Today would be the 161st birthday of Antoni Gaudí, one of the most influential Spanish architects, who helped shape the way Barcelona is today. Born in 1852 in Tarragona, Spain, Gaudí was an important exponent of the art nouveau movement and is usually called “God’s architect” due to his deep Catholic faith, which inspired him to design his yet unfinished Basílica de la Sagrada Familia (Church of the Sacred Family) in Barcelona.
His Most Famous Works
Before his tragic death in 1926, when the architect was 71 years old, Gaudí finished several works which helped turn the city of Barcelona into the capital of modernism which it is today, visited by thousands of tourists every year.
Basílica de la Sagrada Familia
His largest and most famous work, the Basílica de la Sagrada Familia, is still under construction. When Gaudí started building this landmark in 1882, he knew he would not live long enough to see it finished, yet his vision is still being carried on today. Sagrada Familia is expected to be completed some time during the next 30 to 80 years, but it already receives many tourists each year, who flood the church to see its progress. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the Sagrada Familia, which makes it possible to celebrate mass there, even though the building has not been finished yet.
Another of Gaudí’s famous attractions is Park Güell, a park and garden located in Barcelona which, due to its location on the top of a hill, offers a spectacular view of the Catalan capital. The park is covered by mosaics all different colours, a technique which made Gaudí famous. The architecture in the park is characterized by its winding shapes and circular forms. Due its architectonical and cultural value, ParkGüell has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Casa Milá, commonly known as La Pedrera, helps define Barcelona’s city centre with its uncommon stone façade and extravagant windows. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the construction of this building was started in 1906 and finished six years later. Located on the popular and posh Passeig de Gracia, the building quickly became one of the city’s most visited landmarks.
Casa Batlló, near La Pedrera, is still more extravagant in its look, which is said to replicate the ocean and its movement. This building’s façade seems to be covered in bones, which contrast with the house’s blue hues. Casa Batlló was begun in 1904 and is now a museum. The serpentine stairways lead visitors to the rooftop, which offers a wonderful view of the city and of La Pedrera, surrounded by tiles of many different colours.