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Antoni Gaudi - Modernist architect Barcelona E-mail

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Antoni Gaudí - Barcelona's famous architect

Antoni Gaudi - full name Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí Cornet - was a Catalan architect of Spanish nationality. He is Barcelona's and perhaps Spain's most famous architect. Seven of his most loved structures in Barcelona are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites and are visited by around 13 million people a year.

Gaudi was born one hour south of Barcelona in Reus in 1852. He died in 1926 when he was tragically hit by a tram. The still unfinished temple church La Sagrada Familia is his most famous building in Barcelona, which he was working on exclusively at the time of this death.


>  Famous Gaudi buildings in Barcelona
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Pictures La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi


Gaudi's
full name was Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí Cornet.  He was born in Reus near Tarragona in Catalonia, Spain in 1852. Gaudi is the most famous architect of the Catalan modernist era, but Guadi style was actually quite unique and unlike many other modernist styles of the time. Gaudi combined gothicism, surrealism and modernist styles in a uniquely peculiar and almost warped style, which can be described as Gaudi'ism. His belief was that straight lines were the work of man, whereas curved lines were the work of nature and many of his most famous works reflect this search to create buildings that were inspired by nature's shapes and forms.

Gaudí’s first major project was the Mataró Cooperative (a project for housing factory workers), which was shown at the Paris World Fair in 1878. This project brought him a good measure of attention and led to a meeting with Eusebi Güell who was a leading industrialist of the time and one of the richest men in the world. Guell would become a close friend and
the biggest sponsor of Gaudi's work throughout Gaudi's career. Guell should be commended for his part in Gaudi's genius because he never attempted to impose limits or change on the architect's visions during the many years of their collaboration.

Gaudi's still unfinished church - La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Gaudi's still unfinished church - La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona


In 1882 Gaudí began work on his greatest - and still unfinished - building, which is the famous La Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona.  This project was initially begun by Francisco de Paula del Villar, but taken over by Gaudi in 1882. For the next 30 years, Gaudí worked on Sagrada Familia and other projects simultaneously. From 1911 onwards, he devoted himself exclusively to the cathedral.


Serpent bench at Parc Guell by Gaudi 

Serpent bench at Parc Guell by Gaudi


Gaudí was a lifelong bachelor, a vegetarian, an arch conservative and a fervent Catalonian nationalist. In his later years he lived with his father and sister in Park Guell. They both passed away quite quickly after the family moved in, and in his final years Gaudi lived alone spending much of his time in his studio at the Sagrada Familia.


La Pedrera building on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona

La Pedrera building by Antoni Gaudi


Gaudí became increasingly shabby in his last years and when he was tragically struck down by a tram on 7th June in 1926 at the junction of the streets Gran Via and Bailen in Barcelona (click for map.) Gaudi was so poorly dressed that he was not recognized at all and taxi drivers refused to take the injured "vagabond" to a hospital. They were later fined by the police. 


Casa Batllo - on street Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona

Casa Batllo - on street Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona


So the gravely injured Gaudi was taken to a Barcelona hospital for the poor called Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau which is still on the street Carrer de l'Hospital, 56  (click for map) in the Raval district of Barcelona's old city, close to the Ramblas. Still unrecognised as the great architecht he was given a bed with the indigent patients. Three days after the accident on the 10th of June 1926 Gaudi died from his injuries. The last words he uttered were: 'Amen, my God, my God'.  A death mask was made of his face which can be seen at the Gaudi house museum in Parc Guell.


Roof of Palau Guell building by Antoni Gaudi on street Nou de la Rambla

Roof of Palau Guell building by Antoni Gaudi on street Nou de la Rambla


The city of Barcelona turned out for Gaudi's funeral to honour him and to accompany his casket to his final resting place in his beloved masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, where he now lies in the crypt. After 44 years of devotion to the construction this was a fitting place for its creator to lie as an inspiration to those who took over the task of completing this unique temple.


As is often the case with many visionaries, Gaudí was perhaps not truly acknowledged during his own lifetime. Official organizations refused many times to support or applaud his unique talent. The City of Barcelona tried many times to block or change Gaudí's works because ithey failed to conform to city regulations. The only project the City assigned to Gaudi was that of designing street lamps which still stand on the Plaça Reial in the Gothic quarter. Gaudi received the Barcelona city "Building of the Year" award only once for his work on the apartment block Casa Calvet which is not considered as a significant work today.


Gaudi trivia
When Gaudi was young he was an assistent on the Chapel of the Virgin at Montserrat mountain.
Gaudi also worked on the Cascade fountain in Ciutadella park


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Barcelona's Gaudi UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

>  Park Güell
>  Palau Güell
>  La Pedrera (also known as Casa Mila)
>  Casa Vicens (not open to public)
>  Sagrada Familia basilica
>  Casa Batlló
 
Crypt in Colonia Güell  (outside Barcelona)


Other Gaudi works in Barcelona include:

> Casa Calvet - not open to public, but restaurant on ground floor
> Colegio Teresiano -not open to public
> Bellesguard/Casa Figueres manor house - not open to public
> Lamp posts on Plaza Reial
> The dragon gate at Güell Pavilions




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More Gaudi links
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Gaudi Bus Tours
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Daytrips from Barcelona

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