Antonio Gaudi and Barcelona!

17 Nov

Antonio Gaudi

Antoni Gaudi was an architect and designer, during the early 1900’s. He is considered by many as is the most internationally prestigious figure in Spanish architecture. He was born in Reus, which is a part of a region in Spain called Catalonia. He went to school in Barcelona, also part of Catalonia.  In his work he used wrought iron, stained glass, sculptural work, mosaics, ceramics and so on. He designed and created within an organic style of decoration and with the integration of many elements during the construction process.

One of  Antoni Gaudí’s most famous  projects is the Sangrada Familia Cathedral. He worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life to it. Even though Gaudi died in 1926, the work continued  till it was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1935. After 1910, Antonio Gaudi spent all of his effort on religious commission, so this project was the kind he wanted…. The Cathedral’s completion has been continuing because he left a number of models for the completion of the nave and the two other main facades. His plans included a central tower higher than St. Peter’s in Rome. After the Spanish civil war ended, architects have carried on the work since 1940. They expect to complete this church in 2041 but there is much speculation from the people of Barcelona because the project has been going on for so long and there are controversies and mysteries surrounding it…

In his own time, Gaudi was both admired and criticized for his style and innovative architecture. Gaudi was fortunate to have loyal clients to support him. From early in his career,  he got attention for his work, but he was known for shunning publicity. At the end of his life he became a recluse and spoke to almost no one. He was killed in a fluke accident because he was hit by a street car when walking home.

Gaudi has been indentified with the Catalan Modernismo moevement of the late nineteenth century. His work is of the  international art nouveau style of the time. To make his work the collaboration of structural engineers, sculptors, and metalworkers was needed to carry out his ideas.

Gaudi was both a political and religious man. He was a devout Catholic. After a certain point in his career he even decided he would no longer make secular work. This was around the time he decided to devote himself to the La Sangrada Familia Cathedral.  As a man of Catalan decent he identified with the nationalist desires of Catalonia which have long since stood against Spain. Even though today Barcelona is of course considered a part of Spain as a result of the Spanish civil war there are still intense ideas of identity and separation in the region.

For a lesson plan that may revolve around the work of Gaudi, I think it could be interesting to have students build their own organically shaped buildings. By blueprinting them through drawing and making miniature models as the project they will also get the feel of an architect’s career. Students would be able to approach scale, measurement, and creative use of space through such a lesson plan.

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