It is difficult to think of Barcelona without also thinking of its most famous architect. Born in Reus Gaudi went to Barcelona at the age of 17 to study architecture and most of his work is in the city. I was familiar with Sagrada Familia and Guell Parc but I didn’t realize how prolific he was.
D and I were quite relaxed on what we wanted to see during our week away. He wanted to see Sagrada Familia and I the parc and a few other sites but once we were there I wanted to check out a few other easily accessible buildings. Below is a short tour of the Gaudl work we saw.
Guell Parc 1900 – 1914
Guell Park is situation on a hill and I would recommend taking the metro or a bus there. We on the other hand walked after walking to visit Sagrada Familia. We opted for the combined ticket with SF and Gaudi’s House which is found inside the park.
I was intrigued to discover that the park was originally meant to be a private residential space and not a public park. There wasn’t enough interest in this and only 3 houses were built. He moved into one of those houses and lived there for 20 years before moving into his work space at Sagrada Familia.
Casa Batllo 1904 – 1906
Casa Batllo is found on Passeig de Gracia. All of Gaudi’s work incorporates aspects of nature, animals, leaves, the sea. With the Casa it is particularly easy to see his influences, with the facade of the building decorated to look like it has scales.
The balconies appear to gaze down ominously upon passersby. The roof looks like a dinosaur’s head and the pillars on top look like an elephant’s leg. It all sounds like a crazy mix but it just works. The building was not completely built by him but he was commissioned to ‘spruce it up’.
Casa Mila 1906 – 1910
Casa Mila, or better known as La Pedrera (the quarry) is also found on Passeig de Gracia and was built to serve as an apartment block. I wanted to to go inside this one to go up to the roof and see the bizarre chimney stacks up close. However at almost 20 euros we decided to skip it this time around.
The wavy facade is reminiscent of waves of sand like dunes in the desert. This is the last secular building he constructed before devoting all his time to Sagrada Familia. For Gaudi I would say this is one of his more simple works as the color is lacking but I really liked it.
Sagrada Familia 1883 – 1926
A few blocks away you can see the cranes and catch glimpses. Once there it looked like a complete zoo. Thankfully we bought our tickets online so did not have to queue with everyone else. On the website it says you can print off your tickets at a local bank machine. We tried this and it didn’t work.
Skip this step! Buy your ticket online and you can pick up your ticket from the front to the right where people with their printed tickets walk through. There is a ticket agent there who only prints previously purchased tickets. This church is so meticulously designed it borders on being too much but I really did love it. There were so many stunning elements and meaning to everything that you just have to go and take it in for yourself.
My book on his works discusses how he was commissioned to built a church in New York city by a rich business man. Sketches were the only result but I can only imagine how amazing it would have been. We learned at his house that he was a devoted Christian being very humble in dress and life. It is quite amazing then to see how free he ran with his imagination.