Monday, July 25, 2011

Much of the awe and wonder that was Barcelona was due much in part to the architectural stylings of Antoni Gaudí.

Gaudí is perhaps the visionary behind the best-known representations of Catalan Modernism. Each of his works are an individual masterpiece, often marked by natural forms and religious aspects.

Not unlike Frank Lloyd Wright, Gaudí designed the entire space—exteriors, interiors, lighting and heating, hardware, furniture, fonts... in short... everything that determined a spacial experience.

Here's a few highlights:

Sagrada Familia: A brilliant combination of Gothic and Modern forms. Gaudí took over this project in 1883 and devoted the last years of his life to it, until his death in 1926. Construction has progressed slowly, and the estimated date of completion is 2026, the centennial anniversary of Gaudí's death.

Park Güell: Up a hill, overlooking the city of Barcelona is a massive garden complex. Originally part of a plan for a commercial housing site, it has sense been converted into a municipal park. The focal point of the main terrace is a winding mosaic bench, reminiscent of a sea serpent.

Caso Batlló: An apartment building built in 1877 that Gaudí restored in 1904. His goal was to avoid straight lines completely, creating a very organic space, reminiscent of the back of a dragon or dinosaur. The facade is decorated extensively with complex mosaics.

Casa Milá: Completed in 1912, Casa Milá is known for it's roof architecture, a collection of surrealistic chimneys.It also has a bench similar to the one in Park Guell, from which there is a nice view of the Eixample district.

Casa Vicens: This home was Gaudí's first important commission. He was hired in 1883 by a ceramics merchant—evident in the tile work on the facade!

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