Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) was an architect in the 19th century. He used to observe natural objects such as trees, sky, wind, sand, animals and designed the architectural structures by referring to their shapes and functions. When looking at his architecture, you can see more curves than any other buildings as he thought that the straight lines are artificial. Also, Gaudi designed the buildings, considering natural techniques such as the power of gravity operant on the building. With his intelligence, seven of his works are now listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Casa Vicent, Guell Mansion, Guell Park, Guell Park, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, and Sagrada Familia are the buildings that represent his work. Due to the sudden death of Gaudi, Sagrada Familia was left unfinished, but it is already listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In order to understand his architectural philosophy and symbolism, we will introduce the detail of the masterpieces by Gaudi that you must see in Barcelona.
Currently owned by Chupa Chups S.A.U, Casa Batllo is a redesigned house at the request of Josep Batllo. Batllo asked Gaudi to make his residence as the most spectacular building on the Gracias street. At that time, Gracias street was known as the collection of works of talented architects. At first, Batllo had originally planned to pull down the original building and build a new one, but Gaudi proposed an all-over restoration method. Eventually, the entire building was entirely renovated, with the columns' alteration, internal relocation, and an expansion of windows.
Gaudi's philosophical thoughts about architecture and nature which are designed both inside and outside of Casa Batllo, are interpreted in various ways. Similar to other works, it is said that it represents the sea, human body, and nature. Furthermore, the wall and pillars are reminiscent of animal bones, the roof reminiscent of dragon's vinyl, and the princess' balcony seems to represent the legend of Saint George, patron saint of Catalonia. Gaudi, who was also deeply considered the internal structure, arranged and designed interior in accordance with the meaning and purpose of each place. For example, large windows allow the sunlight to reach the interior as much as possible, creating a house that could communicate with the outside world.
The tour includes audio + virtual reality simulation guide, so that you can get a deeper understanding of Gaudi's thoughts.
Address : Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona
Opening Hours : daily 9:00-21:00
Admission Fee : General - Adults 25 euros, Students & 7-18 years old 22 euros / Skip the line - Adults 31 euros, Students & 7-18 years old 28 euros / VIP entrance+Photo - Adults 35 euros, Students & 7–18 years old 32 euros / free of charge under 7 years old
Casa Mila has been evaluated as an innovative structure not only in terms of design but also for the practical reason. Gaudi installed an underground parking lot and an elevator, something that people could not imagine at that time. The photo above is its rooftop. This chimney actually inspired the director of <Star Wars>. The vents on the roof symbolize fire, air, and ground.
It is also called "La Pedrera" (quarry) because of its white stone used as the main material and its rugged surface. Gaudi, who loved nature and curves, designed the building with the theme of 'mountain'. He used soft curves to structurize the exterior and interior of the building while creating a fantastic atmosphere. The building was structured with stones so that they could support it without a frame. Therefore, the inside of the building could be designed according to the owners convenience while also having enough sunlight inside the house.
Casa Mila offers an audio guide.
Address : Passeig de Gràcia, 92 08008 Barcelona
Opening Hours : Day tour 9:00-18:30 (Last entry 18:00) / Night tour 19:00-21:00
Admission Fee : Day tour - General 22 euros, 7-12 years old children 11 euros, under 6 years old free / Day tour skip the line - 29 euros, 7-12 years old 11 euros, under 6 years old free / Night tour - General 34 euros, 7-12 years old children 17 euros, under 6 years old free
* Ticket office chrges an extra 3 euros
The worldwide public is waiting for the complete construction of this building, Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Gaudi devoted himself to the design and construction of this cathedral until his accidental death. At that time, only 1/4 of the construction was completed and even now his disciples are still working on it. It has been under construction for 136 years.
Gaudi considered the gravitational forces acting on high buildings like the Sagrada Familia when he designed this cathedral at first. He thought of it from an engineering approach. Even though computer simulation wasn't invented at that time, Gaudi tried to figure out the principle. He hung up the chain in an arch shape and studied the structure of gravity and force, and the Sagrada Familia Cathedral was designed based on this study.
On the exterior wall of the cathedral, the stories in the Bible are well represented according to Gaudi's beliefs. His sincere religious faith was revealed in symbolic ways on the walls of the cathedral. There are also parts that have inspired modern art, architecture, and movies. Based on his affection for the Sagrada Familia and faithful faith on his religion, he is now buried in the catacombs of Sagrada Familia.
The magnificence and delicacy of the architecture that appears in the exterior are impressive, but once you enter you will feel like you are in a mysterious forest. The pillars that stand straight toward the ceiling appear to have grown as if large trees stretching towards the sky. The natural light and its combination with stained glass adds sanctity and warmth to the cathedral. The stained glass windows seem to express spring, summer, autumn, and winter with their proportional harmony of blue and red light. It is recommended to visit on a sunny day to see how the sunlight is transmitted into the cathedral.
Adress : Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona
Opening Hours : November-Feburary 9:00-18:00 / March 9:00-19:00 / April-September 9:00-20:00 / October 9:00-19:00 / December 25th, 26th, January 1st, 6th 9:00-14:00
Admission Fee : General 17 euros / Including audio guide 25 euros / Guided tour 26 euros / Audio guide tour + Gaudi's house museum 27 euros / Audio guid tour + Cathedral tower observatory 32 euros
A supporter and friend of Gaudi, Guell one day asked Guadi to design a housing complex for his family on his own land. The original plan was to build a huge housing complex for the bourgeois. They were planning to include parks, playgrounds, other public facilities in this complex. However, it did not attract the attention of the wealthy, therefore, the construction was stopped in the middle and kept at the current scale until now.
At Guell Park, you can easily find Gaudi's Trencadis technique which he enjoyed to use. Trencadis is a method of constructing with a harmonious collection of broken ceramic pieces. Amongst Gaudí's Trencadis masterpieces, the lizard statue is one of the most famous and is now considered as a symbol of Barcelona.
The benches are also decorated with tiles and ceramic pieces which create a fairy-tale and fantastic image. Gaudi designed the shape of benches, considering not only beauty but also practicality. He wanted to make a place comfortable for visitors to sit down comfortably. The holes in the middle of the bench were drilled in case of rain, so that the rainwater does not accumulate and so that it flows downward allowing the water to be Then the water can be used again.
Originally, Gaudi and Guell intended to build a wealthy housing complex. Gaudí had planned to build more than 60 houses, but when 30 were completed and put on sale, only three out of those 30 were sold. Furthermore, the owners of three houses were Guell, Gaudí himself, and Gaudí's lawyer. In the end, it was not recognized by the public at that time. The house of Gaudí is well preserved in the park until now and is now used as a museum to commemorate Gaudí.
We recommend you to think about Gaudi's imagination while taking a walk in Guell park where Gaudí's architectural originality and philosophy were freely expressed with the strong support of Guell.
Address : 08024 Barcelona
Opening Hours : November-March 8:30-18:15 / March 9:00-19:00 / April 8:00 - 20:30 / April 29th - August 8:00-22:30 / August 26th - October 26th 8:00-20:30 / December 25th, 26th, January 1st, 6th 9:00-14:00 (Check the website before visiting in case)
Admission Fee : General 8.5 euros / 7-12 years old children 6 euros
You can find Gaudi's work at Reial Square (Royal Plaza) of the old town in Barcelona. There was a design contest for the street lamps organized by public works of Barcelona city. Guadi's idea was adopted because the design was innovative and impressive. According to his design, one street lamp can contain six light bulbs which are shaped like the helmets. Originally it was supposed to be installed in all parts of the city, but the plan was withdrawn because of the fact that 6 bulbs had to turn on and off by hand, so, only two streetlights were installed in Reial Square.
Address : Plaça Reial, 9, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Words by Youra CHOI
Photographs by Yuna LEE