Antoni Gaudí is an outstanding Spanish architect who was born in the mid-19th century. He studied architecture at the Llotja School and the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture, and he graduated in 1878. His passion for nature and architecture drove him down the path of the unique individual style he is so famous for. Being a devoted Catholic, he dedicated many years of his life to the production of the Sagrada Familia basilica. The Spanish Cardinal Francesco Ragonesi called him the “Dante” of architecture for his impressive work in the Cathedral.
Sagrada Familia has been under construction for over a hundred years, and it receives millions of visitors yearly. However, Gaudi has several other works in Barcelona that one cannot miss if they happen to visit the Catalonian city. We have categorized some of them for you, based on the architect’s different career phases.
Orientalist period (Early Career)
This is the period where he got inspiration from the cultures of the Far East as well as the Middle East. His use of ceramics, Moorish columns, and arches, as well as domes, are characteristic features of his early style.
Casa Vicens (1883-1888)
This is the primary building of Gaudi’s career. The architect designed the house for a rich family—in the line of ceramics manufacturing. The facade as well as some rooms, in the house, have Islamic architectural features. The facade also has abundant ceramic decorations.
Palau Guell (1886-1890)
This is the house of a wealthy Catalonian family named the “Guells”. The head of the family, Eusebi Guell wished to transform his old mansion into a unique piece of architecture. Eusebi had faith in the talent of the quite young Antoni Gaudí.
Guests arriving at the palace would enter the grand iron gates in their horse carriages till they reach the stables. Those iron gates mark the facade which, unlike Gaudi’s prominent style, shows little ornamentation. As for the inside, the main living room features a unique parabolic dome. Also, the ceiling of the lounge has perforations which offer the residents a planetarium-like experience during the day.
Medieval Gothic art inspired Gaudi in the late 1880s, but he introduced to it some structural modifications. He got rid of buttresses by using ruled surfaces, and he also eliminated crenellations and abundant openwork.
Teresian College or Collegi de les Teresianes (1888-1889)
The religious school was under the order of Saint Teresa. The tight budget and the religious vows of poverty were behind the simple appearance of the building. Gaudi used brick on the exterior and occasionally in the interior of the building.
The interior is set around a longitudinal axis, where a grand main corridor exists on the lower level to allow the smooth flow of students into the rooms. The corridor is bound by a succession of parabolic arches.
The distinct organic style of Gaudi started during this period. His profound knowledge of ruled geometry enabled him to create novel structural solutions, and evade classicism. He also exhibited a characteristic decorative style that was evident in the volumes and shapes of his buildings.
Casa Calvet (1898-1900)
The architect designed this house for the Calvets, a big name in the field of textile manufacturing back then. The facade has sculptural ornaments inspired by the baroque style, and the terraces are precedents in shape to what Gaudi would design, later on, for Casa Batllo. The building is topped with statues of the Calvet’s Saints, Saint Peter, and San Genis.
Casa Batllo (1904)
This masterpiece of a house is the result of the repairs Gaudi has done to the old residence of Josep Batllo l Casanovas, who was into the textile industry. The City Council of Barcelona chose this house to be one of the city’s three top buildings in 1906. The building’s appearance depicts the lance of Saint George stabbing a dragon’s back. Gaudi included forged iron, stone, and ceramics in his design.
This is the peak of Gaudi’s career, featuring an enhanced version of his organic style. He applied all the knowledge he had learned from his previous projects into Sagrada Familia—the project that stands unfinished up to this day. He reached perfection by combining function and form, as well as aesthetics and functionality.
Sagrada Familia (1892- till present)
Private donations sponsored the construction of this grand basilica. However, the construction process was intermittent due to the Spanish Civil War. The architecture of the Sagrada Familia brings religion, man, and nature to a perfect state of harmony. The sculptural facade is mesmerizing and the high towers offer a terrific view of Barcelona.