Exploring Barcelona & Antoni Gaudi’s work
Gaudí’s architecture is unmistakably unique. There are virtually no straight lines. His buildings are giant sculptures, bearing the mark of the artist in a way that the majority of buildings do not. Much of his work is decorated with mosaics and the amount of craftsmanship is self evident in his technique. There is a hand-wrought imperfection in his work that I had not expected. It is different from modern architecture and its brushed steel and glass. Contemporary buildings are sterile and alien and stands apart from their surroundings. Gaudí’s work by comparison is organic and seems to reach up out of the ground like the twisting tendrils of a plant seeking sunlight.
Gaudí’s art is scattered throughout Barcelona. His architecture and the city’s identity are intimately linked in the mind’s of tourists and locals alike. A good entry point to his work is Casa Batlló. It was designed and built to be a private residence, but the family that owns it has opened it as a museum. The design theme is oceanic and there are rooms where you feel as though you are making your way through the inside of a seashell. It is filled with nooks and crannies that house all types of oddities. In the center of the house there is an elevator and open stairway that leads to the roof. The roof is accessible and opens up to views of the the main thoroughfare Passeig de Gràcia below.
The next venue designed by Gaudí to visit is Park Güell. Whereas Casa Batlló is in the city center, Park Güell is toward the outskirts of the city. The short journey is more than worthwhile. Walking through the main gates to the park is like stepping into an alternate universe. The buildings are reminiscent of Renaissance Russian architecture that has fallen far, far down the rabbit hole. The park houses the curved mosaic benches that are the perfect vantage point for panoramic views of the city.
Lastly visit Sagrada Família. This iconic cathedral is the symbol of the city. It remains unfinished to this day.Views are often marred by the ever present cranes, but even so it is a sight to behold. Like all of Gaudí’s work it defies convention and must be seen to be believed. It appears as though it was fashioned out of clay and sculpted by hand. Arrive early and on a weekday to avoid crowds.
These Gaudí creations top my list but there are others. See them all at your own leisure and convenience with car rental in Spain and experience the finest of Spanish architecture.