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|Pictures Gaudi Crypt in Colonia Güell|
Pictures Gaudi crypt at Colonia Güell
The Gaudi Crypt in Colonia Guell is an partially completely church just outside Barcelona designed by Antoni Gaudi. The crypt at Colonia Guell is a lesser known ,but significant Gaudi project that was never finished. Antoni Gaudi was commissioned in 1898 to build by his patron and good friend Eusebi Guell. The church was intended for the workers of the Colonia Guell Factory to be part of the workers village for the workers at the Colonia Guell factory, which Guell built in Santa Coloma de Cervelló in 1890. The village was finished but only the crypt of the church was built and it is known today as The Crypt in Colonia Güell.
Santa Coloma de Cervelló is 25 km from the centre of Barcelona by car. It takes half an hour to get there by car and the same time by train from the station at Plaza Espanya. How to get to Colonia Guell
Gaudi carried out various studies and work on the church and work commenced in 1908. It continued until 1914, when funding was stopped and Gaudi abandoned the project. During that time Gaudi only completed the crypt.
Today the crypt stands essentially as it did when finished. Some restoration work has been done to remove later alterations that were not included in Gaudí’s original designs. Gaudi even designed the church pews and like all his later work, they reflected his beliefs, that nature is the best model.
The original plans and models reveal designs by Gaudi that would were audacious and innovative for the period, and especially for an industrial estate in the countryside outside Barcelona.
The funding for the construction was stopped in 1914 by the Guell family. Perhaps because they considered the church to grand for factory workers at the turn of the century.
The crypt is regarded as a Gaudi masterpiece because it was the first time many of Gaudí’s innovative ideas came together in a single design and it provided both a testing ground and a source of inspiration for the Sagrada Familia project.
The Crypt in Colonia Güell was innovative in the sheer variety of building materials that Gaudi used including basalt and limestone, brunt ceramic bricks, smelting slag, ceramics, glass and many kinds of mortar. The result is startling and beautiful.
The design for the church was so daring and different that it was not clear how to make the calculations for the constructions. To fix this problem Gaudi devised a exceptional method of architectural projection. It was called a polyfunicular model and was essentially an inverted 3D model of the church design made using weights and strings. Then Gaudi covered with cloth and photographed it. By making large prints of the photographs he was able to make the correct calculations for the inside and outside dimensions of the church. A reproduction of the polyfinicular model can be seen in the museum at the Sagrada Famila in Barcelona. In 1914 when the project was abandoned the roof was covered. The lower nave was blessed by the bishop of Barcelona in 1915 and has been in use for services since then.
Gaudi's fondness for caves is apparent at the Crypt in Colonia Güell
The village of "Santa Coloma de Cervello" remains much the same as it was in Gaudi´s time. The village is not unique in itself, but it is interesting because of the links between Guell and Gaudi. There is a statue of Guell in the village square, which also bears his name.
Gaudi himself has a bust near the church surrounded by the nature that he so loved.
Building factory villages was a popular idea at the end of the 19th century. Many factory owners in industrial countries moved their factories and workers outside the cities to keep workers away from bad socialist influences in the cities. In the case of Colonia Guell the conditions for the workers were much improved compared to their previous life in the city. The project and some of the houses were designed by various modernist architects, although not Gaudi, and were of a high standard. The village itself had everything to give the works a relatively good life.
The factory was sold by the Guell family in 1946 but it remained in production as a textile mill up until 1973, when was closed due to competition from countries with cheaper labour. Today the Guell factory has been converted into modern office space for new companies. In recent years a modernist festival has been celebrated every year in Santa Coloma de Cervello to recreate the early days of Colonia Guell.
The Gaudi Tour (daily all year)
Gaudi Plus Tour includes Colonia Guell (from 15/4 to 31/10)
Gaudi Combo Tour (from 15/4 to 31/10)
Address of Colonia Guell
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