We tried to visit as many builings designed and build by Gaudi in Barcelona but we didn't have enough time. Here are some of the pictures we made of the buildings we visited. This page will soon be updated with the photographs we made in September 2008!
Casa Vicens (Carrer de les Carolines, 1883-1888)
Casa Vicens was the first important building by Gaudi. It was build in assignment of the tile manufacturer Manuel Vicens Montaner. Gaudi recreates the mudejar-style, which was often used in Barcelona at that time, and surpasses it in this building. The combination of tiles and bricks is very eye-catching.
Pavilions Güell (1884-1887)
Between 1884 and 1887 Gaudi built the pavilions of the gatelodge and the horsestables on the land that the family Güell owned at Les Corts. This was the first assignment from Güell, who would later become his patron and best client. Unfortunately, the park was closed when we were there and we could only see what towered above the enclosure.
Palau Güell (Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 1886-1888)
In the street Carrer Nou de la Rambla (a side street of the Ramblas) stands a majestic palace which Gaudi build for Güell and Bacigalupi. Güell didn't want a normal house, but a palace, to brag about against his friends and where concerts and exhibitions could be held.
Because the street is quite narrow it is almost impossible to make a picture of the whole building. Therefore only a picture of the dragon at the entrance.
Colegio Teresiano (1888-1890)
This building was an assignment of father Enric d'Osso, founder of the order of Teresian nuns. Unlike other projects, Gaudi had to submit himself to a rigorous financial accuracy. Because of that and the religious purpose of the building, it became one of the most sober buildings made by Gaudi. This soberness should be limited to the outside appearance of the building, but we couldn't get in, so we haven't seen it for ourselves. The building is very large and it is hard to get a good overview of it entirely.
Casa Calvet (Carrer Casp, 1898-1900)
This is probably the most 'boring' building Gaudi ever made and it is also the only one for which he received a decoration from the city council of Barcelona. Probably these two things are connected somehow, for the only assignments Gaudi ever got from the city were designs for lampposts. Nevertheless there are many symbolic details on and in this building, clearly showing Gaudi's personal style.
In the beginning of the 15th century, Martin I (the Humane) ordered a country house to be build at the bottom of the Collserola mountains which he called Belleguard (nice view). On the same spot Gaudi, five centuries later, constructed a building in a remarkable neogothic style, for Maria Saques Molins. We had no time left to visit it in 2001, but in 2004 we were in the neighbourhood and the gate was open.
Eusebi Güell wanted to build a residential area on an estate on the mountain Muntanya Pelada in the district La Salut, which had to be inspired by the garden-city concept. Here, the return to a healthful and natural state was propagated, a flight from the unhealthy city. Gaudi was busy with the construction of the park from 1900 until 1914 and went to live there himself, in 1906. Of the planned 60 houses, only two were build, for lack of interest and financial problems. The two houses that have been finished could have been taken unchanged from some fairy tale. Near the houses is a large temple with pillars. The lizard is connected to the water reservoir which is located under the colonnade. The several colonnades in the park appear to be natural formed caves and are strongly in contrast with other eye-catching and colorful elements, like the two fairy-tale houses.
The house where Gaudi lived from 1906 until his death in 1926 is also in Parc Güell. Nowadays it is a museum with furniture made by Gaudi himself. You can easily see the detail and craftsmanship that he put into his work. And unlike modern furnishings like recliners, conference room chairs and sofas that are built mainly for comfort first, the chairs and other furniture Gaudi built were all about style and how they looked.
We can surely recommend a visit to this park, but take your time when you are there, at least 3 or 4 hours. We think most of Gaudi's works are highlights, but this is probably the most pleasant to walk through.
Casa Batllo (Passeig de Gracia, 1904-1907)
Josep Batllo Casanovas asked Gaudi to rebuild this house dating from 1877. The people of Barcelona at that time were very amazed about the building and soon it got nicknames like the house of caves and the house of yawns. The 2nd and 3rd picture have been made in 2001, the others when we could visit the inside of the building in 2004.
In 2004 it is 100 years ago thet Gaudi started the rebuilding of Casa Battlo and although the entrance fee is high (€ 16) we think a visit is really worthwhile. There is almost no straight line to be found iinside this amazing house and up to the roof it looks like coming from a fairy-tale.
Casa Mila (Passeig de Gracia, La Pedrera, 1906-1912)
The rich couple Mila-Segimon wanted a building on the Passeig de Gracia and hired the most famous (and most expensive) architect: Gaudi. The building not only created a monumental building, but also many differences of opinion between Gaudi and his customers. Gaudi was quite bitter by this and maybe that has made a contribution to the fact he never again made a non-religious building. More pictures will follow soon.
La Sagrada Familia (1883-1926)
La Sagrada Familia is the life work of Gaudi, if only because he has been the main architect of this project for more than 40 years. The last 12 years of his life he was only working on this cathedral, not only as an architect, but also as an individual. The last years of his life it seemd as if the building directed his thinking and feeling more than the other way around. Gaudi shaped himself during the construction and the changes in the building plans seemed to affect and guide him personally. A human coming into being, never finished, always being formed and reformed.
Therefore, a lot of people are of the opinion the Sagrada should never be finished, if only for symbolic reasons. Architects either think the cathedral is hideous or are of the opnion that it's charms would be best showed by leaving it unfinished. And maybe that is how it would express Gaudi's views best. 'A finished painting is dead, it only lives while it is being painted,' Picasso once said (by the way, Gaudi detested Picasso). Maybe this is also true about this building. It is true the intended final result is based on sketches of Gaudi, and no matter how impressive the end result will be, it is certainly worth visiting this unfinished building while one still can fantasise about the result. The original building plans were lost during the Civil War.
The first time we came out of the metro station near the Sagrada Famila and we climbed the stairs to the surface, we had the feeling someone was watching us from behind. When we turned around we saw the Sagrada towering above us. A very impressive first sight.
For more information about the Sagrada Familia and the perception Gaudi had of it, we refer to the websites mentioned below. For us it will always be a miracle anyone could have ever come up with this idea to shape a cathedral like this. We can only admire such a unique and brilliant architect who has left this unfinished legacy to the world and the future...
© Teije and Elisabeth 2000 - 2016