A brief guide to the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), whose exemplary designs characterise much of Barcelona’s landscape.
In most major cities across the globe, many of the main attractions are only available to the public at a price. In Barcelona, however, it is what is on the outside that counts. Much of the visual beauty of the city is due to the efforts of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, and his work can be admired in a variety of locations.
Arguably his most famous piece, Barcelona’s cathedral La Sagrada Familia is a sight not to be missed, even in its unfinished state. With Gaudi’s untimely death (hit by a car while crossing the street), and the country’s dire financial state after the Spanish Civil War, hindering its completion; the tallest tower of La Sagrada Familia currently boasts a height of almost 400 feet. This tower already soars high above the surrounding buildings, and yet it is due to be improved upon by architects in the near future. Like many architectural wonders, much of La Sagrada Familia remains surrounded by scaffolding to preserve its structure. However, Gaudi’s independent gothic style provokes mass admiration from tourists every year, and patrons are still able to access the vast majority of rooms in the building, from the crypt to the towers.
Wealthy industrialist Eusebi Güell provided much of the funding for Gaudi’s work to progress, which prompted the creation of the scenic Park Güell a little farther North. Gaudi has renovated one of the greener areas of the Gràcia district of Barcelona to add some of his trademark curvaceous architecture to an idyllic location. Visitors that trek to the very top of El Carmel are treated to a broad view of the Spanish cityscape, where even the beaches of Barcelona are visible on a clear day. For those not so venturous, the park has a vast plateau that exhibits independent stalls and frequent forms of entertainment, all surrounded by stone seating sprinkled with colourful ceramic tiles.
Gaudi Across Barcelona
There are many other decorative features of Barcelona that are the products of Gaudi, including the rippling facade of Casa Vicens, and the more subtly pleasant Casa Calvet. The majority of his creations are available for public viewing, even though many exist as commercial or residential buildings. Even if such architecture is not of interest, then Barcelona’s commercial centre remains just as friendly on the eye, with the spacious Plaça Catalunya and notorious Las Ramblas high street leading to a succession of sweeping beaches on the Mediterranean coast. Whether a trip to Barcelona is for the purpose of education, consumption or relaxation, it is undeniable that much of its aesthetic appeal is thanks to the pioneering architect Antoni Gaudi.