A great and humble artist named Antoni Gaudi, was an extraordinary architect and even though he did not for once create his own artistic school, he has many achievements. Many painters all over the world have been inspired by his views on art and architects. Whenever you speak of this man Gaudi, he is remembered because he made a revolution in art in general. He also improved other things in architecture, he noticed knew forms, found new techniques, and also developed new approaches to visual art. He created his own vision after he changed the perception of Gothic architecture. His incredible works were inspired by nature and for every interested mind, his tools of space geometry were opened. Familiarization is necessary to those who want to find the unique style of Gaudi’s works. Gaudi was born in a village near Reus, a tiny town not far from Barcelona. He attended Catholic school for five years and that had a major influence upon his life. He talent was first noticed when he created pictures for a journal called “Le Harlequin”. In 1870 he made a plan of reconstruction of one of the local churches near Tarragona, yet he did not manage to implement it in life. However, Gaudi is most often associated with one city- Barcelona.
Gaudi remains one of the most impressive world architects not only because he created unbelievable things but because he was an extraordinary personality. His friends and those who knew him well claimed that he thought he was serving God by creating his masterpieces and emphasized it often. Thus, Sagrada Famila, his most well-known and ambitious project was being built for many years just because Gaudi always said that the customer is not in a hurry. So Gaudi knew that he was creating something bigger that just a park or a cathedral, he was dedicating his works to eternity that is why they are so ambitious and beautiful. Gaudi transformed the city so much that Barcelona became his city.
“What I had seen in Barcelona was the work of man of incredible force, faith, and technical capacity” that is what le Corbusier wrote when he visited this city. And this can be the most accurate definition of the talent of Gaudi which comprised force, faith, and technical capacity unimaginable for most architects of his generation.
That is why this paper will discuss how the city and its citizens influenced Gaudi and how he influenced the city.
Gaudi and Barcelona
Antoni Gaudi first came to Barcelona in 1868 , being a promising artists and having a dream about entering the college to study architecture. However, he entered a school of architecture instead of the college he dream about it and worked as a plotter. He also studied carpentry, blacksmithing and work glass – all the skills important for the architect who wants to work with different materials.
Barcelona impressed Antoni Gaudi, he rarely left the city and spent a lot of time wandering its little streets. Antoni Gaudi was largely inspired by Eugene Viole le Duke, French historian who dedicated his works to architecture. Gaudi used to compare real buildings on Barcelona streets to the one described by the French writer. Catalonian architecture, and the architecture if Barcelona was very special, and Gaudi knew it. For instance local craftsmen preferred square to other forms unlike local craftsmen from North of Spain who used triangles more often. Gaudi aimed to transform two different approaches, two different views on architecture into one and create something absolutely unique. And he managed to do it. The atmosphere of Barcelona with all its energy and high value of art made positive influence on Gaudi. He was glad he changed the provincial town for the city which inspired him. He often emphasized the fact that his works could appear in Barcelona, and nowhere else because he became a part of this beautiful city.
However, in some sense the place did not affect the genius of Antoni Gaudi remained himself, a wholesome and ambitious personality. In 1875 he worked with peers to create the “Geometrical plan of local authorities building” which was a part of general architectural plan of Barcelona. He finally received the degree in architecture ready to implement his wild dreams into reality. The professors of his college knew that Gaudi was not an ordinary student and they thought that he was either a genius or a fool. Time showed that the first variant was right. The majority of tourists who visit Barcelona each year claim that Gaudi`s architecture attracts them immensely. So it is possible to say that first Antoni Gaudi fell in love with Barcelona himself and then made the world love the city even more adorning it with his works.
Industrial Design and Urban Design
Having achieved his degree in architecture Gaudi decided to work immediately. He created numerous plans and projects for Barcelona urban design (as we would call it today). Thus, together with his friend Mataro he created an architectural plan of the house for the employees of Oberer Matronese coop and the project of a casino for the coop. This project was colored with water colors and it expresses Gaudi`s enthusiasm and longing for colorful and vivid building. Salvadore Pegas, the leader of the coop befriended Gaudi easily and they both decided to transform an industrial building (that was the only industrial project for Gaudi) – machinery room for the coop which had parabolic arcs mad of wood. Salvadore Pegas also wanted Gaudi to construct and made design for his own house, and these projects took all the time of the young architect from 1874 to 1885. Since 1887 Gaudi was busy in what we call now, urban design projects. He contributed to small urban design projects making his favourite city more appealing and more sophisticated. Thus, he created a model of a city stalls for flowers which were used for fifty years after his death. He designed street lamps for several streets in Barcelona. In 1887 he made a lot of small projects and it was clear that this man is moved primarily by his passion to architecture rather than desire of fame. One of his projects of that time helps to realize the immense desire of Antoni Gaudi to express himself in monumental architectural developments and his ability and talent to do it. The lighthouse for the city quay designed and implemented in life in 1880 demonstrates all the potential of the young and ambitious Gaudi. Unfortunately, there are rare images of this lighthouse available. But it`s clear that Antoni Gaudi started from small and grew to bigger projects- but all his works were great.
1833 was one of the most important years for Gaudi who finished the house project for Manuel Vicens Montaner, who was one of the biggest producers of ceramic tiles in the region. Ceramic tiles Gaudi`s favourite means of expression since then because he realized how many ideas can be expressed via ceramic. Casa Vicens is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona. Those who see it doubt if an adult could create it – it reminds a picture of a child implemented in life. It is vivid, stylish, and enormously attractive. Yet it is only the beginning of experiments with forms and means of expression for young Antoni Gaudi. It seems that this architectural project made him realize that he is able to implement his most incredible ideas into life.
It became evident that Gaudi is the architect from the capital letter. Unlike his colleagues- architects, Gaudi was coordinating the building from the first brick to the last. He was present at the builder`s yard during the whole process of construction, sitting in the shadow of his umbrella and watching. There were cases when he asked builders to destroy some parts and make them again because they look careless and inaccurate. Everybody knew that Antoni Gaudi almost lived at the construction yard and that he was following each step of building attentively and there was no space for mistakes.
Gaudi`s Revolutionary Works and Cooperation with Eusebi Guell.
Casa Vicens was the first serious project of the architect which helped him to make the name. He coped with it effortlessly and people, interested in architecture, noticed his talent. After this first project Antoni Gaudi took part in the Paris World`s Fair with his showcase for the glove manufacturer. This project was not as big as Casa Vicens but it demonstrated that Antoni Gaudi has everything what a gifted architect needs: he created big projects easily and lightly and was exceptionally attentive to small details. The thing made by Gaudi was so impressive and modern that Eusebi Guell, a rich industrialist of Spain, decided to order Gaudi more works. The period of cooperation between Guell and Gaudi was very fruitful for both men and helped to transform Barcelona.
For those who have visited Barcelona, it is not a secret that some of Antoni Gaudi`s works are connected to the name of Guell: park Guell and Guell palace are among the most visited tourist attractions in the city. Eusebi Guell realized that it is Gaudi can make him famous and was a sponsor and an initiator of Gaudi`s crazy and beautiful projects. Guell`s father-in-law was also impressed by the young Catalan architect and asked him to desigh “El Capricho” in Comillas.
Ambitions of Eusebi Guell
Eusebi Guel was the owner of the textile factory in the village near Barcelona. He decided to make this village more comfortable for living because the majority of his employees lived there. Eusebi Guell knew that Gaudi was a true Catholic, the one who attended church services every week, that is why he asked him to design a little church of Santa Soloma de Cervello.
Gaudi chose a perfect place for this church on the hill of the village among the pines. The architectural project was extraordinary and bold, but Gaudi was inspired by the idea of serving God and people of the village. Unfortunately, lack of finances became and an obstacle in construction, and the crypt was the only thing that was built. This crypt was supposed to serve as the basis for the great edifice. Nevertheless, it is obvious that this crypt was the implementation of great architectural ideas which Gaudí would bring to full accomplishment in his magnum opus, Sagrada Familia. Here in the design of design a little church of Santa Soloma de Cervello Gaudi made his investigations regarding accents in architecture and probable solutions of gothic style.
Next project of Eusebi Guell was inspired by his trips to England. He visited the island often and once returned with the idea of building a city-garden in Barcelona. Of course, he knew that he could address Antoni Gaudi with this project and they would figure out how to do it. He bought a piece of land on the hill in one of the remote districts of Barcelona at that time. Guell knew that only Antoni Gaudi would be ready to transform this place into a real masterpiece.
The project was very ambitious, like all Guell`s projects and it presupposed that there would be sixty massive and impressive buildings on the territory of the park. In reality it was possible to build only two buildings and Guell refused from this great idea and was discouraged. It seems that even Guell could not assess the real cost of his dreams.
However, with all the financial support that Gaudi had he managed to create an incredible place. He spent hours following the process of building and started living in the park since 1906. His investments in the constructon of park in terms of time and efforts were enormous. Antoni Gaudi often joked that Guell would have to give him a half of the park to pay for his work. In reality, Gaudi was careless about money, when he needed money to buy something he addressed one of Guell`s assistants. This feature of character tells a lot about Gaudi`s nature: he served people of Barcelona and God more than he served himself. He never got married, he did not become rich. Architecture was his wife and his ultimate treasure. The ability to do what he loved was perceived as a gift by Antoni.
The park impressed its visitors; it was pure art of space design. October 20, 1906 it was chosen as the place for the first international congress of those who spoke Catalonian language. The neverending bench was being built between 1907 and 1910 while decoration of separate elements was finished only in 1914. Barcelona authorities could not resist the popularity of the park and bought it in 1922. That is how Barcelona acknowledged that it needed Gaudi`s works more than he needed the support of the authorities.
Casa Mila is often described as one of the most complex and comfortable building in the history of architecture. It is associated with rockymountains transformed into a real building. They say that Gaudi was largely inspired by quarry and people aimed to define the rocks that could have inspired Antoni. Some people say that the rocks nearby his native village were mentally transformed into Casa Mila others say that Gaudi got his inspiration from rocks on Mallorca. It is clear that Casa Mila could not leave anyone in Barcelona indifferent – the citizens made up different anecdotes and draw caricatures about it.
It is nevertheless important to take into account that Casa Mila is absolutely practical and rational building from technical perspective. Gaudi valued comfort and reliability of the structure above all. Yet Gaudi learned all the technical aspects of building so well that he could manipulate them for achieving the forms of his dreams. Thus, to make sure that Casa Mila is technically possible Gaudi created a 1:10 model to real size of the building after his builders finished the basement of the Casa Mila. The model was then cut into parts for builders who had to use it as an example in the process of building. So builders could actually use the model for measuring the parts of Casa Mila. Only Gaudi, the one who studied all technical process of building with the attention of a jeweler, could risk making such experiments. Salvador Dali, who was also born and raised in Catalonia, once said that a real artist must study painting and drawing in depth only to forget it all later and create like a child. This formula suits Gaudi perfectly well.
Sagrada Famila- Magnum Opus of Gaudi
For his biggest and the most celebrated work, Sagrada Famila, Gaudi managed to extract a number of natural forms which were neglected or just not noticed by the architects before him. Gaudi paid attention to hyperbolas and parabolas, hyperboloids and helicoids. He chose these forms to be his principal bricks. He also used natural decoration to cover his natural forms. Thus, Sagrada Familia, definitely looks like the sand castle or a cave.
Thus, on Sagrada Familia`s façade, the bell towers of which are made with regular paraboloids, there are more than hundred different animals and plants.This “simple” reflection of nature and its “direct” copying made a real revolution in architecture, created by one person without manifests and cries. Visiting Sagrada Familia is a unique experience because the interior design is even more impressive that exterior. Those who come in this cathedral feel they are entering some huge ancient cave where only God can live because of its size.The comparison with the cave is not accidental it looks like stalactites and stalagmites inspired Gaudi in the process of ceiling construction. Moreover, visitors often pay attention to simplistic design of the interior, but this is Gaudi`s “simplicity” which required serious knowledge, experience, and expertise.
All the incredible imagination of Gaudi was implemented in design and construction of Sagrada Familia. This cathedral is the manifestation of the unity of form and sense. Gaudi dedicated 43 years of his life to Sagrada Familia, which actually became the place where he found his eternal peace. He was not interested in fame or human relationship. Money did not bother him as well. He was sad and depressed when he heard about the death of his coworkers and friends, Berenger and Guell, but those were the only events that made his sad. Antoni Gaudi had two real passions: architecture and God, and with his gift he managed to unite them, he managed to serve God and people with the help of architecture.
Innovations of Gaudi
Antoni Gaudi, like many other pioneers, created new forms and senses instead of adopting existing trends in architecture. There are many innovations introduced by Antoni Gaudi and it would be interesting to analyze what exactly this man brought into architecture.
Organic forms. Those who have seen Gaudi`s works at least once will hardly ever forget how natural they look. Thus, Sagrada Familia reminds a sand castle built by a child while Casa Balio looks asymmetric and floating like a rock. Nature does not have straight lines and does not know what a right angle is. Gaudi wanted his architecture to resemble the greatest creations of God on Earth: mountains, seas, trees, animals. He was learning from nature that is why he avoided straight lines whenever it was possible made his works irregular, floating, and natural for a human eye.
Colors. In one of his diaries Antoni Gaudi wrote that “the colors used in architecture have to be intense, logical and fertile.” Taking all the materials what he had in the first half of the XXth century Gaudi made the best of it. He decorated his works with the colors he could probably see at Bokeria, one of the biggest and the most interesting markets in Spain.
Materials. Gaudi was not afraid of using complex materials and dedicated time to details.
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