Gaudi’s route through Spain

Catalonia is one of the autonomous communities of the Iberian Peninsula, located towards the northeast of Spain. It is made up of the provinces of Gerona, Tarragona, Lérida and Barcelona, the latter also being its capital. Barcelona always wanted to be at the forefront of modernism, and this development also splashed other parts of this province, such as Mataró and Vic. 

All thanks to the architect Gaudí, which has left a legacy of modernism, a heritage between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain. Among them in Cantabria, in the Province of León and Palma de Mallorca. The genius of this architect has been reflected in 12 spectacular works in Barcelona city. 

All of them are really worth visiting, but in this article we are only going to describe some of them; especially because they have had a lot of relevance in the public that visits them and in the quality of their good comments.

A little history about Antonio Gaudí

Antoní Gaudí was born in Barcelona in 1852 and died in 1926. He studied architecture in 2 schools and graduated in 1878 at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona. From this moment on he was in charge of several works, such as the lampposts of the Plaza Real, as well as the Girossi kiosks, the furniture for the pantheon chapel of the Sobrellano Palace, the showcase for the Esteban Comella Guanteria, among others.

In 1879 and 1882 he was in charge of the furniture for the Gilbert Pharmacy, and later for the works of the Congregation of Jesus-Maria both in Barcelona and Tarragona. He then took on the first job of building a house, the Casa Vicens in 1883, next to the work on the Temple of the Sagrada Familia, which had been started in 1882 with the project of Lozano and Francisco de Paula. 

From this moment on, he spent the rest of his life continuing this project, which was his masterpiece and a summary of all he had learned. During this same time he also took on other projects, such as a villa annexed to the Sobrellano palace in Cántabra called El Capricho, between 1883 and 1885; with a style similar to that of the Casa de Vicens, due to the ceramic cladding.

Likewise, his friend Eusebi Güel asked him to build the Güel Pavilions between 1884 and 1887. Gaudí at that stage of his career was characterized by straight lines dominating over curves, with oriental influences, basically Byzantine and Persian Mudejar. He had learned this art from the works of Jones Owen.

Gaudí’s First Commission: Casa Vicens

In 1883, the Catalan Manuel Vicens commissioned the young Antonio Gaudí to build his family summer residence. In this way, this 4-story building begins to give shape in Barcelona to the architecture of modernism, embodied both on the outside and inside of it. Its inauguration took place 5 years later.

His inspiration and style used for the construction of the house was the neo-Mudejar. Its main façade is covered with green and white ceramics in combination with brick and iron, obtaining incredible results that marked his career.

It also has a garden with a waterfall, in addition to the original chimneys and towers that bring back the memory of the Alhambra architecture. Also, in this upper part there is a viewpoint. The interior of the house features polychrome wood ceilings, in the Arab style. In 2005 the house was declared a World Heritage Site.

Some of Gaudí’s works inside Barcelona, capital of Catalonia

The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia: its construction began in 1882 but was left unfinished when the architect Gaudi died in 1926. We are talking about a gothic style cathedral. In 2021, on December 8, the Star of Mary has been added, but the original proposal is still unfinished. 

Some of the points that no one can overlook are in the Nativity, Passion and Glory façades; also, in the front of the façade are located the portals of Faith, Charity and Hope. Other facades are the crypt, the apse, the towers, among others.

The incredible Park Güell, in Barcelona: we are talking about a little more than 17 hectares, an area that houses a green space with a great diversity of species, built between 1900 and 1914, at the level of the southern slope of Mount Carmel, next to the Sierra de Collserola. It was Eusebi Güell, businessman and friend of Gaudí, who contracted him for the construction of this park.

It is a scenery where the gardens are mixed with different forms of oversized architecture, spectacular colors and where both merge, showing the naturalistic stage of the architect. The park was opened to the public in 1926 for the enjoyment of all.

The Batlló and Milá Residences: the Batlló Houses feature balconies and windows with different and very striking shapes. Built between 1904 and 1906, where the absence of straight lines can be observed, with wavy walls, in addition to Venetian style masks, many tiles and very peculiar shapes.

The Casa Mila, with a different and porous facade, in addition to the appearance resembling a honeycomb, also called La Pedrera. The name was imposed at the time because of its controversial shape, not understood at the time. It also stands out for the chimneys on the roof. 

Some traces left in the municipality of Mataró and VIC: in the municipality of Mataró in the province of Barcelona, Gaudí also left behind the famous Cooperativa Obrera Mataronenca.

A kind of factory in which today only remain the toilets, the bleaching room with its typical catenary arches made of wood and a piece of the pole, where the flag was held. Gaudí also made the drawings of the Casino, the buildings and the urbanization of the workers. 

In the municipality of VIC, which is only about 70 km from the city of Barcelona, Gaudí also made a small project on street lamps to commemorate the centenary of the birth of the philosopher Balmes. 

But his stay in VIC was very short, only 3 weeks, to take a break due to nervous depression caused by the criticism of people in relation to his style in architecture. So he made the decision to take some time away from work in 1910. In 1924 it was decided to eliminate them and only a few photographs remain as a souvenir.

Some of Gaudí’s works outside Barcelona

La Casa de Botines in the Province of León: in this province we also find some jewels of Gaudí’s architecture. In its capital, León, is located this building, built between 1891 and 1894, with a fantastic combination of neo-Gothic and modern style. In addition, in the inner part of the Casa de Botines we will find the famous Gaudí Museum.

In the Province of León, the Episcopal palace of Astorga: a project that was assigned to him for the elaboration of the Bishop’s residence between 1888 and 1898. It is a neo-gothic art combined with modernism; although from a distance it looks as if it were a temple of medieval times. Inside the palace is the Museum on the Camino de Santiago.

El Capricho de Comillas in Cantabria: also called the Villa Quijano or Gaudi’s Capricho. A beautiful residential Villa built between 1883 and 1885, in which you can see some constructions that have been inspired by different styles, such as Islamic, Spanish, Persian, Indian and Japanese.

The Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca: between 1903 and 1904 Gaudí was asked to partially restore the interior of the Cathedral, which had been built in the Middle Ages. This commission came from Bishop Pere Campins. 

The result was a spectacular baldachin at the level of the main altar. Formed by an immense crown of heptagonal shape, and at its apex was placed the sculpture of Jesus on the cross and at his feet the images of the Virgin and St. John. In this way the Catalan architect leaves his artistic mark.

Posted in Barcelona, Europe, Spain.