Antoni Gaudí became one of the most famous architects of the first half of the 20th century, with his extravagant, shape-shifting structures drawing on a variety of sources, from the Arts and Crafts movement of the 19th century to Islamic and Asian architecture, traditional Catalan forms and beyond. He remains a leading figure of Art Nouveau and modernism or Catalan Modernism.
Who is Antoni Gaudí? His Life, His Understanding of Architecture
Antoni Gaudí, full name Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet, was born in Reus, Catalonia, south of Barcelona, on the Mediterranean coast, in June 1852. Gaudi's family had its roots in the Auvergne region of southern France. He was the youngest of five children of the coppersmith Francesc Gaudí i Serra and his wife Antònia Cornet i Bertran. From the very beginning, Gaudi placed great value on nature and especially the surroundings of his native region of Catalonia. Eventually, he became an avid outdoorsman, joining the club called Center Excursionista de Catalunya in 1879. Despite his passion for the outdoors, Gaudi was a sick teenager as a teenager with various ailments, including rheumatism, that seemed to have contributed to his timid character.
Until the age of 16 Gaudi spent most of his time in Reus, working in a textile factory. In 1868 he moved to Barcelona, the city that would house many of his major works, to study teaching at a convent. In 1877 he received his first important commission, Casa Vicens, the residence of Manuel Vicens i Montaner, a local brick and tile manufacturer, which effectively established Gaudi's reputation in Barcelona. He graduated from the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture in 1878. Gaudi quickly developed the foundations and connections that would propel him to professional success. He worked as a draftsman for some of Barcelona's most famous architects. Even before Gaudi graduated, he had begun to collect his own clients.
In 1883, the year Casa Vicens was completed, he began work on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. He initially worked in the artistic vein of his Victorian predecessors, but soon developed his own style, creating his work with juxtapositions of geometric masses and enlivening surfaces with patterned brick or stone, glossy ceramic tiles, and floral or reptilian metalwork. For example, the salamander in Park Güell is representative of Gaudi's work. At the 1878 Paris World's Fair, Gaudí showcased a display of his production, which impressed a patron enough to take him to Gaudí's work at the Güell Estate and Güell Palace, among others.
In 1883, Gaudi was charged with the construction of a Barcelona cathedral called the Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (Basilica of the Holy Family and Church of Atonement). Plans were drawn up earlier and construction had already begun, but Gaudí completely changed the design and stamped it with his distinctive style. Gaudi also soon experimented with various permutations of historical styles: the Episcopal Palace (1887-1893) and Casa de los Botines (1892-1894), both Gothic, and Casa Calvet (1898-1904) in the Baroque Style. Some of these commissions were the result of the 1888 World's Fair, in which Gaudi once again showcased an impressive display. It was part of the Catalan Modernista movement and eventually surpassed it with its organic nature-based style.
Antoni Gaudí La Sagrada Familia
More and more religious after 1910, Gaudi focused on the Sagrada Familia project, which he started in 1883 and worked on for 30 years. Living in one of the most modest neighborhoods in the temple, he set up his studio and immersed himself completely in his work and ascetic life. Thus, this highly Catholic man, who started his career as the architect of the city and worked for the bourgeoisie, became what some would describe as the "architect of God." While using Gaudi's balanced methods, the church borrowed from the cathedral-gothic and Art Nouveau styles, but presented them beyond recognition.
Antoni Gaudí Casa Milà, Parc Güell
Gaudí designed only 3 residences. The first is Casa Calvet, then Casa Batllo and finally Casa Milà. Known colloquially as La Pedrera (meaning "quarry" in Catalan), Casa Milà is Antoni Gaudí's last work of construction, begun in 1906 and finished in 1912. This work is considered "modern", although Antoni Gaudí is particularly famous for his modernist period. In 1984, it was included in the World Heritage List together with Park Güell and Palau Güell, and became one of the first places to be added to the list of the world's most exceptional sites of the industrial period.
The nickname La Pedrera refers to its external appearance, where stone is used as the main material in the design of the facade and balconies. Parc Güell is a park designed by Antoni Gaudí at the request of Count Eusebi Güell, who wanted to make a stylish park for Barcelona aristocrats. The Count had planned to develop a residence that would take advantage of the scenery and fresh air of the area; However, only two show houses were completed. Gaudi lived in one of the houses designed by architect Francesc Berenguer in 1904. The house is now a museum displaying some of Gaudi's works. The park is a common tourist attraction in Barcelona, known for its famous terrace and iconic entrance flanked by two Gaudi buildings.
Antoni Gaudí's Died
Gaudi died while working on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, on June 10, 1926. He died after being hit by a tram in Barcelona just weeks before his 74th birthday. While the structure was unfinished at his death in 1926 - only a transept was built with one of the four towers, the remarkable structure has a final completion date of 2026 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death.
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