By Romi and Sue
Picture a building that looks like it belongs in a Dr. Suess book, integrates whimsical forms and structures inspired by nature, and reflects a deep spirituality. Chances are you would be looking at a masterpiece by the architect/artist, Antoni Gaudi. As one of the leading contributors of the Modernista movement in Barcelona in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Gaudi’s thumbprint and genius is seen all around this beautiful city.
During our week-long stay in Barcelona, we visited many of Gaudi’s masterpieces both on our own and as part of a walking tour led by a spunky tour guide named Tia. This included the amazing Park Guell located in the hills above Barcelona; several of his extraordinary houses for the very rich including Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, and Palau Guell; and, of course, the indescribable and yet to be completed, Sagrada Familia.
Romi wrote about two of her favorites which she shares below:
My two favorite works by Gaudi are Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia. Park Guell is located on the edge of the city up in the hills. Gaudi started working on the project in 1900 as a garden city for the rich. The plan for the garden city did not work out, but he finished some of it and today it is a public park.
The first area you see is the plaza. This is a beautiful place to sit down and take pictures of the city. He decorated the benches with colorful tiles and built them to look like waves. I imagined people would have used this area for singing, dancing, sitting and talking.
Another thing I really liked was the lizard on the stairways leading up to the market space. I think Gaudi put that there because he liked lizards and wanted a symbol so people could remember Park Guell.
My other favorite work by Gaudi was the Sagrada Familia. This is probably his most famous work of art. He started on the church in 1915 and kept working on it until he died in 1926. He only built three parts of the church before he died: the crypt, the apse, and part of the Nativity facade. They have been working on it ever since he died and hope to finish on the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death. If they work hard enough I think they can finish.
One of the cool parts of the Sagrada Familia was the stained glass windows that brought so many colors into the church. The outside of the church is also very beautiful. They built it very carefully and there is so much to look at. There are three facades and each represents parts of the life of Jesus. Gaudi was inspired by nature and on the inside of the church you can see pillars that look like trees and the ceiling looks like sand dollars and seashells. When the Sagrada Familia is finished it will be even more beautiful than it is now!