El Drac de Gaudí at Finca Güell
Finca Güell is a significant property of Eusebi Güell, but what’s interesting is not so much the complex itself; is the iron gate at its entrance.
The buildings in this land were designed by other architects, but Gaudí was commissioned to remodel the house and build a perimeter wall with gates.
Gaudí proposed a wall with several gates in a Mudejar-like style. Its main gate, though, is a completely different monster – literally. In it is a wrought-iron grille in the shape of a dragon spreading its menacing bat-like wings while showing its forked tongue coming out of its gaping maws.
This gate represents the mythical dragon from the Garden of the Hesperides, which commemorates Hercules’ daring feat. This stunning dragon was manufactured by the locksmith’s Vallet i Piquer.
The complex is composed of two buildings linked by a common monumental cast iron gate adorned with Art Nouveau vegetal fantasies and a medallion with the “G” of Güell.
Casa Batlló is the result of a total restoration in 1904 of an old conventional house built in 1877. Gaudí used for it the typical constructive elements of the Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau) that include ceramics, stone, and forged iron.
Even though it was highly criticized by the city during construction due to its radical design that broke all the bylaws of the city, in 1906 the Barcelona City Council awarded it the recognition of being one of the three best buildings of the year.
The building is so irregular that there are few straight lines in it and much of the façade is decorated with a colorful mosaic, known as trencadís, made of broken ceramic tiles.
While officially known as Casa Batlló, the local name for the building is Casa dels ossos, or House of Bones, due to is visceral, skeletal organic design.
You can see some of the bone-like columns on the façade; specifically those in front of the irregular oval windows and playfully sculpted stonework on the first floor.
The roof is arched and “scaled” like the back of a dragon. A popular theory about this building is that the rounded tower crowned with a turret and cross represents the lance of Saint George plunged into the back of the dragon. Saint George is the patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudí’s home.
You can save money by visiting Casa Battló with this bundle ticketthat gives you access to Gaudí’s highlights in Barcelona.
Casa Calvet was built between 1898 and 1900 for the Calvets, a family of textile industrialists.
Architects and scholars agree that this is the most conventional of Gaudí’s works. This is due to the fact that it had to be squeezed in between older structures and because it was located in one of the most elegant sections of Barcelona.
The stone facade reflects Baroque influences, along with its bay windows, sculptural decoration, and interior decorations.
Its balance, symmetry, and orderly rhythm are unusual for Gaudí’s style. Still, you can see a bit of his design language in certain details. The shape of the balconies can be seen as a forerunner to shapes used at Casa Batlló, where Gaudí turned much more to the inspiration of nature.
The roof is topped with two pediments, each supporting a wrought iron cross. They are surrounded by various pieces of stone ornamentation and crowned with statues of San Genis and Saint Peter – Calvets saints.
La Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia is the most famous of Gaudí’s works – his masterpiece. This church has been in construction since 1892, and it’s not expected to be finished until 2026 — to commemorate the centenary of Gaudí’s death.
Construction of Sagrada Familia started in 1882 under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, but by 1883 Villar resigned, giving Gaudí the opportunity to take over as chief architect.
With his own design language, Gaudí transformed the project from a typical cathedral to the masterpiece we know today. He combined Gothic with curvilinear Art Nouveau forms and his own geometric style.
Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project. At the time of his death, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Gaudí died at age 73 in 1926, when he was run down by a tram. He is buried in Sagrada Familia’s crypt.
After Gaudí’s death, construction progressed slowly and was halted several times by events like the Spanish Civil War and revolutionaries partially destroying Gaudí’s original plans, among others.
While construction is now going at a faster pace, ten more spires are still to be completed, each symbolizing an important Biblical figure in the New Testament.
The central spire is the tallest of all, representing Jesus Christ. It is to be surmounted by a giant cross, reaching a height of 170 meters (560 ft), standing at just one meter less than the height of Montjuïc hill in Barcelona. Gaudí believed that his creation should not surpass God’s creation.
The church presents an excellent depiction of the relationship between man, nature, and religion through its architecture and façade sculptures. The way light bathes and plays with the interior space with various hues of colors is one of the most impressive aspects of this building.
Climbing one of its towers on the Nativity and Passion Façades will give you a unique view of Barcelona.
Take the audio tour, is very informative and it’s well worth it. Also, due to its popularity, long queues are to be expected, so I highly recommend skipping the line by going with any of these tours.
Cascada Fountain at Parc de la Ciutadella
Last but not least, is one of Gaudí’s very first projects – the fountain located at the Parc de la Ciutadella, one of Barcelona’s most famous parks.
The Cascada was designed by Josep Fontseré in 1881, specifically for the universal exhibition in 1888, with young Gaudí as an assistant.
The inspiration for the Cascada was the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy.
The fountain counts with several sculptures of horses and mythical creatures. Among these sculptures is also that of Venus standing on an open clam – designed by Venanci Vallmitjana.
Location: Parc de la Ciutadella, Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona
As you can see, Gaudí’s architecture is full of unusual and unexpected characteristics that are not seen in other buildings, let alone other cities in the world.
It’s no surprise why this architect’s works make great sightseeing destinations that without any doubt will create an impression on you.