The works of Antonio Gaudí
Works in Barcelona
Nave Gaudi Mataro 1878 – 1883
The Gaudí Factory of Mataró is the first work built by the architect. The project was to build a factory of the Sociedad Cooperativa Obrera Mataronense, created between 1878 and 1883, but only one building made, this is the only testimony that has reached our days. Considered the starting point of the architect’s creative process, the cooperative’s cotton bleaching plant is notable for the importance of experimenting with parabolic arches, first used by Gaudí as structural elements. This architectural solution would later become a key element and very representative of Gaudí’s work. The building was restored in 2008.
Casa Vicens 1883-1885
Casa Vicens was the first important work that Antoni Gaudí received, in the year 1878, and it is considered his first masterpiece. It is an imaginative, modern and innovative project, where the artist uses for the first time numerous structural, decorative and symbolic elements that will eventually define his architectural language. The young Antoni Gaudí, just finished his architectural studies, receives the order from Mr. Manuel Vicens to build a summer house for him and his wife in the old Vila de Gracia. The works begin in 1883 and continue until 1888.
Sagrada Familia 1883
The architectural legacy that has given more fame to Antoni Gaudí and the city of Barcelona is the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia. A unique world building, the most singular was the radical transformation that the artist made of the initial neo-Gothic project, until it became a monumental temple. Since 1914, Gaudí abandoned any other project and is exclusively dedicated to the construction of the Sagrada Familia. His involvement is so great that he comes to reside in the last few months next to his workshop, a space located next to the apse and conditioned as a scale model workshop, designs, sculpture studio and space for photographic evidence. The distribution of the spaces, the profuse sculptural decoration and the grandiosity and solemnity make the work an authentic stone bible.
Pabellones Finca Güell 1883-1887
The first major work that Gaudí did for his great patron, Eusebi Güell, were the Pavilions of Finca Güell. The commission consisted of designing the summer palace gardens -the current Royal Palace-, building the entrance doors along the entire perimeter as well as the two access pavilions, destined for the house of the porter and the stables.
Count Güell had inherited the lands of Can Feliu and Can Cuyás and wanted to finish off the splendor of the main estate built by the architect Joan Martorell. Here, Gaudí left his personal stamp with the neomudéjar style aesthetic of his initial works and the introduction of arches, parabola turns and hyperbolic domes.
Palau Güell 1886-1890
The Palau Güell was commissioned by Count Guell, the Barcelona International Exhibition of 1889 was held at Barcelona and the Count needed a new Palace to receive his guests. The Palau was one of the initiating buildings of Art Nouveau. It stands out, above all, for its innovative conception of space and light. Gaudí introduced in him very diverse solutions from very personal approaches and created exceptional expressive forms fruit of his imagination, using traditional noble materials (stone, wood, wrought iron, ceramics, glass, etc.). The construction of the Palau Güell supposes the culmination of the youth stage of the architect, using techniques in previous works and introduces most of the contributions that will constitute the basis of his later works.
Colegio Teresianas 1888-1890
Coinciding with the celebration of the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona, Gaudí was already a known architect who a few years before had begun the construction of the crypt of the Sagrada Familia. Despite being involved in large-scale projects and budget, interest in work and religious devotion made him accept more modest jobs such as the convent and college of Las Teresianas, in Sant Gervasi de Cassoles. The artist redid the project just started by Joan Pons Trabal, keeping the foundations already finished and converted what was a simple construction into a capital work of architecture, without altering the volume or profile of the plant. The architect limited himself to imaginatively working the section of the new building, creating patios through which natural light entered.
Casa Calvet 1898-1900
At the end of the 19th century, the right side of the Eixample became a growing neighborhood, occupied in large part by the booming textile industrialists. One of them, Pere Mártir Calvet, entrusted Antoni Gaudí with the traditional rental house to locate his business in the underground and underground, reserving the main floor as a family home. Although it seems to be one of the architect’s most conservative and less daring constructions, numerous ornamental details and the distribution of spaces, such as the patio of lights, reveal the great mark of the reusense. In fact, the construction received in the year 1900 the annual prize for the best artistic building by the City of Barcelona.
Casa Bellesguard 1900-1909
The place where Gaudí built the Torre de Bellesguard is a piece of land with more than 2,000 years of history. It has found archaeological remains that show that, since the time of the Iberians, this area has always been inhabited. The abundance of groundwater and the 360 degree panoramic views over the city of Barcelona make Bellesguard a strategic location. The importance of Bellesguard, however, is due to its medieval past. In 1408, Bellesguard became the royal and papal seat: for two years it was the permanent residence of King Martin I the Human, the last Count of Barcelona, and the temporary residence of Benedict XIII, better known as Papa Luna.
Parque Güell 1900-1914
Park Güell beguins at 1900 from a shared dream between businessman Eusebi Güell and Antoni Gaudí. The initial intention was to build a residential neighborhood in Barcelona inspired by the British model of the “garden city”. It was precisely for this reason that the industrialist named Park Güell, in English. Eusebi Güell acquired the large land, in the area that was popularly known as Montaña Pelada. The project planned to sell 60 plots to the rich families of Barcelona, and although the initial purpose was not carried out, Gaudí left for posterity an authentic marvel.
Portal Casa Miralles 1901-1902
The fence and the entrance portal of Finca Miralles was a minor work but one of undoubted interest in the Gaudí universe. Many of the elements have been preserved until today, and allow us to admire the architectural and stylistic solutions with which he was able to finish any work. The order, in this case, came from the industrialist Ermenegild Miralles, a good friend of his great patron, Eusebi Güell. The entire project consisted of building the private residence on the newly purchased land in Sarriá. The building, finally, was erected by the architect Doménec Sugranyes and Gaudí limited himself to designing the main access doorway and the perimeter wall.
Casa Batlló 1904-1906
Gaudí built, just in a year and a half, one of his most important creations and one of his main labels. Despite what may seem at first sight, Casa Batlló was not a new building, but the renovation of an existing building. The transformation so radical and at the same time so great in the use of colors and shapes never seen on the façade, quickly placed him as an icon of the new Barcelona. Popularly known as the house of bones, the house of masks, the house of yawns or the house of the dragon, the work symbolizes to perfection the stage of maximum constructive maturity of the architect. It represents the ideal combination between art and functionality, between architecture and design, and is a key building to understand what Catalan modernism meant.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera) 1906-1912
The success of the two residential buildings built in the Ensanche de Barcelona in the early s. xx entailed a new assignment for the architect Antoni Gaudí and provided him with a new client, Mr. Pere Milà, a wealthy bourgeois of good Barcelona family who had married Mrs. Rosario Segimon, a young and wealthy widow from Reus. A year after the wedding, Gaudí was entrusted with his residence, a building with flats for rent on the Paseo de Gracia, the avenue that formed the backbone of the new Barcelona and which at the beginning of the century was the best setting for the social life of a city in full urban euphoria.
Cripta Colonia Güell 1890-1917
The Colonia Güell began to be built in 1890 at the initiative of the businessman Eusebi Güell on his farm Can Soler de la Torre, located in the municipality of Santa Coloma de Cervelló. In his eagerness to procure social improvements for his workers, Güell entrusts the construction of equipment to different architects and entrusts Antoni Gaudí with the construction of a church. The employer does not impose any kind of limit, budget or type of work and, for the architect, the project serves as a test bed for the construction of the Sagrada Familia. But the work was left unfinished, only the lower nave was built, and that is why the church is popularly known as a crypt.
Works outside of Barcelona
El Capricho is a villa in Comillas, Cantabria, Spain, designed by Antoni Gaudí. It was built in 1883-1885 for the summer use of a wealthy client, Máximo Díaz de Quijano.
Gaudi, who designed only a small number of buildings outside Catalonia, was involved with other projects at Comillas. He was the assistant of Joan Martorell on another summer residence, the palacio de Sobrellano.
El Capricho belongs to the architect’s orientalist period. The tower has been compared to a minaret.
Palacio Episcopal de Astorga
When the original Episcopal Palace was destroyed by a fire in the 19th century, Bishop Juan Bautista Grau y Vallespinos of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Astorga decided to assign the design of the new building to his friend Antoni Gaudí. The two had become friends when Grau was Vicar-General in the Archdiocese of Tarragona and had inaugurated a church for which the architect had designed the high altar.
When Gaudí received the commission, he was still working at the Palau Güell in Barcelona, and thus he could not move to Astorga to study the terrain and the area of the new construction. He therefore asked the bishop to send him photographs so Gaudí could plan the new project. Gaudí sent back his design, and it was approved in February 1889. The first stone was placed in June the following year.
The edifice, built in gray granite from El Bierzo, is in a neo-medieval style harmonizing with its location, including the cathedral in particular. It does, however, also feature some of the elements typical of the later Gaudí, such as the arches of the entrance with buttresses, and the chimneys integrated in the side façades. Gaudí had devised a five-meter tall angel to crown the façade, but it was never mounted. The façade has four cylindrical towers and is surrounded by a ditch.
In 1893, after the death of Bishop Grau, Gaudí resigned over disagreements with the council, halting the construction for several years. The palace was completed between 1907 and 1915 by Ricardo Garcia Guereta. During the Spanish Civil War, the building served as the local headquarters of the Falange. In 1956 Julià Castelltort, a Catalan, began restoration works to adapt the building as a bishop’s residence. Later, Bishop Marcelo González Martín promoted the conversion to the current role of the palace, a museum of religious art called Museo de los Caminos, dedicated to the Way of Santiago.
La casa Botines
The Casa Botines (built 1891-1892) is a Modernist building in León, Spain designed by Antoni Gaudí. It was adapted to serve as the headquarters of Caja España, a local savings bank.
While Gaudí was finishing the construction of the Episcopal Palace of Astorga, his friend and patron, Eusebi Güell recommended that he build a house in the center of León. Simón Fernández and Mariano Andrés, the owners of a company that bought fabrics from Güell, commissioned Gaudí to build a residential building with a warehouse. The house’s nickname comes from the last name of the company’s former owner, Joan Homs i Botinàs.
In 1929, the savings bank of León, Caja España, bought the building and adapted it to its needs, without altering Gaudí’s original project. In 2010 the bank merged with other similar institutions as part of Spain’s response to the economic crisis.
With the Casa Botines, Gaudí wanted to pay tribute to León’s emblematic buildings. Therefore, he designed a building with a medieval air and numerous neo-Gothic characteristics. The building consists of four floors, a basement and an attic. Gaudí chose an inclined roof and placed towers in the corners to reinforce the project’s neo-Gothic feel. To ventilate and illuminate the basement, he created a moat around two of the façades, a strategy that he would repeat at the Sagrada Família in Barcelona.
Gaudí placed the owners’ dwellings on the first floor. These are accessed, respectively, by independent doors in the lateral and back façades. The upper floors house rental property and the lower floor contains the company offices. The building’s principal entrance is crowned by a wrought iron inscription with the name of the company and by a stone sculpture of Saint George show as he is slaying a dragon. During the restoration of the building in 1950, workers discovered a tube of lead under the sculpture containing the original plans signed by Gaudí and press clippings from the era.
Gaudí received the commission for this work in 1882 from his patron Eusebi Güell, who had seen Gaudí’s work at the Paris Expo in 1878; in this year Gaudí received a number of other commissions including the Palau Güell, the Pabellones Güell de Pedralbes, the Park Güell and the crypt of the Church of Colònia Güell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló.
The original commission consisted of the winery and several hunting pavilions, but the latter were never built. The whole complex was located on the La Cuadra estate in Garraf, Sitges and was the property of the Count Güell. The winery buildings were finally built between 1895 and 1897, under the direction of Francesc Berenguer, Gaudí’s helper.
The winery has a triangular frontal profile, with almost vertical roofs, steep sloping stone slabs, finished off with sets of chimneys and two doors that connect it to the old building. There are three floors: the ground floor for parking vehicles, an apartment on the first floor and a domed chapel on the top floor.
Count Güell actually produced wine in the winery, which was served on the ships of the Compañía Transatlántica Española shipping line and was also exported to Cuba. However, production stopped in 1936 due to lack of commercial success.
There is currently a restaurant in the Bodegas Güell.
Built by the Crown of Aragon on the site of a Moorish-era mosque, the cathedral is 121 metres long, 55 metres wide and its nave is 44 metres tall. By way of comparison, the height of the central nave reaches 33m in Notre Dame de Paris, 38m in Reims, 42m in Notre-Dame d’Amiens and 48m in Saint-Pierre de Beauvais, the highest of all Gothic cathedrals.
Designed in the Catalan Gothic style but with Northern European influences, it was begun by King James I of Aragon in 1229 but only finished in 1601. It sits within the old city of Palma atop the former citadel of the Roman city, between the Royal Palace of La Almudainaand the episcopal palace. It also overlooks the Parc de la Mar and the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1901, fifty years after a restoration of the cathedral had started, Antoni Gaudí was invited to take over the project. While some of his ideas were adopted – moving the choir stalls from the middle nave to be closer to the altar, as well as a large canopy – Gaudí abandoned his work in 1914 after an argument with the contractor. The planned changes were essentially cosmetic rather than structural, and the project was cancelled soon after.