Barcelona--Gaudi, Gaudi and more Gaudi
Living across the street from La Sagrada Familia, we saw Gaudi architecture every day. This amazing architect designed projects across the city of Barcelona, and a few out of the city. We toured the Casa Batllo, in the last blog. Now let me take you on a little tour of La Sagrada Familia, La Casa Guell and the Park Guell. When you go to Barcelona, book your tickets online in advance to skip the lines.
When I visited Barcelona with my girls in 1995, the Sagrada Familia had no roof, no stained glass, no altar and no floor. I think just 4 towers were completed. It was being called Gaudi's folley. Now, it is well on it's way and scheduled to be completed in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.
It is amazing--the size, the imagination and creativity that it took to design it. The entire cathedral is a product of Gaudi's spiritual dedication. Two sides are complete, the birth of Jesus and the death of the Savior, very different from each other. One evokes love and mystery in the birth. The other evokes sadness in the Passion of Christ. Different sculptors completed each project and their styles evoke the emotional responses.
Inside the cathedral, I was in awe of the beauty of the stained glass windows and the light they bring. It is a glory of purple, yellow, red, blue, green--awe inspiring. We took a tour of the tower, up an elevator (probably not in the original plan since Gaudi died in 1926), and then walked down, looking out on the passion side of the church. What we could see was the view of Barcelona, the construction and the bounties of the earth that have been completed.
It was an amazing tour--2 hours is usually my max for a museum/church. We spent four hours because there was so much to see. The reason the vision of Gaudi could be realized is his approach, creating fabulous plaster models for his team and for the teams of the future to follow. In the museum, we saw the simplicity of the tools he used. He designed a model of the church with inverted strings to make sure the walls could hold the weight of the building. Gaudi also designed altar pieces, benches, vestments for the priests--anything that would be in the church was overseen in his plan.
Senor Guell was one of the wealthiest Barcelonistas during Gaudi's era. He discovered the architect when Gaudi was in his late 20's and commissioned a remodeling of his home in the center of Barcelona. The home combines traditional with Gaudi's modernista instincts.
When Senor Guell wanted to build a community on the outskirts of Barcelona, modeled on the English building style of the times--homes built around gardens, he chose Gaudi to create and build the development. Unfortunately, the location was too far out for the citizens of Barcelona and it failed. Gaudi completed several buildings and a great garden overlooking Barcelona, where you can see all the way to the Mediterranean. Only a few homes were built.
When I visited this site with Chelsea and Katrina in 1995, it was deserted. Check out the throngs of people. You have to book tickets in advance, as they admit 400 people every 30 minutes. Seriously?
Paul and I had a great time visiting the Gaudi museums. We did not visit la Pedrera, although we passed it many times. Too much to do, too little time.
Next, more adventures both in Barcelona and out of the city.