In the early 19th century, Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia province in Spain, experienced a cultural renaissance that inspired building architects of the time to introduce fresh flairs in building design. It was called ‘Modernisme’, the Catalan offshoot of Art Nouveau style.
As a result of this resurgence, the fresher part of city, which evolved as an annexure to the overcrowded medieval old town became studded with new-style buildings that generated a sensation in the modern architectural world.
Amid several other designs, the designs of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi became legendary.
They reflect his unconventional distinctive style, branded by freedom of shape, texture, riot of colours and use of innovative materials like broken tiles for mosaics and iron rods for ornamentation.
Some of Gaudi’s creations made it to the World Heritage listing. The most illustrated among them are Palau Güell, Casa Mila, Casa Batlló, Parc Güell and La Sagrada Familia, a monumental church whose construction is still continuing since commencement in 1883.
Palau Guell, a residential house for wealthy businessman Eusebi Guell, was Gaudi’s first major work. The building is illustrious for its elaborate style of columns,
The building is illustrious for its elaborate style of columns, arches and ceilings, which became the hallmark of Gaudi’s later works.
Casa Mila and Casa Batllo
Apartment houses Casa Mila and Casa Batllo are renowned for its wave-like façade and rooftop chimneys and vents resembling abstract figures.
Balconies and window supports of Casa Batlló, which looks like skulls and bones keep onlookers mesmerised.
Many consider Casa Mila more of a sculpture than building. The fascia is a varied and harmonious mass of surging stone that, along with its forged iron balconies, bare the irregularities of the natural world.
Parc Güell is a garden complex that houses a series of dynamically designed buildings, including Gaudí’s house. The colonnaded hall and the terrace with serpentine shapes are the most famous sites in this park.
The colonnaded hall and the terrace with serpentine shapes are the most famous sites in this park.
The bold and daring mood of Gaudi is best revealed in the construction of La Sagrada Familia, often regarded as Europe’s’ most unconventional church.
Based on the traditions of Gothic and Byzantine cathedrals, it’s undoubtedly his greatest work.
This architectural compendium comprising of towering spires and extraordinarily sculpted fasciae on all four sides reveal the best of his architectural ingenuity.
His technique of using natural light to endow the architecture with expressivity and grandeur was then unprecedented.
While hosting the Olympic Games in 1992, Barcelona once again played a critical role instigating various rejuvenating architectural plans in the city, but according to architectural aficionados nothing matches what Gaudi created a century ago.