Some architects love to push their boundaries, designing or creating something as too whimsical as architecture. Extravagant, shape-shifting structure drawn from a variety of inspirations, Antoni Gaudí’s works are molded from geometry and nature forms. Antoni Gaudí, Catalan in full Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, was a Catalan Spanish Architect who was at the peak of his career in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries.
Gaudi and Modenism
Because of his highly Catholic beliefs and background, religion was certainly an important part of his designs. Also, he did not draw detailed plans and drawings of his buildings. For instance, he preferred to create 3D scale models. Initially, oriental arts from India, Persia, and Japan-inspired Gaudi. Moreover, the ideas of French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc also influenced him. Therefore, he designed most of his buildings in the Neo-Gothic style. As a result of these influences, Antoni Gaudí became part of the Modernista movement. In other words, the Modernista movement is an organic style. It is inspired by natural forms.
Gaudí is usually considered the God’s Architect of Catalan Modernism because his works go beyond his own style and classification. He was known because of his highly individualized style. Firstly, his early projects were lampposts that he designed for the Placa Reial in Barcelona, the Girossi newsstands, and the Co-operative Obrera Mataronense building. Therefore showcasing his works in the Paris World’s Fair of 1878, Catalan industrialist Eusebi Güell noted Antoni Gaudí. Further, Eusebi Güell commissioned most of his work. After that, his career progressed into many landmark projects.
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Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, or Sagrada Família) – 1883
Sagrada Familia is linked to a number of influences mainly Spanish Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism or Art Nouveau, The church receives various splitting opinions from the residents of Barcelona because of its highly visionary architecture. However, this still incomplete building is Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece. The construction began in 1882 and in 1883 Gaudí became the principal architect completely changing the initial design and plans for the building and crafted it into his own distinctive style combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Above all, until he died in 1926, he devoted himself deeply to this project.
In 1900, Antoni Gaudí received the award for the Best Building of the Year from the Barcelona City Council for Casa Calvet. After that his earliest influences from Oriental and Neo-Gothic architecture, he embarked on a more distinct individual phase of searching for a way to give his own expressions to forms in architecture.
The Palau Güell (Güell Palace) – 1886-1888
Designed for the industrialist Eusebi Güell, the Palau Güell is one of Antoni Gaudi’s earliest projects. Because of its mansion-like look, it is termed a palace.
The Park Güell – 1900-1914
Besides architecture, Antoni Gaudí also worked on the landscape as well as urban design projects. The Park Güell is a public park system in Barcelona that consists of gardens on Carmel Hill. He tried to place his buildings integrating them with the surrounding urban fabric. The park construction began in 1900 and completed in 1914. It officially opened as a public park in 1926.
Gaudí received a major of his projects from Eusebi Güell because they shared a common liking for Catholicism and the Catholic faith.
The Casa Batlló (Batlló house) – 1904-1906
A remodel of the previous house built in 1877, Gaudí redesigned the house in 1904. The local name for the building is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), because it has a visceral, skeletal organic look. Mainly identifiable as part of the Modernisme and the Art Nouveau styles and looks very remarkable statement to Gaudí’s design style.
The Casa Milà (Milá house) – 1905-1910
The house is locally known as La Pedrera because of the rough-hewn undulating curved façade. The building is a combination of ruled geometry and naturalistic elements.
The Casa Batlló and the Casa Milà are considered to be the two most emblematic works of his entire profession.
Not only with a keen eye for architecture, but Antoni Gaudi also mastered other forms of craft and workmanship like sculpture, carpentry, wrought ironwork, stained glass, ceramics, plaster modeling, etc. A combination of wrought ironwork along with reinforced concrete construction is common in most of his buildings. Because of this unique juxtaposition, he was able to achieve harmonious and well-proportioned designs.
Certainly, his architectural style still receives mixed opinions and criticism. Further, several of Gaudí’s works have the World Heritage Status by UNESCO because of his exceptional and creative contribution in the field of architecture and building construction.
- In 1984 – the Park Güell, the Palau Güell and the Casa Milá.
- In 2005 – the Nativity façade, the crypt and the apse of the Sagrada Familia, the Casa Vicens and the Casa Batlló.
In conclusion, Gaudí managed to attract unpopularity amongst professionals in the field even after his death. His architectural style is caught in a huge limbo amongst people because it was very much regarded as excessively imaginative.
On the other hand, it was only in the 1950s that his work started gaining admiration because of Salvador Dalí and Josep Lluís Sert. Likewise in 1952, which is the centenary year of the architect’s birth, the Friends of Gaudí Association was founded. He has influenced some of the notable contemporary architects like Santiago Calatrava and Norman Foster. Moreover, he has received major international appreciation because of tourists visiting his UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Most importantly since 2012, each year on June 10, World Art Nouveau Day is celebrated. It is because it was the day that Antoni Gaudi died. The day is celebrated in order to remember him and also his contribution to architecture.
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Palau Güell. (2021, February 11). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palau_G%C3%BCell
Park Güell. (2020, November 26). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_G%C3%BCell
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Sagrada Família. (2021, February 12). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagrada_Fam%C3%ADlia#Design