- 1. Antoni Gaud i Cornet (Reus, 25th of June 1852 - Barcelona, 10th of June 1926).The work of the Spanish and Catalan architect Gaud reflects his belief that an entirely new kind ofarchitecture was possible.Gaud turned away from current techniques and accepted practices, inspired by nature and his ownvivid imagination.Thus, the roof of a building could resemble a mountain with its ridges and slopes. Ceilings couldlook like the wind-and water-worn walls of caves, and columns could suggest the stout, sturdy legsof elephants.Antoni Gaud (1852-1926) is one of Catalonias geniuses with the most universal appeal, its best-known architect internationally.Barcelona is proud to be the setting for the best examples of his work. In Barcelona, you can see indetail the marvels produced by the complete architect, which is what Gaud, one of our best culturalambassadors in the world, was.UNESCO has classified much of his work as World Heritage sites: in 1984, Parc Gell and PalauGell, the park and house named after his patron, and the Casa Mil, better-known as La Pedrera: in2005, his famous cathedral, the Sagrada Famlia, two more houses, the Casa Vicens and CasaBatll, and the Colnia Gell Crypt. However, his entire legacy comprises artistic and cultural sitesthat are a must for a visit to Barcelona!Born into a family of coppersmiths, Antoni Gaud always proudly cited this family trade as theorigin of his personal vision and understanding of space. He was born in Reus (Baix Camp) in 1852and went to Barcelona in 1870 to study architecture. He combined this with working in the studiosof various architects and masons.Gauds works, which were mainly constructed in the city of Barcelona, can be divided into fourperiods. During the first, from 1878 (when he graduated) to 1882, his works were of an urban andsocial nature. The following stage, during which he began to work on the Temple of the HolyFamily (the Sagrada Famlia), is marked by the effort to transcend historical styles and achieve hisown visual and structural forms. These two basic aspects are what define Gauds style. He makesfree and personal use of Islamic art and of Gothic and Baroque styles.The years from 1900 to 1917 were his most creative and innovative period, in which he developedhis most characteristic style: this is the period when he transformed Casa Batll and built ParcGell, the Colnia Gell church, the Casa Mil (known as La Pedrera) and the Sagrada FamliaSchool. Finally, from 1918 until he was run over and killed by a tram in 1926, Gaud dedicatedhimself to building the Sagrada Famlia church.
2. Church of the Sacred FamilyGauds partialy completed Church of the Sacred Family rises over Barcelona, as famous a symbolfor this city as the Eiffel Tower is for Paris or the Golden Gate Bridge is for San Francisco. Gaudstarted work on the huge structure more than a hundred years ago, and left it less than half finishedat the time of his death. Today the church is an astounding combination of spiraling forms, colorfulceramic decorations, and sculptures of religious figures.As envisioned by Gaud, the huge structure was to have faades showing the birth, death, andresurrection of Christ. Towering over them, tall spires were planned to represent the TwelveApostles, the Four Evangelists, and Mary, the mother of Christ. A final central tower, representingChrist, was to project a upward to a height of 500 feet.In his later years, Gaud turned his complet attention to work on the church. Unfortunately, no planswere prepared to indicate how he wanted construction to continue if something were to happen tohim. Then, on a morning in 1926, Gaud stepped in front of a speeding trolley. Three days later hedied, taking with him the only vision of the completed Church of the Sacred Family.Since Gauds death, the church has undergone a checkered history of starts and stops.Critics claim that Gauds vision has been distorted over the years, but they cannot suggest anysolutions to the problem. 3. ModernismThe Catalan Art Nouveau cultural movement, which demonstrated extraordinary vitality and artisticqualities, is one of Barcelonas main tourist attractions and one of the most convincing reasons forgetting to know the city. Even today, Modernisme, as it is known locally, still characterises the city,giving it a very special charm. It is the style of many buildings here and you can see it clearly foryourself at various city museums and historical houses.Modernisme influenced other arts, even leaving its mark in the smallest details of everyday objects.The movement combined elements of modernity with cultural revival and was driven by a group ofintellectuals who did not limit themselves to promoting architecture, the cornerstone ofModernisme, but also sculpture, painting, graphic arts, literature, the theatre, music and thedecorative arts, as well as reviving old craft skills, which the great architects really knew how toexploit.Gaud may be the best-known representative of Catalan Modernisme, but there are others, whoremain in his shadow. Some of their work is also a must if you are interested in this movement:Llus Domnech i Montaner, Josep Puig i Cadafalch,...Institut Pere Mata (Reus) Casa Rull (Reus)Llus Domnech i MontanerLlus Domnech i Montaner Casa Navs (Reus) Llus Domnech i Montaner 4. Barcelona Modernism RouteThe easiest way to discover Barcelona Modernista is to follow the Modernisme Route, one of theBarcelona Landscape Routes. It was inaugurated in 1997 as a result of the growing interest in anartistic and intellectual movement that left an architectural and intellectual heritage in Barcelonaand all round Catalonia.Since 2005, the Barcelona Modernisme Route has been redesigned. It now includes 115 sites,representing the best examples of Barcelona Modernisme.The route takes you round the work of the three main Catalan Modernista architects: Antoni Gaud(1852-1926), Llus Domnech i Montaner (1850-1923) and Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867-1956).Together with other architects, they made Barcelona the world capital of Modernisme. On the route,you will be able to take a good look at the impressive mansions, amazing houses and majormonuments, like the Sagrada Famlia cathedral, the Palau de la Msica Catalana concert hall andthe huge, magnificent Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. But you will also see more ordinary oreveryday examples of the work of these architects, like chemists, shops, lampposts and benches. 5. Gauds Work to visitBarcelona: Church of Sacred Family.http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/ La Pedrera / Mil house.http://www.lapedreraeducacio.org/eng/index.htm Batll house.http://www.casabatllo.es/en/ Gell Park.http://www.parkguell.es/ Vicens house.http://www.casavicens.es/ Modernism Route.http://www.rutadelmodernisme.com/default.aspx?idioma=en&contenido=body_rutamodernisme_01en.htmReus: Gauds house (where he was born in 1852)http://www.reusturisme.cat/en/visitar/ruta-gaudi Capsa Gaud (Gauds work Museum)http://www.gaudicentre.cat/ Salvador Vilaseca Museum. Modernism Route.http://www.reusturisme.cat/en/visitar/ruta-modernismeMontserrat: The Salnitre Caves (They inspired Gaud)http://www.collbato.cat/turisme/coves-del-salnitre.htm