Here’s a look at Barcelona through the lens of renowned modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. Discover his legacy in the Catalan capital.
Thanks to Gaudí’s unmistakable architectural style, it’s easy to identify his works at a mere glance. He left a distinct mark on religious and patriotic projects through his use of particular materials and techniques such as iron forging, ceramics, and mythical trencadís mosaics. The artists’ genius of geometry and volume, as well as his attention to detail, left a legacy on Barcelona to be enjoyed by locals and travelers alike for centuries to come.
1. Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is undoubtedly Gaudí’s most emblematic work, one that is internationally renowned as one of the greatest exponents of Catalan modernism. Thousands of people visit the incomplete basilica daily to admire its spectacular architectural value. The building as a whole is a marvel, although the Nativity façade, the “interior forest” of columns and the crypt, where Gaudí rests, are particularly interesting.
2. Park Güell
You can’t leave Barcelona without snapping a photo of the Catalan capital from Park Güell, which boasts magnificent city views. Touch the famous Gaudinian trencadís mosaics embedded into a bench that then winds its way through the main square. Eusebi Güell commissioned the park Gaudí, who conceived a space according to naturalistic patterns, hence his representations of animals such as the salamander that near the entrance.
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3. Palau Güell
Palau Güell, commissioned by Gaudí’s patron, is considered one of the world’s first modernist buildings. Inaugurated for the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona in 1888, this stately home near the Rambla de Barcelona comprises about 2,800 square meters. Wrought iron snakes, a phoenix and Catalonia’s coat of arms adorn the facade.
4. Milà House
Casa Milà is in the Paseo de Gracia district on Provenza street. Also known as La Pedrera, this particular building was commissioned by Pere Milà, a textile entrepreneur belonging to the Catalan bourgeoisie. Gaudí decided to create a building that evoked his original naturalistic style, hence shapes and symbols that deviate from rigidity, such as the wave shape of the façade. Don’t forget to climb to the roof!
5. Vicens House
Manuel Vicens commissioned Gaudí to design Casa Vicens, his second residence in the Gracia neighborhood, which was a separate town in the late nineteenth century. This singular building features influences from Persian, Byzantine and Mudejar architecture, with lots of ceramics to evoke an Arabic style.
6. Casa Calvet
Located at 48 Casp Street Casa Calvet’s design is a bit more conservative than Gaudí’s other buildings, although it bears the unmistakable stamp of the modernist architect with materials such as wrought iron and nature-inspired figures. A restaurant is on the ground floor.
7. Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló on Paseo de Gracia is one of Gaudí’s best-known buildings. The Batlló family commissioned the Catalan architect to renovate their house, to which the master architect put forth a nature-inspired project featuring sinuous shapes on the façade, the illuminated patio and the roof. Don’t miss the spectacular dragon-shaped vault.
8. Teresian School
A little further away from the city center is the Teresian School. Despite its beauty, it is one of Gaudí’s least known works. In fact, the architect took over this project when it was already underway and had to adjust his work to meet the limited budget of the project while respecting the restraint that a religious school required. It is still a functioning school today.