A blog raveled in randomness
May 16, 2013
My goal during my four-day stay at Barcelona was to visit Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces. Even though I was unable to see as many as I wanted, I was glad to see some of his main works during my stay. Yesterday I saw Casa Batllo with the street lamp designs along the same road. Toady I entered the Sagrada Famíla and La Pedrera. Antoni Gaudí (1852-1929) is well-known in architectural universe, and his unique designs shaped European architecture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He was mainly interested in nature and geometry, so as you walk inside the buildings designed by Gaudí, you will see aspects that integrate curved lines of flowing rivers and parabolic hallways. He saw the whole building as a work of art, so he considered light coming through window as one of the main elements that complete a house. I absolutely love looking at photos of famous buildings designed by Gaudí, so I was so happy (and thankful) to be in Barcelona and visit some of his inspiring works.
1. Casa Batllo
In 1904 Gaudí redesigned a building with his three assistants at the heart of Barcelona and the remodeled house has become of Gaudí’s renowned masterpieces worldwide, Casa Batllo. The facade of the building consist of only curved lines decorated with broken ceramic tiles, curved roof and oval windows. The facade alone made Gaudí’s work stand out from its neighbor buildings that have straight lines and rectangular windows. The interior design is also beautiful with its curvy lines, and for me, it felt like I was in one of the fairies’ houses.
The interior is also made of curvy lines that it seems like the texture of the walls were made from ripples of the Sea. The oval windows are wide enough to let in a huge amount of sunlight and brighten the empty room. The air from outside is controlled by the sliding wooden blocks below the windows. The area seems simple, but yet the design had such a modern technique that amazed everyone during that time. The windows clearly showed Gaudí’s importance on light as one of the main elements in building a house. He considered natural light as part of his equipments in making his work, which many architectures during his time did not consider as much.
The roof is curved like any other parts of this building, but take notice of the broken mosaic tiles and the little green bumps at the top. With gradient aesthetics, the roof of Casa Batllo replicates a back of a dragon with its scaly back. It is such a fantastical imagination applied to a mundane object that people had seen for years. Yet no one had the courage (or maybe not have thought of it) to actually build this type of roof at the heart of a city–except for Gaudí. Maybe that is why I adore Gaudí’s works. He had the courage to move forward with designs he was pleased with, and even though it was “weird/unique” during his time, he was unafraid to continue with his experiments on building designs. Not all of his works were successful (for example Park Guël) during his time, but I still applaud for his innovative works in architectural history.
I just wanted to share with you the fireplace on the first floor of this building. I have to say this was my favorite because it has a mushroom design!
2. La Pedrera
This is another building designed by Gaudí, but I have to advise you that if you are not interested in the history of his works and detailed descriptions of his works (not only La Pedrera but all), you do not have to go inside. I enjoyed very much walking and listening to the audio guide, but I noticed that my mom and brother were very bored. They were disinterested in the detailed history of Gaudí like me, so I had to skip a few numbers to keep up with their pace. They said that the only highlight for them of this house was the roof. However if you are like me who likes listening to the history of Gaudí, it is worth a visit!
Similar to his other works, La Pedrera is designed with flowing atmosphere that reminds you of naturalistic patterns. There were residents to this buildings, but there was one modeled floor for visitors to see and walk into. Personally I preferred the rooms of Casa Batllo just because of the mushroom fireplace. The roof terrace is also unique with its UFO-like chimneys. It highlights how imaginative Gaudí’s designs were during his time and how his art intrigues millions of people till today.
3. Sagrada Família
The construction of this Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883. However even till today this church has not yet been finished, and as you can see behind the facade of the building, the building is still unfinished. But even though it is an unfinished project, just by looking at the facade you know the insides of this enormous building will be amazing. Once you wait a few minutes from the long queue and pass the entrance gates, you will be overwhelmed by the pouring statues standing above the main doors. Each section has a story to tell, and it is not a facade to glimpse at or take a picture and go. You have to stand and observe the static yet lively sculptures. I cannot share with you all of the stories because the church holds too many stories. I can say that even though you do not have religious intents in entering this building, you will be absolutely amazed by how human imagination can create such a masterpiece.
Once you enter the church, you will feel a cool breeze as if you are in a forest. The pillars stretch to the ceiling and like old trees in forests, the pure white branches of the pillars spreads across the wide ceiling. The sharp designs of the ceilings act like leaves and stars of the sky, and as you walk across the floor fixing your eyes to the ceiling, you feel a small warmth on one side of your body. It is the light that enters the wide colored windows. Like other works, Gaudí incorporated light in this building and designed big windows as well as other openings in the ceiling. The hallowed place is quiet, and few people are praying. For the first time, I wanted to stay forever in one place that had a religious significance. Words cannot describe the brilliance of the building, and my camera cannot capture the magnificence of this church. It was such a beautiful church that I had to drag myself out to keep up with our schedule.
I have seen other works of Gaudí’s but these three were the only ones I have paid to go inside. There are student prices so don’t forget to bring your student ID cards for the trip!