No trip to Barcelona is complete without visiting the architectural legacy of the city’s most famous genius, Antoni Gaudi (1852 – 1926).
Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. Gaudí considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stainded glass, wrought ironwork forging, and carpentry. He also introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as trencadís which used waste ceramic pieces.
Hemingway said of his response to viewing a Brughel for the first time that it was like a sudden blow to the solar plexus. My response to Gaudi’s architecture was a similar experience, simultaneously both visceral and staggering, a shock to the senses.
The cathedral that is Gaudi’s masterpiece in Barcelona. Started in 1920, set on fire in the Spanish civil war, and scheduled for completion within the next decade, almost a century after Gaudi’s premature accidental death in 1926 after being hit by a street tram. With nearly 3 million visitors each year, this is Spain’s biggest tourist attraction. Make sure you get your tickets at least a day in advance.
The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984 UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site. Güell and Gaudí conceived this park, situated within a natural park. They imagined an organized grouping of high-quality homes, decked out with all the latest technological advancements to ensure maximum comfort, finished off with an artistic touch of pure fantasy.
Casa Batlló is the result of a total restoration in 1904 of an old conventional house built in 1877. Gaudí used for it the typical constructive elements of the Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau) that include ceramics, stone, and forged iron. Even though it was highly criticized by the city during construction due to its radical design that broke all the bylaws of the city, in 1906 the Barcelona City Council awarded it the recognition of being one of the three best buildings of the year.
The Episcopal Palace in Astorga is only one of three Gaudi buildings erected outside of his native Catalonia.