Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gorgeous Gaudi

During college I took a life-changing elective course: European Architecture. The images of Antoni Gaudi's whimsical, Modernista creations have stayed with me 20+ years and this week I got to see them.

We spent our first day in Barcelona doing my checkoffs, which we easily accomplished by getting tickets to the city tourist bus and keeping The Pinks stuffed with helados.

Gaudi is best known for the unfinished Sagrada Familia church. The first brick was installed in 1882 and Gaudi died when he was hit by a streetcar, at age 75, while still working on it. He never married, so obsessed was he by his life's work. The foundation hopes the church will be completed by 2030 using funds from the visitation of it. We took the elevator to the top, where I shot this first picture. I also popped this next picture, looking up while inside the church.

We also went to La Pedrera, the apartment building Gaudi completed in 1910 for the Guell family. Its facade is curved and its roof has chimneys resembling medieval warriors. The ventilation ducts are twisted into obscure organic forms. We could have played one great game of Hide and Seek up there. The residences are finished exquisitely with wrought-iron trim, one of Gaudi's trademarks. It would make me nuts to live in though -- no right angles anywhere!

Our last stop on the Gaudi milk run was Park Guell, quite a hike up into the hills. It includes fairy-tale-like gatehouses, which would be right at home in any Disney theme park, and an esplanade, at the park's centerpiece. The mosaic lizard just inside is often photographed. While none of these pictures show Gaudi's mosaics, he is known for that, too: small tiles of playful assemblies in bright colors.

1 comment:

Polka Dot Moon said...

His work is dreamlike. It must be unbelievable in person!