristocrats. Until 1900, Gaudí was capable of mixing neo-Gothic and Modernism. From around 1900 onwards, he experimented freely and his work became more spectacular. In 1910 Gaudí’s work came to the attention of the outside world when Gull paid for an exhibition of Gaudí’s work in Paris, which attracted a widespread public. Although his standing was high in Barcelona by 1911, many people thought Gaudí was mad, but they understood what motivated him : his obsession with religion,and his dedication to Catalan nationalism. He was appreciated for the fact that he tried to give Barcelona its own identity, but nevertheless the buildings like Palau Guell, Casa Batllo,Casa Mila and the stylistic exaggerations of the Sagrada Familia made him more and more vulnerable to public abuse.
In his later years Gaudí became a recluse, saddened by the deaths of his father and closest friends, like Guell. Because his most important client had died and the extravagant Modernism died out as a style, he devoted himself to the building of the Sagrada Familia. During the last years of his life he lived in the crypt of the church, and was completely obsessed with religion. His designs became less fanciful and much more dramatic. In 1926 Gaudí died in an accident, as he got caught by a tram. He died, not being recognized, between the poor in the Hospital de Sant Pau.

Works Gaudí

Fountain Ciutadellapark 1876 - 1882
During his studies, Gaudí got the opportunity to participate in the building of the Ciutadellapark, as assistant of architect Fontseré. His participation was limited to the building of the fountain, and some metalwork railings.
Located at Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona

Streetlamps of the Plaça Reial 1878 - 1879
Also during his studies he designed the lamppost for this new square. Thanks to the experience he gained with working with metal in the railings of the Ciudadellapark, he knew he was able to work properly with this material.
Located at Plaça Reial, Barcelona

Mataro Cooperative 1878 - 1882
Being a member of this workers organization, Gaudí designed this headquarters and factory for this cooperation, ' La obrera Mataronese '. Only a clubhouse and the wooden machineshed were built.
Located at Maresme Spain.

Casa Vicens 1878 - 1885
Gaudí's first important building for a private client was this summerholiday house for tilemerchant Manuel Vicens. Plans were made in 1879, but the constructionworks only took place between 1883 and 1885. It was built in the Néo - Mudejar style, with bricks, almost completely covered with colored glazed tiles ( manufactured by the owner of the house ofcourse ), and wrought iron decorations. The structure of the house itself was also important, as it was the first time Gaudí used a typical Catalan archstructure, which he would use many more times later.
Located at Carrer dels Carolines 24, Barcelona

El Capricho 1883 - 1885
Gaudí built this summerhouse for Maximo Diaz de Quijano, popularly known as 'the caprice'. He looked for surprising details and effects with colored tiles accentuating the structural details.
Located at Comillas, Santander

Güell Pavillions 1884 - 1887
Gaudí has built for this countryhouse the pavilions at the entrance, including a porters lodge, stables, gateways and railings. Gaudí's fascination for dragons is very obvious : the dragongate looks quite scary.
Located at Avinguda de Pedralbres 7, Barcelona

Episcopal palace 1887 - 1894
Gaudí was commissioned for this mansion by his friend, the bishop of Astorga. The building is not completely Gaudí 's work, as he stopped building when the bishop died, and other architects took over.
Located at Astorga.

Colegio Theresiano 1888 - 1890
This severe and religious teaching college needed a building with the same characteristics. As the budget was limited, Gaudí designed a rational building with little decorations. Original however where the long corridors covered with parabolic arches, symbolizing hooded nuns.
Located at Ganduxer 87, Barcelona.


Güell Palace 1886 - 1891
Eusebio Güell was a very progressive man and his house had to be a place where the intelligent, cultural elite of Barcelona could meet in a kind of a museum-like setting. This was Gaudi's first really large-scale project. Berenguer was of great help for Gaudi, as he made the preparatory drawings. The space was very limited, only 12 by 18 metros, very small to built a palace on. Because the house is situated in a narrow street, Gaudi decided to direct the building onto the inside. The facade is rather severe, but the wrought iron gate indicates it is one of Gaudi's works. Fantasy takes over in the interior and on the roof. The palace shows a wide variety of roofs, windows, doors, chimneys and stairs. Columns are present in 40 different forms, from heavy brick pillars in the cellar for the horses, to fine marble columns, based on those of the 'Alhambra palace'. Central is the courtyard with a great dome rising up like a church, and like most rooms. The roof offers a unique sight with the enormous number of chimneys being abstract sculptures, covered with glazed ceramic, marble and crystal.
Located at Nou de la Rambla 3, Barcelona

Casa de los Botines 1891 - 1894
Gaudí built this large mansion for Fernandez - Arbós of Leon, textilemerchants and friends of Eusebio Güell. The ground floor and basement were warehouses for cloths, the main part was the residence for the owners, and the rest of the building was let as flats. The house looks simple, and no bright colors were used.
Located in Leon.

Casa Calvet 1898 - 1904
This house was built for textile manufacturer Pedro Calvet. It's a typical bourgeois house, and the façade isn't that spectacular. It's his most conventional building. Gaudí was at that time still searching for his personal style.  He experimented with an illuminated courtyard and staircases, using the Baroque art as an example. Gaudi designed a large amount of furniture for this house.
Located at Carrer de Caps 48, Barcelona

Crypt of Colonia Güell 1898 - 1915
Güell wanted a workers colony with a church, round his factory. Berenguer was in charge for most of the building of the colony, but Gaudí made designs for the church. The construction was made of domes made of brick and plaster. He worked for almost 20 years on this project.
Located at Santata Coloma de Cervelló

Bellesguard 1900 - 1909
This property had been the summerhouse of the last Catalonian king, Marti 1. The outside looks Gothic, but the inside is typical for Gaudí. Much attention was given to the roof, the attic and the courtyard. There are some beautiful details, like the iron gate and stained glass windows.
Located at Carrer Bellesguard, Barcelona

Casa Battló 1904 - 1906
Gaudí carried out the restoration of this old building for the textile manufacturer Battló. A new roof, façade and interior had to be designed. At this time Gaudí had found his own personal style, and didn't use historical styles as an example anymore. This has become in every way a spectacular building. The façade and roof are in colorful mosaic, the balconies look like facial bones of giant animals, and the roof represents the back of a prehistoric animal. The interior was also marvelous, with openings trough which light penetrates throughout the house. The staircase courtyard is impressive by form. The furniture he designed for this house is displayed at Casa Gaudí in Parc Guell.
Located at Passeig de Gracia 43, Barcelona

Casa Milá ( La Pedrera) 1906 -1910
This was his last private commission before he devoted himself to religious projects. Gaudí was free to design this corner block of apartments the way he wanted. His goal was to create a completely new form of housing. The ideas for it developed out of the ideas of the Casa Battló, but go even further in exaggeration and distortion. With this building Gaudí shows to be a genius of great intelligence and with an enormous creativity. La Pedrera is the architectural demonstration of his interpretation of nature : the massive blocks of stone of the façade recall the mountains, the curves of the façade reflect the sea, and the ironworks represent plants and flowers. Gaudí once said that there are no straight lines in nature', and that's why the building has a completely curvilinear form. In contrast with other of his buildings, the façade was not colorful, as he wanted the inhabitants to grow flowers and plants on their balconies, to add color to the walls. The building has no reinforcing walls, and is supported by stone or brick columns and metalwork, some of those pillars are visible in the inner courtyard. The roof is vaulted by hundreds of brick arches, visible on the top floor. Every corner is asymmetrical, with niches everywhere. On the roof fantasy and abstract surrealism takes over. Stairs wind between abstract formed chimneys, under colorful mosaic arches and round ventilators, looking like hooded people. In my opinion this is one of the most fantastic buildings of that period. Because of the extravagance of the building , Gaudí got a lot of negative reactions on this project. As he was tired of defending himself, he decided to devote himself to the building of religious projects. The building had been neglected, until the 1980's when it was renovated, and from that moment it became a very important tourist attractions in Barcelona.
Located at Passeig de Gracia 92, Barcelona.

Parc Güell 1900 -1914
Count Eusebio Güell, one of the wealthiest men of Catalonya, admired English garden cities, and wanted to create a residential garden suburb, for which he commissioned Gaudí. This was his first urban development project. Pedestrian paths and roads climbed on the mountain, trough trees, overlooking the city. Central a large square was built, with a covered lower part serving as a marketplace, and on top, an open air theater for recreational, cultural or social events, also serving as a surface for the collection of rainwater in a gigantic cistern placed underneath. At the main entrance of the park, there was a high wall to give the inhabitants of this isolated area a secure feeling. Also at the entrance there was a porter's lodge and an office built( the one with the cross on top). Right in front of the entrance are the cascades and dragonfountain, designed by Jujol. Gaudí got a lot of assistance for this projects : Jujol made lots of decorative elements for and Berenguer worked out the calculations and practicalities, and designed one house, Casa Gaudí , where Gaudí lived in during the building of the park. The covered marketplace exists of 100 classical Doric columns, supporting the upper part, and creating a very mysterious atmosphere. The open air theater is surrounded with a gigantic serpentine bench, decorated with spectacular mosaics. The form of the bench was created by one of the workmen, lying in a bed of plaster. It took five years only to build the bench, but it has become without doubt a masterpiece. It was the intention to create a real village, but only three houses were built. Project Parc Güell failed, as no investors were found, and when World War I broke out, the building stopped completely. The park remained the private garden of the Güell family, until the 1920's, when the family handed it over to the municipality, to use it as a public park.
Located at Carrer d'Olot, Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia 1883 - 1926
Gaudí wasn't the first nor the last architect to work on this gigantic project. In 1869 a catholic businessman, Bocabella, wanted to found a church together with a school for children of the working class. This was why until 1900 it was called the cathedral of the poor, but in 1905, when middle-class became powerful, the cathedral became a symbol for Barcelona. The owners of the church were the 'spiritual association of the devotees of Saint Joseph'. Architect Fransesc Paula del Villar was commissioned to build the cathedral in 1882, but after he started the building of the neo Gothic crypt, he withdraw from the project and Gaudí took over. First he completed Villar's crypt and choir, and it was only years later, in the late 1890's that Gaudí's own style began to dominate. Gaudí was completely dedicated to what became his last project before his sudden death. He lived in the crypt of the church, between scale models and plans. Nature and religion were his most important subjects, and he was obsessed with imitating the exact forms of nature. His assistants made hundreds of photographs, drawings and scale models of natural forms, animals, plants and human bodies. He wanted to give every part of the church a different theme. The three major façades represent Birth, Passion and Death, and Glorification, with four towers at each façade, twelve in total (one for each apostle). The towers are 107 meters tall, have a structure of vertical ribs, surrounded by horizontal rings and are full of references to nature. The spires are real masterworks, existing of concrete decorated with colorful mosaic and glass. Every part of the building should be considered as a project on its own, as it is so detailed and varied. The facade of the Nativity, for example is full of details, like the representation of the massacre of the innocents,but in general it looks like frond-like or wave-like forms which ripple up the portal. The outline forms of the towers, and the general appearance intended had probably been fixed by around 1906. Gaudi finished the crypt, the apse and the Nativity façade, the rest was finished by colleagues. One spire was completed just after Gaudi’s death, the other three soon after. Gaudi left a number of models for the completion of the nave and the other two main facades. Some time after Gaudi's death in 1926, the building was stopped and in 1936 a fire destroyed most of the preparatory drawings and photographs. From 1940 on, the construction works were started again, which was not easy because almost no plans were left. Until now it is still not completed only eight towers are finished now. Gaudí would have hated the fact that his building has become a commercial tourist attraction, and not a religious symbol. Question is if the cathedral will ever be finished, not only because it's too expensive to build, but to keep the myth alive.
Located at Plaça de La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona



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