Barcelona is worth a visit just to see the works of Catalonia’s Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). Gaudí was born close to Barcelona and was sent there at seventeen to study architecture. His teachers found him ‘difficult’ because of his ‘strange’ ways of treating structural shapes. That didn’t stop him.
Gaudí is noted for his reflection of nature in his designs, from curved construction stones, twisted iron sculptures, and brightly colored tiles arranged in mosaic patterns.
Among the 14 keys works of Gaudí in Barcelona, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, is the most famous. It is, in fact, the No.1 most visited attraction in Barcelona. This giant Basilica that has been under construction since 1883 and it’s not expected to be completed for another 30 to 80 years. Consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2010, it is a synthesis of Gaudí’s architectural theory and practice. Gaudí worked on this basilica in the last years of his life and lived long enough to see one of the bell towers completed.
Casa Mila, known as “La Pedrera,’ was constructed by Gaudí between 1906 and 1912 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage in 1984. The unique wonders of the building are found on the flat roof where Gaudí transformed the chimney and ventilation pipes into anthropomorphic sculptures.
The most important of Gaudí’s first works, however, is the Casa Vicens. It was inspired by the historicist Mudejar style, and combines stone, brick and colored tiles. Here his parabolic arch appear for the first time.
Park Guell is a city park that Gaudí designed. He applied all of his architectural knowledge, as well as, his reoccupation with urban planning, into this park. Not a single straight line can be found. Everything is curved or twisted. Gaudí’s home is also here, now a small museum of his work. Recently the city authorities reclaimed the park and established visiting hours, so as to control vendors who swarmed the area selling their wares.
In visiting Barcelona I strongly suggest you hire a guide to see all (or most) of the Gaudí’s works in the city. I would also recommend you hire Lali Badosa, a licensed guide, who started her own company BGB. Her English is perfect ( her Spanish isn’t bad either.) You can design your own tour or go with a group. Lali can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is: www.BarcelonaGuideBureau.com