Antoni Gaudí
Overview
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (ənˈtɔni ɣəwˈði; 25 June 1852–10 June 1926) was a Spanish Catalan
Catalan people
The Catalans or Catalonians are the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia that form a historical nationality in Spain. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France are sometimes included in this definition...

 architect and figurehead of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí's works reflect his highly individual and distinctive style and are largely concentrated in the Catalan capital of Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, notably his magnum opus
Magnum opus
Magnum opus , from the Latin meaning "great work", refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, or composer.-Related terms:Sometimes the term magnum opus is used to refer to simply "a great work" rather than "the...

, the Sagrada Família
Sagrada Familia
The ' , commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí...

.

Much of Gaudí's work was marked by his four life passions: architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

, nature, religion and love for Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

. Gaudí studied every detail of his creations, integrating into his architecture a series of crafts in which he was skilled: ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

s, stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

, wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

work forging
Forging
Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. Forging is often classified according to the temperature at which it is performed: '"cold," "warm," or "hot" forging. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to 580 metric tons...

 and carpentry
Carpentry
A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who works with timber to construct, install and maintain buildings, furniture, and other objects. The work, known as carpentry, may involve manual labor and work outdoors....

.
Encyclopedia
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (ənˈtɔni ɣəwˈði; 25 June 1852–10 June 1926) was a Spanish Catalan
Catalan people
The Catalans or Catalonians are the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia that form a historical nationality in Spain. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France are sometimes included in this definition...

 architect and figurehead of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí's works reflect his highly individual and distinctive style and are largely concentrated in the Catalan capital of Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, notably his magnum opus
Magnum opus
Magnum opus , from the Latin meaning "great work", refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, or composer.-Related terms:Sometimes the term magnum opus is used to refer to simply "a great work" rather than "the...

, the Sagrada Família
Sagrada Familia
The ' , commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí...

.

Much of Gaudí's work was marked by his four life passions: architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

, nature, religion and love for Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

. Gaudí studied every detail of his creations, integrating into his architecture a series of crafts in which he was skilled: ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

s, stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

, wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

work forging
Forging
Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. Forging is often classified according to the temperature at which it is performed: '"cold," "warm," or "hot" forging. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to 580 metric tons...

 and carpentry
Carpentry
A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who works with timber to construct, install and maintain buildings, furniture, and other objects. The work, known as carpentry, may involve manual labor and work outdoors....

. He introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as trencadís
Trencadís
Trencadís is a type of mosaic created from broken tile shards. The technique is also called pique assiette.This mosaic is done thanks to broken pieces of ceramic like tiles and cups, for instance.Antoni Gaudí was the first to use this technique...

, made of waste ceramic pieces.

After a few years under the influence of neo-Gothic art
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and Oriental techniques, Gaudí became part of the Catalan Modernista movement which was reaching its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work transcended mainstream Modernisme, culminating in an organic style inspired by nature. Gaudí rarely drew detailed plans of his works, instead preferring to create them as three-dimensional scale model
Scale model
A scale model is a physical model, a representation or copy of an object that is larger or smaller than the actual size of the object, which seeks to maintain the relative proportions of the physical size of the original object. Very often the scale model is used as a guide to making the object in...

s and molding the details as he was conceiving them.

Gaudí’s work enjoys widespread international appeal and many studies are devoted to understanding his architecture. Today, his work finds admirers among architects and the general public alike. His masterpiece, the still-uncompleted Sagrada Família, is one of the most visited monuments in Spain. Between 1984 and 2005, seven of his works were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

. Gaudí’s Roman Catholic faith intensified during his life and religious images permeate his work. This earned him the nickname "God's Architect" and led to calls for his beatification.

Birth, childhood and studies

Antoni Gaudí was born in 1852 in Riudoms
Riudoms
Riudoms is a town in the comarca of Baix Camp, province of Tarragona, in Catalonia, Spain, located about five kilometers from the regional capital Reus.The main product is the hazelnut, today in recession, and extra virgin olive oil.-History:...

 or in Reus
Reus
Reus is the capital of the comarca of Baix Camp, in the province of Tarragona, in Catalonia, Spain. The area has always been an important producer of wines and spirits, and gained continental importance at the time of the Phylloxera plague...

, to the industrial boilermaker
Boilermaker
A boilermaker is a trained craftsman who produces steel fabrications from plates and sections. The name originated from craftsmen who would fabricate boilers, but they may work on projects as diverse as bridges to blast furnaces to the construction of mining equipment.-Boilermaking:Many...

 Francesc Gaudí i Serra (1813–1906) and Antònia Cornet i Bertran (1819–1876). He was the youngest of five children, of whom three survived to adulthood: Rosa (1844–1879), Francesc (1851–1876) and Antoni. Gaudí’s family originated in the Auvergne region
Auvergne (région)
Auvergne is one of the 27 administrative regions of France. It comprises the 4 departments of Allier, Puy de Dome, Cantal and Haute Loire.The current administrative region of Auvergne is larger than the historical province of Auvergne, and includes provinces and areas that historically were not...

 in southern France. One of his ancestors, Joan Gaudí, a hawker, moved to Catalonia in the 17th century; possible origins of Gaudí's family name include Gaudy or Gaudin.

Gaudí's exact birthplace is unknown because no supporting documents survive, leading to a controversy about whether he was born in Reus or Riudoms, two neighbouring municipalities of the Baix Camp
Baix Camp
Baix Camp is a comarca of Catalonia in northeastern Spain. It is one of the three comarques into which Camp de Tarragona was divided in the comarcal division of 1936....

 district. Most of Gaudí's identification documents from both his student and professional years gave Reus as his birthplace. Gaudí stated on various occasions that he was born in Riudoms, his paternal family's village. Gaudí was baptised
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 in the church of Sant Pere Apòstol in Reus the day after his birth under the name "Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet".

Gaudí had a deep appreciation for his native land and great pride in his Mediterranean heritage. He believed Mediterranean people to be endowed with creativity, originality and an innate sense for art and design. Gaudí reportedly described this distinction by stating, "We own the image. Fantasy comes from the ghosts. Fantasy is what people in the North own. We are concrete. The image comes from the Mediterranean. Orestes
Orestes
Orestes was the son of Agamemnon in Greek mythology; Orestes may also refer to:Drama*Orestes , by Euripides*Orestes, the character in Sophocles' tragedy Electra*Orestes, the character in Aeschylus' trilogy of tragedies, Oresteia...

 knows his way, where Hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

 is torn apart by his doubts." Time spent outdoors, particularly during summer stays in the Gaudí family home Mas de la Calderera, afforded Gaudí the opportunity to study nature. Gaudí's enjoyment of the natural world led him to join the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya in 1879 at the age of 27. The organisation arranged expeditions to explore Catalonia and southern France, often riding on horseback or walking ten kilometres a day.

Young Gaudí suffered from poor health, including rheumatism
Rheumatism
Rheumatism or rheumatic disorder is a non-specific term for medical problems affecting the joints and connective tissue. The study of, and therapeutic interventions in, such disorders is called rheumatology.-Terminology:...

, which may have contributed to his reticent and reserved character. These health concerns and the hygienist theories of Dr. Kneipp
Sebastian Kneipp
Sebastian Kneipp was a Bavarian priest and one of the founders of the Naturopathic medicine movement...

 contributed to Gaudí's decision to adopt vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

 early in his life. His religious faith and strict vegetarianism led him to undertake several lengthy and severe fast
FAST
-Primary meanings:Fast may refer to:* Fast as in high speed or velocity, may be used with anything that has a speed.* Fasting, abstaining from foodSlang:* Fast, a slang term for someone who is sexually promiscuous-Sports:...

s. These fasts were often unhealthy and occasionally, as in 1894, led to life-threatening illness.

Gaudí attended a nursery school run by Francesc Berenguer, whose son, also called Francesc, later became one of Gaudí’s main assistants. He enrolled in the Piarists
Piarists
The Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools or, in short, Piarists , is the name of the oldest Catholic educational order also known as the Scolopi, Escolapios or Poor Clerics of the Mother of God...

 school in Reus where he displayed his artistic talents via drawings for a seminar called El Arlequín (the Harlequin). During this time he worked as an apprentice in the "Vapor Nou" textile mill in Reus. In 1868 he moved to Barcelona to study teaching in the Convent del Carme. In his adolescent years Gaudí became interested in utopian socialism
Utopian socialism
Utopian socialism is a term used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen which inspired Karl Marx and other early socialists and were looked on favorably...

 and, together with his fellow students Eduard Toda i Güell and Josep Ribera i Sans, planned a restoration of the Poblet monastery
Poblet Monastery
The Royal Abbey of Santa Maria de Poblet is a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1151, located at the feet of the Prades Mountains, in the comarca of Conca de Barberà, in Catalonia . It was founded by Cistercian monks from France on lands conquered from the Moors...

 that would have transformed it into a Utopian phalanstère
Phalanstère
A phalanstère was a type of building designed for an utopian community and developed in the early 19th century by Charles Fourier. Based on the idea of a phalanx, this self-contained community ideally consisted of 1500-1600 people working together for mutual benefit...

.

Between 1875 and 1878, Gaudí completed his compulsory military service in the infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 regiment in Barcelona as a Military Administrator. Most of his service was spent on sick leave, enabling him to continue his studies. His poor health kept him from having to fight in the Third Carlist War
Third Carlist War
The Third Carlist War was the last Carlist War in Spain. It is very often referred to as the Second Carlist War, as the 'second' had been small in scale and almost trivial in political consequence....

, which lasted from 1872 to 1876. In 1876 Gaudí's mother died at the age of 57, as did his 25-year-old brother Francesc, who had just graduated as a physician. During this time Gaudí studied architecture at the Llotja School and the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture, graduating in 1878. To finance his studies, Gaudí worked as a draughtsman
Draughtsman
A draughtsman or draftsman , is a person skilled in drawing, either:*drawing for artistic purposes, or*technical drawing for practical purposes such as architecture or engineering...

 for various architects and constructors such as Leandre Serrallach, Joan Martorell
Joan Martorell
Joan Martorell i Montells was a Catalan architect and designer. He was an uncle of the architect Bernardí Martorell i Puig....

, Emili Sala Cortés, Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano
Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano
Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, was a Spanish architect.He studied architecture in Madrid at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, and qualified in 1852. The following year he settled in Barcelona and was elected a member of what is now known as the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de...

 and Josep Fontserè. In addition to his architecture classes, he studied French, history, economics, philosophy and aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

. His grades were average and he occasionally failed courses. When handing him his degree, Elies Rogent
Elies Rogent
Elies Rogent i Amat , was a Catalan architect of Spanish nationality. He studied at the school of Architecture in Madrid, from which he graduated on 20 February 1851...

, director of Barcelona Architecture School, said: "We have given this academic title either to a fool or a genius. Time will show." Gaudí, when receiving his degree, reportedly told his friend, the sculptor Llorenç Matamala, with his ironical sense of humour, "Llorenç, they’re saying I’m an architect now."

Adulthood and professional work

Gaudí’s first projects were the lampposts he designed for the Plaça Reial
Plaça Reial
Plaça Reial is a square in the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It lies next to la Rambla and constitutes a well-known touristic attraction, especially at night. On the square are a large number of restaurants and some of the city's most famous clubs including Sidecar, Jamboree or Karma...

 in Barcelona, the unfinished Girossi newsstands, and the Cooperativa Obrera Mataronense (Workers' Cooperative of Mataró
Mataró
Mataró is the capital and largest city of the comarca of the Maresme, in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia Autonomous Community, Spain. It is located on the Costa del Maresme, to the south of Costa Brava, between Cabrera de Mar and Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, to the north-east of Barcelona. , it...

) building. He gained wider recognition for his first important commission, the Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens is a family residence in Barcelona , designed by Antoni Gaudí and built for industrialist Manuel Vicens. It was Gaudí's first important work. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí" in 2005....

, and subsequently received more significant proposals. At the Paris World's Fair of 1878
Exposition Universelle (1878)
The third Paris World's Fair, called an Exposition Universelle in French, was held from 1 May through to 10 November 1878. It celebrated the recovery of France after the 1870 Franco-Prussian War.-Construction:...

 Gaudí displayed a showcase he had produced for the glove manufacturer Comella. Its functional and aesthetic modernista design impressed Catalan industrialist Eusebi Güell, who then commissioned some of Gaudí’s most outstanding work: the Güell wine cellars, the Güell pavilions, the Palau Güell
Palau Güell
The Palau Güell is a mansion in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí for the Catalan industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell.It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí"....

 (Güell palace), the Park Güell (Güell park) and the crypt of the church of the Colònia Güell. Gaudí also became a friend of the marquis of Comillas, the father-in-law of Count Güell, for whom he designed "El Capricho" in Comillas
Comillas
Comillas is a small township and municipality in the northern reaches of Spain, in the autonomous community of Cantabria. The Marquisate of Comillas, a fiefdom of Spanish nobility, holds ceremonial office in the seat of power at a small castle which overlooks the town.-Marquis of Comillas:The first...

.

In 1883 Gaudí was put in charge of the recently-initiated project to build a Barcelona cathedral called Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família
Sagrada Familia
The ' , commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí...

 (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, or Sagrada Família). Gaudí completely changed the initial design and imbued it with his own distinctive style. From 1915 until his death he devoted himself entirely to this project. Given the number of commissions he began receiving, he had to rely on his team to work on multiple projects simultaneously. His team consisted of professionals from all fields of construction. Several of the architects who worked under him became prominent in the field later on, such as Josep Maria Jujol
Josep Maria Jujol
Josep Maria Jujol Gibert was a Catalan architect.Jujol's wide field of activity ranged from furniture designs and painting, to architecture. He worked with Antoni Gaudí on many of his most famous works.-Biography:...

, Joan Rubió
Joan Rubió
Joan Rubió i Bellver was a Spanish Catalan architect famous for his contributions to the Catalan Modernist movement...

, Cèsar Martinell, Francesc Folguera and Josep Francesc Ràfols. In 1885, Gaudí moved to rural Sant Feliu de Codines
Sant Feliu de Codines
Sant Feliu de Codines is a municipality in the comarca of the Vallès Oriental in Catalonia, Spain. It is linked by a local road to Caldes de Montbui and to Centelles....

 to escape the cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 epidemic that was ravaging Barcelona. He lived in Francesc Ullar’s house, for whom he designed a dinner table as a sign of his gratitude.
The 1888 World Fair was one of the era's major events in Barcelona and represented a key point in the history of the Modernisme movement. Leading architects displayed their best works, including Gaudí, who showcased the building he had designed for the Compañía Trasatlántica (Transatlantic Company). Consequently he received a commission to restructure the Saló de Cent of the Barcelona City Council, but this project was ultimately not carried out. In the early 1890s Gaudí received two commissions from outside of Catalonia, namely the Bishop's Palace of Astorga and the Casa Botines in León
León, Spain
León is the capital of the province of León in the autonomous community of Castile and León, situated in the northwest of Spain. Its city population of 136,985 makes it the largest municipality in the province, accounting for more than one quarter of the province's population...

. These works contributed to Gaudí's growing renown across Spain. In 1891, he travelled to Málaga
Málaga
Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,507 in 2010, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. This is the southernmost large city in Europe...

 and Tangiers to examine the site for a project for the Franciscan Catholic Missions that the 2nd marquis of Comillas had requested him to design.
In 1899 Gaudí joined the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc
Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc
The Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc is an arts society which was founded in Barcelona in 1893 by Joan Llimona, Josep Llimona, Antoni Utrillo, Alexandre de Riquer, the city councillor Alexandre M...

 (Saint Luke artistic circle), a Catholic artistic society founded in 1893 by the bishop Josep Torras i Bages
Josep Torras i Bages
Josep Torras i Bages , born at Les Cabanyes, Alt Penedès, on 12 September 1846 - died at Vic, Osona, on 7 February 1916) was a Catalan thinker, writer and bishop...

 and the brothers Josep
Josep Llimona i Bruguera
Josep Llimona i Bruguera , was a Catalan sculptor. His first works were academic, but after a stay in Paris, influenced by Auguste Rodin, his style drew closer to modernisme. He was very prolific, and exhibited in Catalonia, Madrid, Paris, Brussels and Buenos Aires...

 and Joan Llimona. He also joined the Lliga Espiritual de la Mare de Déu de Montserrat (spiritual league of Our lady of Montserrat), another Catholic Catalan
Catalan people
The Catalans or Catalonians are the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia that form a historical nationality in Spain. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France are sometimes included in this definition...

 organisation. The conservative and religious character of his political thought was closely linked to his defence of the cultural identity of the Catalan people.

At the beginning of the century, Gaudí was working on numerous projects simultaneously. They reflected his shift to a more personal style inspired by nature. In 1900, he received an award for the best building of the year from the Barcelona City Council for his Casa Calvet
Casa Calvet
Casa Calvet is a building, designed by Antoni Gaudí for a textile manufacturer which served as both a commercial property and a residence...

. During the first decade of the century Gaudí dedicated himself to projects like the Casa Figueras (Figueras house, better known as Bellesguard
Bellesguard
Bellesguard , also known as Casa Figueres, is a modernist manor house designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, which was constructed between 1900 and 1909.It is located at the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district of Barcelona...

), the Park Güell
Park Güell
Park Güell is a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914...

, an unsuccessful urbanisation project, and the restoration of the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca, for which he visited Majorca several times. Between 1904 and 1910 he constructed the Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is a building restored by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, built in the year 1877 and remodelled in the years 1904–1906; located at 43, Passeig de Gràcia , part of the Illa de la Discòrdia in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain...

 (Batlló house) and the Casa Milà
Casa Milà
Casa Milà , better known as La Pedrera , is a building designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built during the years 1905–1910, being considered officially completed in 1912...

 (Milá house), two of his most emblematic works.
As a result of Gaudí’s increasing fame, in 1902 the painter Joan Llimona chose Gaudí’s features to represent Saint Philip Neri in the paintings for the aisle of the Sant Felip Neri church in Barcelona. Together with Joan Santaló, son of his friend the physician Pere Santaló, he unsuccessfully founded a wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

 manufacturing company the same year.

After moving to Barcelona, Gaudí frequently changed his address: as a student he lived in residences, generally in the area of the Gothic Quarter; when he started his career he moved around several rented flats in the Eixample
Eixample
The Eixample is a district of Barcelona between the old city and what were once surrounding small towns , constructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries....

 area. Finally, in 1906, he settled in a house in the Güell Park that he owned and which had been constructed by his assistant Francesc Berenguer as a showcase property for the estate. It has since been transformed into the Gaudí Museum. There he lived with his father (who died in 1906 at the age of 93) and his niece Rosa Egea Gaudí (who died in 1912 at the age of 36). He lived in the house until 1925, several months before his death, when he began residing inside the workshop of the Sagrada Família.

An event that had a profound impact on Gaudí’s personality was Tragic Week in 1909. Gaudí remained in his house in Güell Park during this turbulent period. The anticlerical atmosphere and attacks on churches and convents caused Gaudí to worry for the safety of the Sagrada Família, but the building escaped damage.

In 1910, an exhibition in the Grand Palais
Grand Palais
This article contains material abridged and translated from the French and Spanish Wikipedia.The Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, commonly known as the Grand Palais , is a large historic site, exhibition hall and museum complex located at the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, France...

 of Paris was devoted to his work, during the annual salon of the Société des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Society) of France. Gaudí participated on the invitation of count Güell, displaying a series of pictures, plans and plaster scale models of several of his works. Although he participated hors concours, he received good reviews from the French press. A large part of this exposition could be seen the following year at the I Salón Nacional de Arquitectura that took place in the municipal exhibition hall of Buen Retiro in Madrid.

During the Paris exposition in May 1910, Gaudí spent a holiday in Vic
Vic
Vic is the capital of the comarca of Osona, in the Barcelona Province, Catalonia, Spain. Vic's location, only 69 km far from Barcelona and 60 km from Girona, has made it one of the most important towns in central Catalonia.-History:...

, where he designed two basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

 lampposts and wrought iron for the Plaça Major of Vic in honor of Jaume Balmes
Jaume Balmes
Father Jaime Luciano Balmes y Urpiá , Catalan Spanish Catholic priest, eminent as a political writer and a philosopher.-Biography:Balmes was born and died at Vic in Catalonia, Spain....

’s centenary. The following year he resided as a convalescent in Puigcerdà
Puigcerdà
Puigcerdà is the capital of the Catalan comarca of Cerdanya, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, northern Spain, near the river Segre and the border with France .- History :...

 while suffering from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

. During this time he conceived the idea for the facade of the Passion of the Sagrada Família. Due to ill health he prepared a will
Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

 at the office of the notary Ramon Cantó i Figueres on 9 June, but later completely recovered.

The decade from 1910 was a hard one for Gaudí. During this decade, the architect experienced the deaths of his niece Rosa in 1912 and his main collaborator Francesc Berenguer in 1914; a severe economic crisis which paralysed work on the Sagrada Família in 1915; the 1916 death of his friend Josep Torras i Bages, bishop of Vic; the 1917 disruption of work at the Colonia Güell; and the 1918 death of his friend and patron Eusebi Güell. Perhaps because of these tragedies he devoted himself entirely to the Sagrada Família from 1915, taking refuge in his work. Gaudí confessed to his collaborators:
Gaudí dedicated the last years of his life entirely to the “Cathedral of the Poor”, as it was commonly known, for which he took alms
Alms
Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.It exists in a number of religions. In Philippine Regions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to monks and nuns to...

 in order to continue. Apart from his dedication to this cause, he participated in few other activities, the majority of which were related to religion: in 1916 he participated in a course about Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

 at the Palau de la Música Catalana
Palau de la Música Catalana
The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall in Barcelona. Designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement...

 taught by the Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monk Gregori M. Sunyol.

Personal life

Gaudí devoted his life entirely to his profession, remaining single. He is only known to have been attracted to one woman—Josefa Moreu, teacher at the Mataró Cooperative, in 1884—but this was not reciprocated. Thereafter Gaudí took refuge in the profound spiritual peace religion offered him. Gaudí is often depicted as unsociable and unpleasant, a man of gruff reactions and arrogant gestures. However, those who were close to him described him as friendly and polite, pleasant to talk to and faithful to friends. Among these, his patrons Eusebi Güell and the bishop of Vic, Josep Torras i Bages, stand out, as well as the writers Joan Maragall
Joan Maragall
Joan Maragall i Gorina was a Catalan poet, journalist and translator, the foremost member of the modernisme movement in literature.-Life:...

 and Jacint Verdaguer
Jacint Verdaguer
Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló is regarded as one of the greatest poets of Catalan literature and a prominent literary figure of the Renaixença, a national revival movement of the late Romantic era. The bishop Josep Torras i Bages, one of the main figures of Catalan nationalism, called him the...

, the physician Pere Santaló and some of his most faithful collaborators, such as Francesc Berenguer and Llorenç Matamala.
Gaudí’s personal appearance—Nordic features, blond hair and blue eyes—changed radically over the course of time. As a young man, he dressed like a dandy
Dandy
A dandy is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of Self...

 in costly suits, sporting well-groomed hair and beard, indulging gourmet
Gourmet
Gourmet is a cultural ideal associated with the culinary arts of fine food and drink, or haute cuisine, which is characterised by elaborate preparations and presentations of large meals of small, often quite rich courses...

 taste, making frequent visits to the theatre and the opera and visiting his project sites in a horse carriage. The older Gaudí ate frugally, dressed in old, worn-out suits, and neglected his appearance to the extent that sometimes he was taken for a beggar, such as after the accident that caused his death.

Gaudí left hardly any written documents, apart from technical reports of his works required by official authorities, some letters to friends (particularly to Joan Maragall) and a few journal articles. Some quotes collected by his assistants and disciples have been preserved, above all by Josep Francesc Ràfols, Joan Bergós, Cèsar Martinell and Isidre Puig i Boada. The only written document Gaudí left is known as the Manuscrito de Reus (Reus Manuscript) (1873–1878), a kind of student diary in which he collected diverse impressions of architecture and decorating, putting forward his ideas on the subject. Included are an analysis of the Christian church and of his ancestral home, as well as a text about ornamentation and comments on the design of a desk.

Gaudí was always in favour of statehood for Catalonia but was reluctant to become politically active. Politicians, such as Francesc Cambó
Francesc Cambó
Francesc Cambó i Batlle was a conservative Catalan politician, founder and leader of the autonomist party Lliga Regionalista. He was minister in several Spanish governments...

 and Enric Prat de la Riba
Enric Prat de la Riba
Enric Prat de la Riba i Sarrà was a Catalan politician. He became a member of the Centre Escolar Catalanista, where one of the earliest definitions of Catalan nationalism was formulated....

, suggested that he run for deputy but he refused. In 1920 he was beaten by police in a riot during the Floral Games
Floral Games
Floral Games were any of a series historically related poetry contests with floral prizes. In Occitan, their original language, and Catalan they are known as Jocs florals . In French they became the Jeux floraux...

 celebrations. On 11 September 1924, National Day of Catalonia
National Day of Catalonia
On September 11, Catalonia commemorates the 1714 Siege of Barcelona defeat during the War of the Spanish Succession. As correction for their support to the claim of Habsburg Archduke Charles to the throne of Spain, institutions and rights of the territories of the Crown of Aragon were abolished by...

, he was beaten at a demonstration against the banning of the Catalan language by the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera
Primo de Rivera
Primo de Rivera is a Spanish family prominent in politics of the 19th and 20th centuries:*Fernando Primo de Rivera, Spanish politician and soldier, 1831-1921*Miguel Primo de Rivera , dictator of Spain from 23 September 1923 to 1930...

. Gaudí was arrested by the Civil Guard
Civil Guard (Spain)
The Civil Guard is the Spanish gendarmerie. It has foreign peace-keeping missions and maintains military status and is the equivalent of a federal military-status police force. As a police force, the Guardia Civil is comparable today to the French Gendarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri and the...

, resulting in a short stay in prison
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

, from which he was freed after paying 50 pesetas bail.

Death

On 7 June 1926, Gaudí was taking his daily walk to the Sant Felip Neri church for his habitual prayer and confession. While walking along the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes between Girona and Bailén streets, he was struck by a passing tram and lost consciousness. Assumed to be a beggar because of his lack of identity documents and shabby clothing, the unconscious Gaudí did not receive immediate aid. Eventually a police officer transported him in a taxi to the Santa Creu Hospital, where he received rudimentary care. By the time that the chaplain of the Sagrada Família, Mosén Gil Parés, recognised him on the following day, Gaudí's condition had deteriorated too severely to benefit from additional treatment. Gaudí died on 10 June 1926 at the age of 73 and was buried two days later. A large crowd gathered to bid farewell to him in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Família. His gravestone bears this inscription:
Antonius Gaudí Cornet. Reusensis. Annos natus LXXIV, vitae exemplaris vir, eximiusque artifex, mirabilis operis hujus, templi auctor, pie obiit Barcinone die X Junii MCMXXVI, hinc cineres tanti hominis, resurrectionem mortuorum expectant. R.I.P.

Subsequent reputation

After his death, Gaudí's works suffered a period of neglect and were largely unpopular among international critics, who regarded them as baroque and excessively imaginative. In his homeland he was equally disdained by Noucentisme
Noucentisme
Noucentisme was a Catalan cultural movement of the early 20th century that originated largely as a reaction against Modernisme, both in art and ideology, and was, simultaneously, a perception of art almost opposite to that of avantgardists...

, the new movement which took the place of Modernisme. In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, Gaudí's workshop in the Sagrada Família was ransacked and a great number of his documents, plans and scale models were destroyed.

Gaudí’s reputation was beginning to recover by the 1950s, when his work was championed not only by Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

 but also by architect Josep Lluís Sert
Josep Lluís Sert
Josep Lluís Sert i López was a Spanish Catalan architect and city planner.- Biography :Born in Barcelona, he showed keen interest in the works of his painter uncle Josep Maria Sert and of Gaudí. He studied architecture at the Escola Superior d'Arquitectura in Barcelona and set up his own studio...

. In 1952, the centenary year of the architect’s birth, the Asociación de Amigos de Gaudí (Friends of Gaudí Association) was founded with the aim of disseminating and conserving his legacy. Four years later, a retrospective was organised at the Saló del Tinell
Palau Reial Major
The Palau Reial Major is a complex of historic buildings in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was a residence of the counts of Barcelona and, later, of the Kings of Aragon. It is composed of three distinct edifices:...

 in Barcelona, and the Gaudí Chair at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia was created with the purpose of deepening the study of the Gaudí’s works and participating in their conservation. These events were followed in 1957 by Gaudí’s first international exhibition, held at the Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 in New York City. In 1976, on the 50th anniversary of his death, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised an exhibition about Gaudí and his works that toured the globe.

Between 1950 and 1960, research and writings by international critics like George R. Collins, Nikolaus Pevsner
Nikolaus Pevsner
Sir Nikolaus Bernhard Leon Pevsner, CBE, FBA was a German-born British scholar of history of art and, especially, of history of architecture...

 and Roberto Pane spread a renewed awareness of Gaudí’s work, while in his homeland it was admired and promoted by Alexandre Cirici, Juan Eduardo Cirlot
Juan Eduardo Cirlot
Juan Eduardo Cirlot Laporta was a Spanish poet, art critic, hermeneutist, mythologist, and musician.-Biography:Cirlot was born in Barcelona to Juan Cirlot and Maria Laporta...

 and Oriol Bohigas
Oriol Bohigas
Oriol Bohigas i Guardiola is a Catalan Spanish architect and urban planner. He is partner in the architecture office MBM.From 1980 until 1984 he has been the Director of Planning of the City of Barcelona....

. Gaudí’s work has since gained widespread international appreciation, such as in Japan where notable studies have been published by Kenji Imai
Kenji Imai
Kenji Imai was a Japanese architect and professor.-Life:Kenji Imai went to Waseda University in Tokyo and graduated with a degree in Architecture. He travelled to the USSR, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain in 1926...

 and Tokutoshi Torii
Tokutoshi Torii
is a Japanese architect and writer. He has lived for more than ten years in Spain, researching Spanish architecture, especially the architecture of Gaudi, on which he has published several studies.- Bibliography:...

. International recognition of Gaudí's contributions to the field of architecture and design culminated in the 1984 listing of Gaudí's key works as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Due to Gaudí's profoundly religious and ascetic lifestyle, the archbishop of Barcelona, Ricard Maria Carles proposed Gaudí’s beatification
Beatification
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

 in 1998. His beatification was approved by the Vatican in 2000. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Gaudí’s birth, a number of official ceremonies, concerts, shows and conferences were held, and several books were published. On 24 September of the same year, the musical Gaudí had its premiere in the Palau dels Esports de Barcelona
Palau dels Esports de Barcelona
The Palau dels Esports de Barcelona is a multi-purpose indoor arena in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is on Lleida Street on the slopes of Montjuïc, a hill to the south east of the city centre....

. The authors of the piece were Jordi Galceran, Esteve Miralles and Albert Guinovart. In 2008 the Gaudí Awards
Gaudí Awards
The Gaudí Awards, known in Catalan as Premis Gaudí, are Catalonia's main national film awards. The awards were established in 2009 by Acadèmia del Cinema Català ....

 were launched in his honour, organised by the Catalan Film Academy to award the best Catalan films of the year.

Gaudí and Modernisme

Gaudí's professional life was distinctive in that he never ceased to investigate mechanical building structures. Early on, Gaudí was inspired by oriental arts (India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Persia, Japan) through the study of the historicist
Historicism
Historicism is a mode of thinking that assigns a central and basic significance to a specific context, such as historical period, geographical place and local culture. As such it is in contrast to individualist theories of knowledges such as empiricism and rationalism, which neglect the role of...

 architectural theoreticians, such as Walter Pater
Walter Pater
Walter Horatio Pater was an English essayist, critic of art and literature, and writer of fiction.-Early life:...

, John Ruskin
John Ruskin
John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political...

 and William Morris
William Morris
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...

. The influence of the Oriental movement can be seen in works like the Capricho, the Güell Palace, the Güell Pavilions and the Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens is a family residence in Barcelona , designed by Antoni Gaudí and built for industrialist Manuel Vicens. It was Gaudí's first important work. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí" in 2005....

. Later on, he adhered to the neo-Gothic movement that was in fashion at the time, following the ideas of the French architect Viollet-le-Duc. This influence is reflected in the Colegi de les Teresianes, the bishop's palace in Astorga, the Casa Botines and the Bellesguard house as well as in the crypt and the apse of the Sagrada Família. Eventually, Gaudí embarked on a more personal phase, with the organic style inspired by nature in which he would build his major works.

During his time as a student, Gaudí was able to study a collection of photographs of Egyptian, Indian, Persian, Mayan, Chinese and Japanese art owned by the School of Architecture. The collection also included Moorish monuments in Spain, which left a deep mark on him and served as an inspiration in many of his works. He also studied the book Plans, elevations, sections and details of the Alhambra by Owen Jones
Owen Jones (architect)
Owen Jones was a London-born architect and designer of Welsh descent. He was a versatile architect and designer, and one of the most influential design theorists of the nineteenth century...

, which he borrowed from the School’s library. He took various structural and ornamental solutions from nazarí and mudéjar
Mudéjar
Mudéjar is the name given to individual Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus who remained in Iberia after the Christian Reconquista but were not converted to Christianity...

 art, which he used with variations and stylistic freedom in his works. Notably, Gaudí observed of Islamic art
Islamic art
Islamic art encompasses the visual arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people who lived within the territory that was inhabited by or ruled by culturally Islamic populations...

 its spatial uncertainty, its concept of structures with limitless space; its feeling of sequence, fragmented with holes and partitions, which create a divide without disrupting the feeling of open space by enclosing it with barriers.

Undoubtedly the style that most influenced him was the Gothic Revival, promoted in the latter half of the 19th century by the theoretical works of Viollet-le-Duc. The French architect called for studying the styles of the past and adapting them in a rational manner, taking into account both structure and design. Nonetheless, for Gaudí the Gothic style was "imperfect", because despite the effectiveness of some of its structural solutions it was an art that had yet to be "perfected”. In his own words:

After these initial influences, Gaudí moved towards Modernisme, then in its heyday. Modernisme in its earlier stages was inspired by historic architecture. Its practitioners saw its return to the past as a response to the industrial forms imposed by the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

's technological advances. The use of these older styles represented a moral regeneration that allowed the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 to identify with values they regarded as their cultural roots. The Renaixença
Renaixença
The Renaixença was an early 19th century late romantic revivalist movement in Catalan language and culture, akin to the Galician Rexurdimento or the Occitan Félibrige movements. The first stimuli of the movement date of the 1830s and 1840s, but the Renaixença stretches up into the 1880s, until it...

(rebirth), the revival of Catalan culture that began in the second half of the 19th century, brought more Gothic forms into the Catalan “national” style that aimed to combine nationalism and cosmopolitanism while at the same time integrating into the European modernizing movement.

Some essential features of Modernisme were: an anticlassical language inherited from Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 with a tendency to lyricism and subjectivity; the determined connection of architecture with the applied arts and artistic work that produced an overtly ornamental style; the use of new materials from which emerged a mixed constructional language, rich in contrasts, that sought a plastic effect for the whole; a strong sense of optimism and faith in progress that produced an emphatic art that reflected the atmosphere of prosperity of the time, above all of the esthetic of the bourgeoisie.

Quest for a new architectural language

Gaudí is usually considered the great master of Catalan Modernism, but his works go beyond any one style or classification. They are imaginative works that find their main inspiration in nature. Gaudí studied organic and anarchic
Anarchy
Anarchy , has more than one colloquial definition. In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is meant to refer to a society which lacks publicly recognized government or violently enforced political authority...

 geometric forms of nature thoroughly, searching for a way to give expression to these forms in architecture. Some of his greatest inspirations came from visits to the mountain of Montserrat
Montserrat (mountain)
Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain located near the city of Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni , Montgrós and Miranda de les Agulles...

, the caves of Mallorca
Mallorca
Majorca or Mallorca is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the Balearic Islands.The capital of the island, Palma, is also the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. The Cabrera Archipelago is administratively grouped with Majorca...

, the saltpetre
Potassium nitrate
Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−.It occurs as a mineral niter and is a natural solid source of nitrogen. Its common names include saltpetre , from medieval Latin sal petræ: "stone salt" or possibly "Salt...

 caves in Collbató
Collbató
Collbató is a municipality in the comarca of the Baix Llobregatin Catalonia, Spain. It is situated on the southern slopes of Montserrat. The area has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC, as shown by Neolithic remains found in caves above the village...

), the crag of Fra Guerau in the Prades Mountains
Prades Mountains
Prades Mountains, also known as Muntanyes de Prades, is a large calcareous mountain massif straddling the comarcas of Alt Camp, Baix Camp, Conca de Barberà, Garrigues and Priorat, in Catalonia, Spain. These mountains have characteristic large and rounded rocky outcrops...

 behind Reus, the Pareis mountain in the north of Mallorca and Sant Miquel del Fai in Bigues i Riells.

Geometrical forms

This study of nature translated into his use of ruled geometrical forms
Ruled surface
In geometry, a surface S is ruled if through every point of S there is a straight line that lies on S. The most familiar examples are the plane and the curved surface of a cylinder or cone...

 such as the hyperbolic paraboloid, the hyperboloid, the helicoid
Helicoid
The helicoid, after the plane and the catenoid, is the third minimal surface to be known. It was first discovered by Jean Baptiste Meusnier in 1776. Its name derives from its similarity to the helix: for every point on the helicoid there is a helix contained in the helicoid which passes through...

 and the cone
Cone (geometry)
A cone is an n-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a base to a point called the apex or vertex. Formally, it is the solid figure formed by the locus of all straight line segments that join the apex to the base...

, which reflect the forms Gaudí found in nature. Ruled surfaces are forms generated by a straight line known as the generatrix, as it moves over one or several lines known as directrices. Gaudí found abundant examples of them in nature, for instance in rushes
Juncaceae
Juncaceae, the rush family, are a monocotyledonous family of flowering plants. There are eight genera and about 400 species. Members of the Juncaceae are slow-growing, rhizomatous, herbaceous plants, and they may superficially resemble grasses. They often grow on infertile soils in a wide range...

, reed
Reed (plant)
Reed is a generic polyphyletic botanical term used to describe numerous tall, grass-like plants of wet places, which are the namesake vegetation of reed beds...

s and bone
Bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

s; he used to say that there is no better structure than the trunk of a tree or a human skeleton
Human skeleton
The human skeleton consists of both fused and individual bones supported and supplemented by ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage. It serves as a scaffold which supports organs, anchors muscles, and protects organs such as the brain, lungs and heart....

. These forms are at the same time functional and aesthetic, and Gaudí discovered how to adapt the language of nature to the structural forms of architecture. He used to equate the helicoid
Helicoid
The helicoid, after the plane and the catenoid, is the third minimal surface to be known. It was first discovered by Jean Baptiste Meusnier in 1776. Its name derives from its similarity to the helix: for every point on the helicoid there is a helix contained in the helicoid which passes through...

 form to movement and the hyperboloid to light. Concerning ruled surfaces, he said:
Another element widely used by Gaudí was the catenary curve. He had studied geometry
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

 thoroughly when he was young, studying numerous articles about engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

, a field that praised the virtues of the catenary curve as a mechanical element, one which at that time, however, was used only in the construction suspension bridge
Suspension bridge
A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. Outside Tibet and Bhutan, where the first examples of this type of bridge were built in the 15th century, this type of bridge dates from the early 19th century...

s. Gaudí was the first to use this element in common architecture. Catenary arches in works like the Casa Milà, the School of the Teresianas, the crypt of the Colònia Güell and the Sagrada Família allowed Gaudí to add an element of great strength to his structures, given that the catenary distributes the weight it regularly carries evenly, being affected only by self-canceling tangential forces.

Gaudí evolved from plane to spatial geometry, to ruled geometry. These constructional forms are highly suited to the use of cheap materials such as brick. Gaudí frequently used brick laid with mortar in successive layers, as in the traditional Catalan vault
Catalan vault
The Catalan vault, also called the Catalan turn or Catalan arch or a timbrel vault, is a type of low arch made of plain bricks often used to make a structural floor surface...

. This quest for new structural solutions culminated between 1910 and 1920, when he exploited his research and experience in his masterpiece, the Sagrada Família. Gaudí conceived this church as if it were the structure of a forest, with a set of tree-like columns divided into various branches to support a structure of intertwined hyperboloid vault
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

s. He inclined the columns so they could better resist the perpendicular pressures on their section. He also gave them a double turn helicoid shape (right turn and left turn), as in the branches and trunks of trees. This created a structure that is now known as fractal
Fractal
A fractal has been defined as "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole," a property called self-similarity...

. Together with a modulation of the space that divides it into small, independent and self-supporting modules, it creates a structure that perfectly supports the mechanical traction forces without need for buttresses, as required by the neo-Gothic style. Gaudí thus achieved a rational, structured and perfectly logical solution, creating at the same time a new architectural style that was original, simple, practical and aesthetic.

Surpassing the Gothic

This new constructional technique allowed Gaudí to achieve his greatest architectural goal; to perfect and go beyond Gothic style. The hyperboloid vaults have their centre where Gothic vaults had their keystone, and the hyperboloid allows for a hole in this space to let natural light in. In the intersection between vaults, where Gothic vaults have ribs, the hyperboloid allows for holes as well, which Gaudí employed to give the impression of a starry sky.

Gaudí complemented this organic vision of architecture with a unique spatial vision that allowed him to conceive his designs in three dimensions, unlike the flat design of traditional architecture. He used to say that he had acquired this spatial sense as a boy by looking at the drawings his father made of the boilers and stills he produced. Because of this spatial conception, Gaudí always preferred to work with casts and scale models or even improvise on site as a work progressed. Reluctant to draw plans, only on rare occasions did he sketch his works, in fact only when required by authorities.
Another of Gaudí’s innovations in the technical realm was the use of a scale model to calculate structures: for the church of the Colònia Güell, he built a 1:10 scale model with a height of 4 metres (13.1 ft) in a shed next to the building. There, he set up a model that had strings with small bags full of bullets hanging from them. On a drawing board that was attached to the ceiling he drew the floor of the church, and he hung the strings (for the catenaries) with the bullets (for the weight) from the supporting points of the building—columns, intersection of walls. These weights produced a catenary curve both in the arches and vaults. At that point, he took a picture that, when inverted, showed the structure for columns and arches that Gaudí was looking for. Gaudí then painted over these photographs with gouache
Gouache
Gouache[p], also spelled guache, the name of which derives from the Italian guazzo, water paint, splash or bodycolor is a type of paint consisting of pigment suspended in water. A binding agent, usually gum arabic, is also present, just as in watercolor...

 or pastel
Pastel
Pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation....

. The outline of the church defined, he recorded every single detail of the building: architectural, stylistic and decorative.

Gaudí's position in the history of architecture is that of a creative genius who, inspired by nature, developed a style of his own that attained technical perfection as well as aesthetic value, and bore the mark of his character. Gaudí’s structural innovations were to an extent the result of his journey through various styles, from Doric
Dorian mode
Due to historical confusion, Dorian mode or Doric mode can refer to three very different musical modes or diatonic scales, the Greek, the medieval, and the modern.- Greek Dorian mode :...

 to Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 via Gothic
Gothic
-Germanic people:*Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes**Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language, spoken by the Goths**Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by the Crimean Goths...

, his main inspiration. It could be said that these styles culminated in his work, who reinterpreted and perfected them. Gaudí passed through the historicism and eclecticism of his generation without connecting with other architectural movements of the 20th century that, with their rationalist postulates, derived from the Bauhaus
Bauhaus
', commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term stood for "School of Building".The Bauhaus school was founded by...

 school, and represented an antithetical evolution to that initiated by Gaudí, given that it later reflected the disdain and the initial lack of comprehension of the work of the modernista architect.

Other factors that led to the initial neglect of the Catalan architect's work was that despite having numerous assistants and helpers, Gaudí create no school of his own and never taught, nor did he leave written documents. Some of his subordinates adopted his innovations, above all Francesc Berenguer and Josep Maria Jujol
Josep Maria Jujol
Josep Maria Jujol Gibert was a Catalan architect.Jujol's wide field of activity ranged from furniture designs and painting, to architecture. He worked with Antoni Gaudí on many of his most famous works.-Biography:...

; others, like Cèsar Martinell, Francesc Folguera and Josep Francesc Ràfols graduated towards Noucentisme
Noucentisme
Noucentisme was a Catalan cultural movement of the early 20th century that originated largely as a reaction against Modernisme, both in art and ideology, and was, simultaneously, a perception of art almost opposite to that of avantgardists...

, leaving the master’s trail. Despite this, a degree of influence can be discerned in some architects that either formed part of the Modernista movement or departed from it and who had had no direct contact with him, such as Josep Maria Pericas (Casa Alòs, Ripoll
Ripoll
Ripoll is the capital of the comarca of Ripollès, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. It is located on confluence of the Ter River and its tributary Freser, next to the Pyrenees near the French border...

), Bernardí Martorell (Olius
Olius
Olius is a municipality in the comarca of the Solsonès in Catalonia, Spain. It is situated on the Cardener river above the reservoir of Sant Ponç. The village is served by the C-149 road between Solsona and Berga. The church of Sant Esteve d'Olius is a protected historico-artistic monument.-...

 cemetery) and Lluís Muncunill (Masía Freixa, Terrassa
Terrassa
Terrassa is a city in the east central region of Catalonia, Spain, in the comarca of Vallès Occidental, of which it is the co-capital along with Sabadell, the historic capital....

). Nonetheless, Gaudí left a deep mark on 20th century architecture: masters like Le Corbusier
Le Corbusier
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier , was a Swiss-born French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and painter, famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930...

 declared themselves admirers, and the works of other architects like Pier Luigi Nervi
Pier Luigi Nervi
Pier Luigi Nervi was an Italian engineer. He studied at the University of Bologna and qualified in 1913. Dr. Nervi taught as a professor of engineering at Rome University from 1946-61...

, Friedensreich Hundertwasser
Friedensreich Hundertwasser
Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser was an Austrian painter and architect. Born Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna, he became one of the best-known contemporary Austrian artists, although controversial, by the end of the 20th century.-Life:Hundertwasser's father Ernst Stowasser died three...

, Oscar Niemeyer
Oscar Niemeyer
Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho is a Brazilian architect specializing in international modern architecture...

, Félix Candela
Félix Candela
Félix Candela Outeriño was a Spanish architect known for his significant role in the development of Mexican architecture and structural engineering. Candela’s major contribution to architecture was the development of thin shells made out of reinforced concrete...

, Eduardo Torroja
Eduardo Torroja
Eduardo Torroja y Miret, was a Spanish structural engineer, pioneer in the design of concrete-shell structures. His first large project was the Tempul cable-stayed aqueduct in 1926, Guadalete, Jerez de la Frontera, in which he used prestressed girders, and he made his name with the concrete...

 and Santiago Calatrava
Santiago Calatrava
Santiago Calatrava Valls is a Spanish architect, sculptor and structural engineer whose principal office is in Zürich, Switzerland. Classed now among the elite designers of the world, he has offices in Zürich, Paris, Valencia, and New York City....

 were inspired by Gaudí. Frei Otto
Frei Otto
Frei Paul Otto is a German architect and structural engineer.- Life :Otto was born in Siegmar . He studied architecture in Berlin before being drafted into the Luftwaffe as a fighter pilot in the last years of World War II...

 used Gaudí’s forms in the construction of the Munich Olympic Stadium. In Japan, the work of Kenji Imai
Kenji Imai
Kenji Imai was a Japanese architect and professor.-Life:Kenji Imai went to Waseda University in Tokyo and graduated with a degree in Architecture. He travelled to the USSR, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain in 1926...

 bears evidence of Gaudí’s influence, as can be seen in the Memorial for the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan in Nagasaki
Nagasaki
is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. Nagasaki was founded by the Portuguese in the second half of the 16th century on the site of a small fishing village, formerly part of Nishisonogi District...

 (Japanese National Architecture Award in 1962), where the use of Gaudí's famous “trencadís" stands out.

Design and craftsmanship

During his student days, Gaudí attended craft workshops, such as those taught by Eudald Puntí, Llorenç Matamala and Joan Oñós, where he learned the basic aspects of techniques relating to architecture, including sculpture, carpentry
Carpentry
A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who works with timber to construct, install and maintain buildings, furniture, and other objects. The work, known as carpentry, may involve manual labor and work outdoors....

, wrought ironwork, stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

, ceramics, plaster
Plaster
Plaster is a building material used for coating walls and ceilings. Plaster starts as a dry powder similar to mortar or cement and like those materials it is mixed with water to form a paste which liberates heat and then hardens. Unlike mortar and cement, plaster remains quite soft after setting,...

 modelling, etc. He also absorbed new technological developments, integrating into his technique the use of iron and reinforced concrete in construction. Gaudí took a broad view of architecture as a multifunctional design, in which every single detail in an arrangement has to be harmoniously made and well-proportioned. This knowledge allowed him to design architectural projects, including all the elements of his works, from furnishings to illumination to wrought ironwork.

Gaudí was also an innovator in the realm of craftsmanship, conceiving new technical and decorative solutions with his materials, for example his way of designing ceramic mosaics made of waste pieces (“trencadís
Trencadís
Trencadís is a type of mosaic created from broken tile shards. The technique is also called pique assiette.This mosaic is done thanks to broken pieces of ceramic like tiles and cups, for instance.Antoni Gaudí was the first to use this technique...

”) in original and imaginative combinations. For the restoration of Mallorca Cathedral he invented a new technique to produce stained glass, which consisted of juxtaposing three glass panes of primary colours, and sometimes a neutral one, varying the thickness of the glass in order to graduate the light's intensity.
This was how he personally designed many of the Sagrada Família’s sculptures. He would thoroughly study the anatomy
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 of the figure, concentrating on gestures. For this purpose, he studied the human skeleton and sometimes used dummies made of wire to test the appropriate posture of the figure he was about to sculpt. In a second step, he photographed his models, using a mirror system that provided multiple perspectives. He then made plaster casts of the figures, both of people and animals (on one occasion he made a donkey stand up so it would not move). He modified the proportions of these casts to obtain the figure's desired appearance, depending on its place in the church (the higher up, the bigger it would be). Eventually, he sculpted the figures in stone.

Urban spaces and landscaping

Gaudí also practiced landscaping, often in urban settings. He aimed to place his works in the most appropriate natural and architectural surroundings by studying the location of his constructions thoroughly and trying to naturally integrate them into those surroundings. For this purpose, he often used the material that was most common in the nearby environment, such as the slate
Slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

 of Bellesguard and the grey Bierzo granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 in the Bishop’s Palace of Astorga. Many of his projects were gardens, such as the Güell Park and the Can Artigas Gardens, or incorporated gardens, as in the Casa Vicens or the Güell Pavilions. Gaudí's harmonious approach to landscaping is exemplified at the First Mystery of the Glory of the Rosary at Montserrat, where the architectural framework is nature itself—here the Montserrat rock—nature encircles the group of sculptures that adorned the path to the Holy Cave.

Interiors

Equally, Gaudí stood out as interior decorator, decorating most of his buildings personally, from the furnishings to the smallest details. In each case he knew how to apply stylistic particularities, personalising the decoration according to the owner’s taste, the predominant style of the arrangement or its place in the surroundings—whether urban or natural, secular or religious. Many of his works were related to liturgical furnishing. From the design of a desk for his office at the beginning of his career to the furnishings designed for the Sobrellano Palace of Comillas
Comillas
Comillas is a small township and municipality in the northern reaches of Spain, in the autonomous community of Cantabria. The Marquisate of Comillas, a fiefdom of Spanish nobility, holds ceremonial office in the seat of power at a small castle which overlooks the town.-Marquis of Comillas:The first...

, he designed all furnishing of the Vicens, Calvet, Batlló and Milà houses, of the Güell Palace and the Bellesguard Tower, and the liturgical furnishing of the Sagrada Família. It is noteworthy that Gaudí studied some ergonomy in order to adapt his furnishings to human anatomy. Many of his furnishings are exhibited at Gaudí Museum.

Another aspect is the intelligent distribution of space, always with the aim of creating a comfortable, intimate, interior atmosphere. For this purpose, Gaudí would divide the space into sections, adapted to their specific use, by means of low walls, dropped ceilings, sliding doors and wall closets. Apart from taking care of every detail of all structural and ornamental elements, he made sure his constructions had good lighting and ventilation. For this purpose, he studied each project's orientation with respect to the cardinal points, as well as the local climate and its place in its surroundings. At that time, there was an increasing demand for more domestic comfort, with piped water and gas and the use of electric light, all of which Gaudí expertly incorporated. For the Sagrada Família, for example, he carried out thorough studies on acoustics
Acoustics
Acoustics is the interdisciplinary science that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is an acoustician while someone working in the field of acoustics...

 and illumination, in order to optimise them. With regard to light, he stated:
Lighting also served Gaudí for the organisation of space, which required a careful study of the gradient of light intensity to adequately adapt to each specific environment. He achieved this with different elements such as skylights, windows, shutters and blinds; a notable case is the gradation of colour used in the atrium
Atrium (architecture)
In modern architecture, an atrium is a large open space, often several stories high and having a glazed roof and/or large windows, often situated within a larger multistory building and often located immediately beyond the main entrance doors...

 of the Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is a building restored by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, built in the year 1877 and remodelled in the years 1904–1906; located at 43, Passeig de Gràcia , part of the Illa de la Discòrdia in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain...

 to achieve uniform distribution of light throughout the interior. He also tended to build south-facing houses to maximise sunlight.

Works

Gaudí’s work is normally classed as modernista
Modernisme
Modernisme was a cultural movement associated with the search for Catalan national identity. It is often understood as an equivalent to a number of fin-de-siècle art movements, such as Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Secessionism, and Liberty style, and was active from roughly 1888 to 1911 Modernisme ...

, and it belongs to this movement because of its eagerness to renovate without breaking with tradition, its quest for modernity, the ornamental sense applied to works, and the multidisciplinary character of its undertakings, where craftsmanship plays a central role. To this, Gaudí adds a dose of the baroque, adopts technical advances and continues to use traditional architectural language. Together with his inspiration from nature and the original touch of his works, this amalgam gives his works their personal and unique character in the history of architecture.

Chronologically, it is difficult to establish guidelines that illustrate the evolution of Gaudí’s style faithfully. Although he moved on from his initially historicist approach to immerse himself completely in the modernista movement which arose so vigorously in the last third of the 19th century in Catalonia, before finally attaining his personal, organic style, this process did not consist of clearly-defined stages with obvious boundaries: rather, at every stage there are reflections of all the earlier ones, as he gradually assimilated and surpassed them. One of the best descriptions of Gaudí’s work was made by his disciple and biographer Joan Bergós, according to plastic and structural criteria. Bergós establishes five periods in Gaudí’s productions: preliminary period, mudéjar-morisco (Moorish/mudéjar art), emulated Gothic, naturalist and expressionist, and organic synthesis.

Early works

Gaudís first works both from his student days and the time just after his graduation stand out for the precision of their details, the use of geometry and the prevalence of mechanical considerations in the structural calculations.

University years

During his studies, Gaudí designed various projects, among which the following stand out: a cemetery gate (1875), a Spanish pavilion for the Philadelphia World Fair of 1876, a quay-side building (1876), a courtyard for the Diputació de Barcelona (1876), a monumental fountain for the Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona (1877) and a university assembly hall
Assembly Hall
An assembly hall is traditionally a building used for the purposes of holding deliberative assemblies. An example is the Assembly Hall where the general assembly of the state of Mississippi was held. Some Christian denominations call their meeting places or places of worship, assembly halls, such...

 (1877).
Student works
Cemetery gate (1875) Quay-side building (1876) Fountain in Plaça Catalunya (1877) University assembly hall (1877)


Antoni Gaudí started his professional career while still at university. To pay for his studies, he worked as a draughtsman for some of the most outstanding Barcelona architects of the time, such as Joan Martorell
Joan Martorell
Joan Martorell i Montells was a Catalan architect and designer. He was an uncle of the architect Bernardí Martorell i Puig....

, Josep Fontserè, Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano
Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano
Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, was a Spanish architect.He studied architecture in Madrid at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, and qualified in 1852. The following year he settled in Barcelona and was elected a member of what is now known as the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de...

, Leandre Serrallach and Emili Sala Cortés. Gaudí had a long-standing relationship with Josep Fontserè, since his family was also from Riudoms and they had known each other for some time. Despite not having an architecture degree, Fontserè received the commission from the city council for the Parc de la Ciutadella
Parc de la Ciutadella
The Parc de la Ciutadella is a park in Ciutat Vella, Barcelona, Spain. After its establishment during the mid 19 century, it was for decades the only green area in the city, and hitherto of the most popular...

 development, carried out between 1873 and 1882. For this project, Gaudí was in charge of the design of the Park's entrance gate, the bandstand's balustrade and the water project for the monumental fountain, where he designed an artificial cave that showed his liking for nature and the organic touch he would give his architecture.

Gaudí worked for Francisco de Paula del Villar on the apse of the Montserrat monastery, designing the niche for the image of the Black Virgin of Montserrat
Virgin of Montserrat
The Virgin of Montserrat is a statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery in the Montserrat mountain in Catalonia....

 in 1876. He would later substitute Villar in the works of the Sagrada Família. With Leandre Serrallach, he worked on a tram line project to Villa Arcadia in Montjuïc. Eventually, he collaborated with Joan Martorell on the Jesuit church on Carrer Casp and the Salesian convent in Passeig de Sant Joan, as well as the Villaricos church (Almería). He also carried out a project for Martorell for the competition for a new facade for Barcelona cathedral
Cathedral of Santa Eulalia
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia , also known as Barcelona Cathedral, is the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain. The cathedral was constructed throughout the 13th to 15th centuries, with the principal work done in the 14th century. The cloister, which...

, which was never accepted. His relationship with Martorell, whom he always considered one of his main and most influential masters, brought him unexpected luck; he later recommended Gaudí for the Sagrada Família.

Early post-graduation projects

After his graduation as an architect in 1878, Gaudí's first work was a set of lampposts for the Plaça Reial
Plaça Reial
Plaça Reial is a square in the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It lies next to la Rambla and constitutes a well-known touristic attraction, especially at night. On the square are a large number of restaurants and some of the city's most famous clubs including Sidecar, Jamboree or Karma...

, the project for the Girossi newsstands and the Mataró cooperative, which was his first important work. He received the request from the city council of Barcelona in February 1878, when he had graduated but not yet received his degree, which was sent from Madrid on 15 March of the same year. For this commission he designed two types of lampposts: one with six arms, of which two were installed in the Plaça Reial, and another with three, of which two were installed in the Pla del Palau, opposite the Civil Government. The lampposts were inaugurated during the Mercè
La Mercè
La Mercè is the annual festival of the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. It has been an official city holiday since 1871, when the local government first organized a program of special activities to observe the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, La Mare de Déu de la Mercè in...

 festivities in 1879. Made of cast iron with a marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 base, they have a decoration in which the caduceus
Caduceus
The caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology. The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings...

 of Mercury
Mercury (mythology)
Mercury was a messenger who wore winged sandals, and a god of trade, the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is related to the Latin word merx , mercari , and merces...

 is prominent, symbol of commerce and emblem of Barcelona.
Early post-graduate works
Lampposts Girossi newsstands Esteban Comella display Gibert Pharmacy


The Girossi newsstands project, which was never carried out, was a commission from the tradesman Enrique Girossi de Sanctis. It would have consisted of 20 newsstands, spread throughout Barcelona. Each would have included a public lavatory, a flower stand and glass panels for advertisements as well as a clock, a calendar, a barometer
Barometer
A barometer is a scientific instrument used in meteorology to measure atmospheric pressure. Pressure tendency can forecast short term changes in the weather...

 and a thermometer
Thermometer
Developed during the 16th and 17th centuries, a thermometer is a device that measures temperature or temperature gradient using a variety of different principles. A thermometer has two important elements: the temperature sensor Developed during the 16th and 17th centuries, a thermometer (from the...

. Gaudí conceived a structure with iron pillars and marble and glass slabs, crowned by a large iron and glass roof, with a gas illumination system.

The Cooperativa Obrera Mataronense (Mataró Workers' Cooperative) was Gaudí’s first big project, on which he worked from 1878 to 1882, for Salvador Pagès i Anglada. The project, for the cooperative’s head office in Mataró, comprised a factory, a worker's housing estate, a social centre and a services building, though only the factory and the services building were completed. In the factory roof Gaudí used the catenary arch for the first time, with a bolt assembly system devised by Philibert de l'Orme. He also used ceramic tile decoration for the first time in the services building. Gaudí laid out the site taking account of solar orientation, another signature of his works, and included landscaped areas. He even designed the Cooperative’s banner, with the figure of a bee
Bee
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila...

, symbol of industriousness.

In May 1878 Gaudí designed a display cabinet for the Esteban Comella glove factory, which was exhibited in the Spanish pavilion at the Paris World Exhibition that year. It was this work that attracted the attention of the entrepreneur Eusebi Güell
Eusebi Güell
Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, 1st Count of Güell was a Catalan entrepreneur who profited greatly from the industrial revolution in Catalonia in the late 19th century...

, visiting the French capital; he was so impressed that he wanted to meet Gaudí on his return, beginning a long friendship and professional collaboration. Güell became Gaudí’s main patron and sponsor of many of his large projects.

First Güell projects

Güell's first task for Gaudí, that same year, was the design of the furniture for the pantheon chapel of the Palacio de Sobrellano in Comillas, which was then being constructed by Joan Martorell, Gaudí’s teacher, at the request of the Marquis of Comillas, Güell’s father in law. Gaudí designed a chair, a bench and a prayer stool: the chair was upholstered with velvet, finished with two eagles and the Marquis’ coat of arms; the bench stands out with the motif of a dragon, designed by Llorenç Matamala; the prayer stool is decorated with plants.

Also in 1878 he drew up the plans for a theatre in the former town of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles (now a district of Barcelona); Gaudí did not take part in the construction of the theatre, which no longer exists. The following year he designed the furniture and counter for the Gibert Pharmacy, with marquetry
Marquetry
Marquetry is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels...

 of Arab influence. The same year he made five drawings for a procession in honour of the poet Francesc Vicent Garcia i Torres in Vallfogona de Riucorb
Vallfogona de Riucorb
Vallfogona de Riucorb is a municipality in the comarca of the Conca de Barberà in Catalonia, Spain. It is situated in the Comalats range in the north of the comarca, with the Cap de Cans rising to 759 m....

, where this celebrated 17th-century writer and friend of Lope de Vega
Lope de Vega
Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio was a Spanish playwright and poet. He was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Century Baroque literature...

 was the parish priest. Gaudí’s project was centred on the poet and on several aspects of agricultural work, such as reaping and harvesting grapes and olives; however, as a result of organisational problems Gaudí’s ideas were not carried out.

Between 1879 and 1881 he drew up a proposal for the decoration of the church of Sant Pacià, belonging to the Colegio de Jesús-María in Sant Andreu del Palomar: he created the altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

 in a Gothic style, the monstrance
Monstrance
A monstrance is the vessel used in the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, and Anglican churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Created in the medieval period for the public display of relics, the monstrance today is...

 with Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 influence, the mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

s and the lighting, as well as the school’s furniture. The church caught fire during the Tragic Week of 1909, and now only the mosaics remain, of “opus tesselatum”, probably the work of the Italian mosaicist Luigi Pellerin. He was given the task of decorating the church of the Colegio de Jesús-María in Tarragona (1880–1882): he created the altar in white Italian marble, and its front part, or antependium, with four columns bearing medallions of polychrome alabaster
Alabaster
Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals, when used as a material: gypsum and calcite . The former is the alabaster of the present day; generally, the latter is the alabaster of the ancients...

, with figures of angels; the ostensory with gilt wood, the work of Eudald Puntí, decorated with rosaries, angels, tetramorph
Tetramorph
A tetramorph is a symbolic arrangement of four differing elements, or the combination of four disparate elements in one unit. The term is derived from the Greek tetra, meaning four, and morph, shape....

 symbols and the dove of the Holy Ghost; and the choir stalls, which were destroyed in 1936.

In 1880 he designed an electric lighting project for Barcelona’s Muralla de Mar, or seawall
Seawall
A seawall is a form of coastal defence constructed where the sea, and associated coastal processes, impact directly upon the landforms of the coast. The purpose of a seawall is to protect areas of human habitation, conservation and leisure activities from the action of tides and waves...

, which was not carried out. It consisted of eight large iron streetlamps, profusely decorated with plant motif
Motif (music)
In music, a motif or motive is a short musical idea, a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition....

s, frieze
Frieze
thumb|267px|Frieze of the [[Tower of the Winds]], AthensIn architecture the frieze is the wide central section part of an entablature and may be plain in the Ionic or Doric order, or decorated with bas-reliefs. Even when neither columns nor pilasters are expressed, on an astylar wall it lies upon...

s, shields and names of battles and Catalan admirals. The same year he participated in the competition for the construction of the San Sebastián social centre (now town hall), won by Luis Aladrén Mendivi and Adolfo Morales de los Ríos; Gaudí submitted a project that synthesised several of his earlier studies, such as the fountain for the Plaça Catalunya and the courtyard of the Provincial Council.

Collaboration with Martorell

A new task of the Güell-López’s for Comillas
Comillas
Comillas is a small township and municipality in the northern reaches of Spain, in the autonomous community of Cantabria. The Marquisate of Comillas, a fiefdom of Spanish nobility, holds ceremonial office in the seat of power at a small castle which overlooks the town.-Marquis of Comillas:The first...

 was the gazebo
Gazebo
A gazebo is a pavilion structure, sometimes octagonal, that may be built, in parks, gardens, and spacious public areas. Gazebos are freestanding or attached to a garden wall, roofed, and open on all sides; they provide shade, shelter, ornamental features in a landscape, and a place to rest...

 for Alfonso XII’s visit to the Cantabria
Cantabria
Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community , on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.Cantabria...

n town in 1881. Gaudí designed a small pavilion in the shape of a Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 turban
Turban
In English, Turban refers to several types of headwear popularly worn in the Middle East, North Africa, Punjab, Jamaica and Southwest Asia. A commonly used synonym is Pagri, the Indian word for turban.-Styles:...

, covered in mosaics and decorated with an abundance of small bells which jingled constantly. It was subsequently moved into the Güell Pavilions.

In 1882 he designed a Benedictine monastery and a church dedicated to the Holy Spirit in Villaricos (Cuevas de Vera, Almeria) for his former teacher, Joan Martorell. It was of neo-Gothic design, similar to the Convent of the Salesians that Gaudí also planned with Martorell. Ultimately it was not carried out, and the project plans were destroyed in the looting of the Sagrada Família in 1936. The same year he was tasked with constructing a hunting lodge and wine cellar
Wine cellar
A wine cellar is a storage room for wine in bottles or barrels, or more rarely in carboys, amphorae or plastic containers. In an active wine cellar, important factors such as temperature and humidity are maintained by a climate control system. In contrast, passive wine cellars are not...

s at a country residence known as La Cuadra, in Garraf (Sitges), property of baron Eusebi Güell. Ultimately the wine cellars, but not the lodge, were built some years later. With Martorell he also collaborated on three other projects: the church of the Jesuit School in Carrer Caspe; the Convent of the Salesians in Passeig de Sant Joan, a neo-Gothic project with an altar in the centre of the crossing; and the facade project for Barcelona cathedral, for the competition convened by the cathedral chapter in 1882, ultimately won by Josep Oriol Mestres and August Font i Carreras.

Gaudí’s collaboration with Martorell was a determining factor in Gaudí’s recommendation for the Sagrada Família. The church was the idea of Josep Maria Bocabella, founder of the Devotees of Saint Joseph Association, which acquired a complete block of Barcelona’s Eixample
Eixample
The Eixample is a district of Barcelona between the old city and what were once surrounding small towns , constructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries....

 district. The project was originally entrusted to Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, who planned the construction of a neo-Gothic church, on which work began in 1882. However, the following year Villar resigned due to disagreements with the construction board, and the task went to Gaudí, who completely redesigned the project, apart from the part of the crypt that had already been built. Gaudí devoted the rest of his life to the construction of the church, which was to be the synthesis of all of his architectural discoveries.

Orientalist period

During these years Gaudí completed a series of works with a distinctly oriental flavour, inspired by the art of the Middle and Far East (India, Persia, Japan), as well as Islamic-Hispanic art, mainly Mudejar
Mudéjar
Mudéjar is the name given to individual Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus who remained in Iberia after the Christian Reconquista but were not converted to Christianity...

 and Nazari. Gaudí used ceramic tile decoration abundantly, as well as Moorish arches, columns of exposed brick and pinnacles in the shape of pavilions or domes.

Between 1883 and 1888 he constructed the Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens is a family residence in Barcelona , designed by Antoni Gaudí and built for industrialist Manuel Vicens. It was Gaudí's first important work. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí" in 2005....

, commissioned by stockbroker Manuel Vicens i Montaner. It was constructed with four floors, with facades on three sides and an extensive garden, including a monumental brick fountain. The house was surrounded by a wall with iron gates, decorated with palmetto
Sabal
Sabal is a genus of New World palms, many of the species being known as palmetto. They are fan palms , with the leaves with a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of numerous leaflets; in some of the species, the leaflets are joined for up to half of their length...

 leaves, work of Llorenç Matamala. The walls of the house are of stone alternated with lines of tile, which imitate yellow flowers typical of this area; the house is topped with chimneys and turrets. In the interior the polychrome wooden roof beams stand out, adorned with floral themes of papier maché; the walls are decorated with vegetable motifs, as well as paintings by Josep Torrescasana; finally, the floor consists of Roman-style mosaics of "opus tesselatum". One of the most original rooms is the smoking room, notable the ceiling, decorated with Moorish honeycomb-work, reminiscent of the Generalife
Generalife
The Palacio de Generalife was the summer palace and country estate of the Nasrid Emirs of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus, now beside the city of Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain.-History:...

 in the Alhambra
Alhambra
The Alhambra , the complete form of which was Calat Alhambra , is a palace and fortress complex located in the Granada, Andalusia, Spain...

 in Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

.
Orientalist works
Casa Vicens (1883-88) El Capricho (1883-85) Güell Pavilions (1884-87) Palau Güell (1886-88) Compañía Trasatlántica (1888)

In the same year, 1883, Gaudí designed the Santísimo Sacramento chapel for the parish church of San Félix de Alella, as well as some topographical plans for the Can Rosell de la Llena country residence in Gelida. He also received a commission to build a small annex
Annex
Annex or Annexe may refer to:* Annex , a Marvel Comics character* Annex, an early name for the Bangkok Adventist Hospital* Annex, addendum or appendix at the end of a book or report* Annex, an addition or extension...

 to the Palacio de Sobrellano, for the Baron of Comillas, in the Cantabria
Cantabria
Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community , on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.Cantabria...

n town of the same name. Known as El Capricho, it was commissioned by Máximo Díaz de Quijano and constructed between 1883 and 1885. Cristòfor Cascante i Colom, Gaudí’s fellow student, directed the construction. In an oriental style, it has an elongated shape, on three levels and a cylindrical tower in the shape of a Persian minaret, faced completely in ceramics. The entrance is set behind four columns supporting depressed arches, with capitals decorated with birds and leaves, similar to those that can be seen at the Casa Vicens. Notable are the main lounge, with its large sash window
Sash window
A sash window or hung sash window is made of one or more movable panels or "sashes" that form a frame to hold panes of glass, which are often separated from other panes by narrow muntins...

, and the smoking room with a ceiling consisting of a false Arab-style stucco vault.

Gaudí carried out a second commission from Eusebi Güell between 1884 and 1887, the Güell Pavilions in Pedralbes, now on the outskirts of Barcelona. Güell had a country residence in Les Corts de Sarrià, consisting of two adjacent properties known as Can Feliu and Can Cuyàs de la Riera. The architect Joan Martorell had built a Caribbean-style mansion, which was demolished in 1919 to make way for the Royal Palace of Pedralbes
Palau reial de pedralbes
The Palau Reial de Pedralbes is a building placed in the middle of an ample garden in the district of Les Corts, in Barcelona. From 1919 until 1931 it was the residence for the Spanish Royal Family when they visited the city...

. Gaudí undertook to refurbish the house and construct a wall and porter's lodge. He completed the stone wall with several entrances, the main entrance with an iron gate in the shape of a dragon, with symbology
Symbology
Symbology concerns the study of symbols.Symbology may also refer to:-Academics:* Semiotics, study of signs and symbols* Iconography, branch of art history which studies images...

 allusive to the myths of Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 and the Garden of the Hesperides. The buildings consist of a stable, covered longeing
Longeing
Longeing or lungeing is a technique for training horses, where a horse is asked to work at the end of a long line and respond to commands from a handler on the ground who holds the line. It is also a critical component of the sport of equestrian vaulting...

 ring and porter's lodge: the stable has a rectangular base and catenary arches; the longeing ring has a square base with a hyperboloid dome; the porter's lodge consists of three small buildings, the central one being polygonal with a hyperbolic dome, and the other two smaller and cubic. All three are topped by ventilators in the shape of chimneys faced with ceramics. The walls are of exposed brick in various shades of reds and yellows; in certain sections prefabricated cement blocks are also used. The Pavilions are now the headquarters of the Real Cátedra Gaudí, of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

In 1885 Gaudí accepted a commission from Josep Maria Bocabella, promotor of the Sagrada Família, for an altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

 in the oratory of the Bocabella family, who had obtained permission from the Pope to have an altar in their home. The altar is made of varnished mahogany
Mahogany
The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....

, with a slab of white marble in the centre for relics. It is decorated with plants and religious motifs, such as the Greek letters alpha and omega, symbol of the beginning and end, gospel phrases and images of Saint Francis of Paola, Saint Teresa of Avila and the Holy Family
Holy Family
The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph.The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Roman Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family...

 and closed with a curtain of crimson embroidery. It was made by the cabinet maker Frederic Labòria, who also collaborated with Gaudí on the Sagrada Família.

Shortly after, Gaudí received an important new commission from Güell: the construction of his family house, in the Carrer Nou de la Rambla in Barcelona. The Palau Güell
Palau Güell
The Palau Güell is a mansion in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí for the Catalan industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell.It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí"....

 (1886–1888) continues the tradition of large Catalan urban mansions such as those in Carrer Montcada. Gaudí designed a monumental entrance with a magnificent parabolic arch above iron gates, decorated with the Catalan coat of arms and a helmet with a winged dragon, the work of Joan Oñós. A notable feature is the triple-height entrance hall; it is the core of the building, surrounded by the main rooms of the palace, and it is remarkable for its double dome, parabolic within and conical on the outside, a solution typical of Byzantine art. For the gallery on the street facade Gaudí used an original system of catenary arches and columns with hyperbolic capitals, a style he used only here. He designed the interior of the palace with a sumptuous Mudejar-style decoration, where the wood and iron coffered ceilings stand out. The chimneys on the roof are a remarkable feature, faced in vividly-coloured ceramic tiles, as is the tall spire in the form of a lantern tower, which is the external termination of the dome within, and is also faced with ceramic tiles and topped with an iron weather vane
Weather vane
A weather vane is an instrument for showing the direction of the wind. They are typically used as an architectural ornament to the highest point of a building....

.

On the occasion of the World Expo held in Barcelona in 1888, Gaudí constructed the pavilion for the Compañía Trasatlántica, property of the Marquis of Comillas, in the Maritime Section of the event. He created it in a Granadinian Nazari style, with horseshoe arches and stucco decoration; the building survived until the Passeig Marítim was opened up in 1960. In the wake of the event he received a commission from Barcelona Council to restore the Saló de Cent and the grand stairs in Barcelona City Hall, as well as a chair for the queen Maria Cristina; only the chair was made, and Mayor Francesc Rius i Taulet presented it to the Queen.

Neo-Gothic period

During this period Gaudí was inspired above all by mediaeval Gothic art
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

, but wanted to improve on its structural solutions. Neo-gothic
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 was one of the most successful historicist styles at that time, above all as a result of the theoretical studies of Viollet-le-Duc. Gaudí studied examples in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Roussillon in depth, as well as Leonese and Castillian buildings during his stays in León and Burgos, and became convinced that it was an imperfect style, leaving major structural issues only partly resolved. In his works he eliminated the need of buttresses through the use of ruled surface
Ruled surface
In geometry, a surface S is ruled if through every point of S there is a straight line that lies on S. The most familiar examples are the plane and the curved surface of a cylinder or cone...

s, and abolished crenellations and excessive openwork.
Orientalist works
Colegio de las Teresianas Bishop's palace Casa Botines Bodegas Güell Torre Bellesguard

The first example was the Colegio de las Teresianas (1888–1889), in Barcelona’s Carrer Ganduxer, commissioned by San Enrique de Ossó. Gaudí fulfilled the wish of the order that the building should be austere, in keeping with their vows of poverty. He designed a simple building, using bricks for the exterior and some brick elements for the interior. Wrought ironwork, one of Gaudí's favourite materials, appeared on the facades. The building is crowned by a row of merlon
Merlon
In architecture, a merlon forms the solid part of an embattled parapet, sometimes pierced by embrasures. The space between two merlons is usually called a crenel, although those later designed and used for cannons were called embrasures.-Etymology:...

s which suggest a castle, a possible reference to Saint Teresa’s Interior Castle. The corners have brick pinnacles topped by helicoidal columns and culminate in a four-armed cross, typical of Gaudí’s works, and with ceramic shields bearing various symbols of the order. The interior includes a corridor which is famous for the series of catenary arches that it contains. These elegant arches are decorative and support the ceiling and the floor above. For Gaudí, the parabolic arch was an ideal constructional element, capable of supporting great loads with slender masonry.

Gaudí received his next commission from a clergyman who had been a boyhood friend in his native Reus. When he was appointed bishop of Astorga, Joan Baptista Grau i Vallespinós asked Gaudí to design a new episcopal palace for the city, as the previous building had caught fire. Constructed between 1889 and 1915, in a neo-Gothic style with four cylindrical towers, it was surrounded by a moat
Moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

. The stone with which it was built (grey granite from the El Bierzo area) is in harmony with its surroundings, particularly with the cathedral in its immediate vicinity, as well as with the natural landscape, which in late 19th-century Astorga was more visible than today. The porch has three large flared arches, built of ashlar
Ashlar
Ashlar is prepared stone work of any type of stone. Masonry using such stones laid in parallel courses is known as ashlar masonry, whereas masonry using irregularly shaped stones is known as rubble masonry. Ashlar blocks are rectangular cuboid blocks that are masonry sculpted to have square edges...

 and separated by sloping buttress
Buttress
A buttress is an architectural structure built against or projecting from a wall which serves to support or reinforce the wall...

es. The structure is supported by columns with decorated capitals and by ribbed vaults on pointed arches, and topped with Mudejar-style merlons. Gaudí resigned from the project in 1893, at the death of Bishop Grau, due to disagreements with the Chapter
Chapter (religion)
Chapter designates certain corporate ecclesiastical bodies in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Nordic Lutheran churches....

, and it was finished in 1915 by Ricardo García Guereta. It currently houses a museum about the Way of Saint James, which passes through Astorga

Another of Gaudí’s projects outside of Catalonia was the Casa de los Botines, in León (1891–1894), commissioned by Simón Fernández Fernández and Mariano Andrés Luna, textile merchants from Leon, who were recommended Gaudí by Eusebi Güell, with whom they did business. Gaudí’s project was an impressive neo-Gothic style building, which bears his unmistakable modernista imprint. The building was used to accommodate offices and textile shops on the lower floors, as well as apartments on the upper floors. It was constructed with walls of solid limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

. The building is flanked by four cylindrical turrets surmounted by slate spire
Spire
A spire is a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, particularly a church tower. Etymologically, the word is derived from the Old English word spir, meaning a sprout, shoot, or stalk of grass....

s, and surrounded by an area
Area (architecture)
Area is the name given in architecture to an excavated, subterranean space around the walls of a building, designed to admit light into a basement, often providing access to the house for tradesmen and deliveries and access to vaults beneath the pavement for storage of coal and ash.-Function:The...

 with an iron grille. The Gothic facade style, with its cusped arches, has a clock and a sculpture of Saint George and the Dragon
Saint George and the Dragon
The episode of Saint George and the Dragon appended to the hagiography of Saint George was Eastern in origin, brought back with the Crusaders and retold with the courtly appurtenances belonging to the genre of Romance...

, the work of Llorenç Matamala. As of 2010 it was the headquarters of the Caja España.

In 1892 Gaudí was commissioned by Claudio López Bru, second Marquis of Comillas, with the Franciscana Catholic Missions for the city of Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

, in Morocco (at the time a Spanish colony). The project included a church, hospital and school, and Gaudí conceived a quadrilobulate ground-plan floor structure, with catenary arches, parabolic towers, and hyperboloid windows. Gaudí deeply regretted the project's eventual demise, always keeping his design with him. In spite of this, the project influenced the works of the Sagrada Família, in particular the design of the towers, with their paraboloid shape like those of the Missions.

In 1895 he designed a funerary chapel for the Güell family at the abbey of Montserrat, but little is known about this work, which was never built. That year, construction finally began on the Bodegas Güell
Bodegas Güell
Bodegas Güell, in Catalan Celler Güell, is an architectural complex comprising a winery and associated buildings located in Garraf, in the municipality of Sitges , designed by the Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí.-History and description:...

, the 1882 project for a hunting lodge and some wineries at La Cuadra de Garraf (Sitges), property of Eusebi Güell. Constructed between 1895 and 1897 under the direction of Francesc Berenguer, Gaudí’s aide, the wineries have a triangular end facade, a very steep stone roof, a group of chimneys and two bridges that join them to an older building. It has three floors: the bottom one for a garage, an apartment and a chapel with catenary arches, with the altar in the centre. It was completed with a porter’s lodge, notable for the iron gate in the shape of a fishing net.

In the township of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles (now a district of Barcelona), the widow of Jaume Figueras commissioned Gaudí to renovate the Torre Bellesguard (1900–1909), former summer palace of King Martin I the Humane
Martin I of Aragon
Martin of Aragon , called the Elder, the Humane, the Ecclesiastic, was the King of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia, and Corsica and Count of Barcelona from 1396 and King of Sicily from 1409...

. Gaudí designed it in a neo-Gothic style, respecting the former building as much as possible, and tried as always to integrate the architecture into the natural surroundings. This influenced his choice of local slate for the construction. The building's ground-plan measures 15 x 15 meters, with the corners oriented to the four cardinal points. Constructed in stone and brick, it is taller than it is wide, with a spire topped with the four-armed cross, the Catalan flag and the royal crown. The house has a basement, ground floor, first floor and an attic, with a gable roof.

Naturalist period

During this period Gaudí perfected his personal style, inspired by the organic shapes of nature, putting into practise a whole series of new structural solutions originating from his deep analysis of ruled geometry
Ruled surface
In geometry, a surface S is ruled if through every point of S there is a straight line that lies on S. The most familiar examples are the plane and the curved surface of a cylinder or cone...

. To this he added a great creative freedom and an imaginative ornamental style. His works acquired a great structural richness, with shapes and volumes devoid of rational rigidity or any classic premise.

1898-1900

Commissioned by the company Hijos de Pedro Mártir Calvet, Gaudí built the Casa Calvet
Casa Calvet
Casa Calvet is a building, designed by Antoni Gaudí for a textile manufacturer which served as both a commercial property and a residence...

 (1898–1899), in Barcelona’s Carrer Casp. The facade is built of Montjuïc stone, adorned with wrought iron balconies and topped with two pediments with wrought iron crosses. Another notable feature of the facade is the gallery on the main floor, decorated with plant and mythological motifs. For this project Gaudí used a Baroque style, visible in the use of Solomonic columns, decoration with floral themes and the design of the terraced roof . In 1900 he won the award for the best building of the year from Barcelona City Council.

A virtually unknown work by Gaudí is the Casa Clapés (1899–1900), at 125 Carrer Escorial, commissioned by the painter Aleix Clapés, who collaborated on occasion with Gaudí, such as in decorating the Palau Güell
Palau Güell
The Palau Güell is a mansion in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí for the Catalan industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell.It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí"....

 and the Casa Milà
Casa Milà
Casa Milà , better known as La Pedrera , is a building designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built during the years 1905–1910, being considered officially completed in 1912...

. It has a ground floor and three apartments, with stuccoed walls and cast-iron balconies. Due to its lack of decoration or original structural solutions its authorship was unknown until 1976, when the architect’s signed plans by Gaudí were discovered. In 1900 he renovated the house of Dr. Pere Santaló, at 32 Carrer Nou de la Rambla, a work of equally low importance. Santaló was a friend of Gaudí's, whom he accompanied during his stay in Puigcerdà in 1911.It was he who recommended him to do manual work for his rheumatism.
Naturalist works (1898–1900)
Casa Calvert Finca Miralles Park Güell Rosary of Montserrat


Also in 1900 he designed two banners: for the Orfeó Feliuà (of Sant Feliu de Codines), made of brass, leather, cork and silk, with ornamental motifs based on the martyrdom of San Félix (a millstone), music (a staff and clef) and the inscription “Orfeó Feliuà”; and Our Lady of Mercy of Reus, for the pilgrimage of the Reus residents of Barcelona, with an image of Isabel Besora, the shepherdess to whom the Virgin appeared in 1592, work of Aleix Clapés and, on the back, a rose and the Catalan flag. In the same year, for the shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Reus, Gaudí outlined a project for the renovation of the church’s main facade, which ultimately was not undertaken, as the board considered it too expensive. Gaudí took this rejection quite badly, leaving some bitterness towards Reus, possibly the source of his subsequent claim that Riudoms was his place of birth. Between 1900 and 1902 Gaudí worked on the Casa Miralles, commissioned by the industrialist Hermenegild Miralles i Anglès; Gaudí designed only the wall near the gateway, of undulating masonry, with an iron gate topped with the four-armed cross. Subsequently, the house for Señor Miralles was designed by Domènec Sugrañes, associate architect of Gaudí.

Gaudí’s main new project at the beginning of the 20th century was the Park Güell
Park Güell
Park Güell is a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914...

 (1900–1914), commissioned by Eusebi Güell. It was intended to be a residential estate in the style of an English garden city
Garden city movement
The garden city movement is a method of urban planning that was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom. Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by "greenbelts" , containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and...

. The project was unsuccessful: of the 60 plots into which the site was divided only one was sold. Despite this, the park entrances and service areas were built, displaying Gaudí’s genius and putting into practise many of his innovative structural solutions. The Park Güell is situated in Barcelona’s Càrmel district, a rugged area, with steep slopes that Gaudí negotiated with a system of viaducts integrated into the terrain. The main entrance to the park has a building on each side, intended as a porter’s lodge and an office, and the site is surrounded by a stone and glazed-ceramic wall. These entrance buildings are an example of Gaudí at the height of his powers, with Catalan vaults that form a parabolic hyperboloid. After passing through the gate, steps lead to higher levels, decorated with sculpted fountains, notably the dragon fountain, which has become a symbol of the park and one of Gaudí’s most recognised emblems. These steps lead to the Hypostyle Hall, which was to have been the residents’ market, constructed with large Doric
Dorian mode
Due to historical confusion, Dorian mode or Doric mode can refer to three very different musical modes or diatonic scales, the Greek, the medieval, and the modern.- Greek Dorian mode :...

 columns. Above this chamber is a large plaza in the form of a Greek theatre, with the famous undulating bench covered in broken ceramics ("trencadís
Trencadís
Trencadís is a type of mosaic created from broken tile shards. The technique is also called pique assiette.This mosaic is done thanks to broken pieces of ceramic like tiles and cups, for instance.Antoni Gaudí was the first to use this technique...

"), the work of Josep Maria Jujol
Josep Maria Jujol
Josep Maria Jujol Gibert was a Catalan architect.Jujol's wide field of activity ranged from furniture designs and painting, to architecture. He worked with Antoni Gaudí on many of his most famous works.-Biography:...

. The park’s show home, the work of Francesc Berenguer, was Gaudí’s residence from 1906 to 1926, and currently houses the Casa-Museu Gaudí.

During this period Gaudí contributed to a group project, the Rosary of Montserrat (1900–1916). Located on the way to the Holy Cave of Montserrat, it was a series of groups of sculptures that evoked the mysteries of the Virgin, who tells the rosary. This project involved the best architects and sculptors of the era, and is a curious example of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí designed the First Mystery of Glory, which represents the Holy Sepulcher. The series include a statue of Christ Risen, the work of Josep Llimona, and the Three Marys sculpted by Dionís Renart. Another monumental project designed by Gaudí for Montserrat was never carried out: it would have included crowning the summit of El Cavall Bernat (one of the mountain peaks) with a viewpoint in the shape of a royal crown, incorporating a 20 metres (65.6 ft) high Catalan coat of arms into the wall.

1901–1903

In 1901 Gaudí decorated the house of Isabel Güell López, Marchioness of Castelldosrius, and daughter of Eusebi Güell. Situated at 19 Carrer Junta de Comerç, the house had been built in 1885 and renovated between 1901 and 1904; it was destroyed by a bomb during the Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. The following year Gaudí took part in the decoration of the Bar Torino, property of Flaminio Mezzalana, located at 18 Passeig de Gràcia; Gaudí designed the ornamentation of el Salón Árabe of that establishment, made with varnished Arabian-style cardboard tiles (which no longer exist).

A project of great interest to Gaudí was the restoration of the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Palma de Mallorca (1903–1914), commissioned by the city’s bishop, Pere Campins i Barceló. Gaudí planned a series of works including removing the baroque altarpiece, revealing the bishop's throne, moving the choir-stalls from the centre of the nave and placing them in the presbytery, clearing the way through chapel of the Holy Trinity, placing new pulpits, fitting the cathedral with electrical lighting, uncovering the Gothic windows of the Royal Chapel and filling them with stained glass, placing a large canopy above the main altar and completing the decoration with paintings. This was coordinated by Joan Rubió i Bellver, Gaudí’s assistant. Josep Maria Jujol and the painters Joaquín Torres García, Iu Pascual and Jaume Llongueras were also involved. Gaudí abandoned the project in 1914 due to disagreements with the Cathedral chapter.

1904

One of Gaudí’s largest and most striking works is the Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is a building restored by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, built in the year 1877 and remodelled in the years 1904–1906; located at 43, Passeig de Gràcia , part of the Illa de la Discòrdia in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain...

 (1904–1906). Commissioned by Josep Batlló i Casanovas to renovate an existing building erected in 1875 by Emili Sala Cortés, Gaudí focused on the facade, the main floor, the patio and the roof, and built a fifth floor for the staff. For this project he was assisted by his aides Domènec Sugrañes, Joan Rubió and Josep Canaleta. The facade is of Montjuïc sandstone cut to create warped ruled surface
Ruled surface
In geometry, a surface S is ruled if through every point of S there is a straight line that lies on S. The most familiar examples are the plane and the curved surface of a cylinder or cone...

s; the columns are bone-shaped with vegetable decoration. Gaudí kept the rectangular shape of the old building’s balconies—with iron railings in the shape of masks—giving the rest of the facade an ascending undulating form. He also faced the facade with ceramic fragments of various colours ("trencadís"), which Gaudí obtained from the waste material of the Pelegrí glass works. The interior courtyard is roofed by a skylight supported by an iron structure in the shape of a double T, which rests on a series of catenary aches. The helicoidal chimneys are a notable feature of the roof, topped with conical caps, covered in clear glass in the centre and ceramics at the top, and surmounted by clear glass balls filled with sand of different colours. The facade culminates in catenary vaults covered with two layers of brick and faced with glazed ceramic tiles in the form of scales (in shades of yellow, green and blue), which resemble a dragon’s back; on the left side is a cylindrical turret with anagrams of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and with Gaudí’s four-armed cross.

In 1904, commissioned by the painter Lluís Graner i Arrufí, he designed the decoration of the Sala Mercè, in the Rambla dels Estudis, one of the first cinemas in Barcelona; the theatre imitated a cave, inspired by the Coves del del Drac (Dragon's Caves) in Mallorca. Also for Graner he designed a detached house in the Bonanova district of Barcelona, of which only the foundations and the main gate were built, with three openings: for people, vehicles and birds; the building would have had a structure similar to the Casa Batlló or the porter's lodge of the Park Güell.

The same year he built a workshop, the Taller Badia, for Josep and Lluís Badia Miarnau,
blacksmiths who worked for Gaudí on several of his works, such as the Batlló and Milà houses, the Park Güell and and the Sagrada Família. Located at 278 Carrer Nàpols, it was a simple stone building. Around that time he also designed hexagonal hydraulic floor tiles
Cement tile
Cement tiles are hand-made, decorative, colorful tiles used primarily as floor coverings. Floors or walls covered with these tiles are noted for their multi-color patterns, durability and sophisticated-look. These tiles are widely used in Latin America and Europe...

 for the Casa Batlló, they were eventually used instead for the Casa Milà; they were a green colour and were decorated with seaweed, shells and starfish. These tiles were subsequently chosen to pave Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia.

Also in 1904 he built the Chalet de Catllaràs, in La Pobla de Lillet, for the Asland cement factory, owned by Eusebi Güell. It has a simple structure though very original, in the shape of a pointed arch, with two semi-circular flights of stairs leading to the top two floors. This building fell into ruin when the cement works closed, and when it was eventually restored its appearance was radically altered, the ingenious original staircase being replaced with a simpler metal one. In the same area he created the Can Artigas Gardens between 1905 and 1907, in an area called Font de la Magnesia, commissioned by the textile merchant Joan Artigas i Alart; men who had worked the Park Güell were also involved on this project, similar to the famous park in Barcelona.

1906

In 1906 he designed a bridge over the Torrent de Pomeret, between Sarrià and Sant Gervasi. This river flowed directly between two of Gaudí’s works, Bellesguard and the Chalet Graner, and so he was asked to bridge the divide. Gaudí designed an interesting structure composed of juxtaposed triangles that would support the bridge’s framework, following the style of the viaducts that he made for the Park Güell. It would have been built with cement, and would have had a length of 154 metres (505.2 ft) and a height of 15 metres (49.2 ft); the balustrade would have been covered with glazed tiles, with an inscription dedicated to Santa Eulàlia. The project was not approved by the Town Council of Sarrià.

The same year Gaudí apparently took part in the construction of the Torre Damià Mateu, in Llinars del Vallès, in collaboration with his disciple Francesc Berenguer, though the project’s authorship is not clear or to what extent they each contributed to it. The style of the building evokes Gaudí’s early work, such as the Casa Vicens or the Güell Pavilions; it had an entrance gate in the shape of a fishing net, currently installed in the Park Güell. The building was demolished in 1939. Also in 1906 he designed a new banner, this time for the Guild of Metalworkers and Blacksmiths for the Corpus Christi procession of 1910, in Barcelona Cathedral. It was dark green in colour, with Barcelona’s coat of arms in the upper left corner, and an image of Saint Eligius, patron of the guild, with typical tools of the trade. The banner was burned in July 1936.
Another of Gaudí’s major projects and one of his most admired works is the Casa Milà
Casa Milà
Casa Milà , better known as La Pedrera , is a building designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built during the years 1905–1910, being considered officially completed in 1912...

, better known as La Pedrera (1906–1910), commissioned by Pere Milà i Camps. Gaudí designed the house around two large, curved courtyards, with a structure of stone, brick and cast-iron columns and steel beams. The facade is built of limestone from Vilafranca del Penedès, apart from the upper level, which is covered in white tiles, evoking a snowy mountain. It has a total of five floors, plus a loft made entirely of catenary arches, as well as two large interior courtyards, one circular and one oval. Notable features are the staircases to the roof, topped with the four-armed cross, and the chimneys, covered in ceramics and with shapes that suggest mediaeval helmets. The interior decoration was carried out by Josep Maria Jujol and the painters Iu Pascual, Xavier Nogués and Aleix Clapés. The facade was to have been completed with a stone, metal and glass sculpture with Our lady of the Rosary accompanied by the archangels Michael and Gabriel, 4m in height. A sketch was made by the sculptor Carles Mani, but due to the events of the Tragic Week in 1909 the project was abandoned.

1907–8

In 1907, to mark the seventh centenary of the birth of King James I
James I of Aragon
James I the Conqueror was the King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier from 1213 to 1276...

, Gaudí designed a monument in his memory. It would have been situated in the Plaça del Rei, and would have also meant the renovation of the adjacent buildings: new roof for the cathedral, as well as the completion of its towers and cupola; placement of three vases above the buttresses of the Chapel of Santa Àgada, dedicated to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the figure of an angel on top of the chapel's tower; finally, the opening of a large square next to the walls (now the Plaça Ramon Berenguer el Grand). The project was not executed because the city council disliked it.

In 1908 Gaudí devised a project for a skyscraper hotel in New York, the Hotel Attraction
Hotel Attraction
Hotel Attraction was a proposed project by architect Antoni Gaudí, for a skyscraper in New York City.The project was commissioned in May 1908. Planned at a total height of 360 metres, it was probably unrealistic for its time...

, commissioned by two American entrepreneurs whose names are unknown. It would have been 360 metres (1,181.1 ft) high (taller than the Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

), with a taller parabolic central section, topped with a star, and flanked by four volumes containing museums, art galleries and concert halls, with shapes similar to the Casa Milà. Inside it would have had five large rooms, one dedicated to every continent.
The final project for his great patron Eusebi Güell was the church for the Colònia Güell, an industrial village in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, of which only the crypt was constructed (known today as Crypt of the Colònia Güell) (1908–1918). The project began in 1890, and the factory, service buildings and housing for the workers were constructed. What would have been the colony’s church was designed by Gaudí in 1898, though the first stone was not laid until 4 October 1908. Unfortunately only the crypt was built, as Güell’s sons abandoned the project after his death in 1918. Gaudí designed an oval church with five aisles, one central aisle and two at either side. He conceived it as fully integrated into nature. A porch of hyperbolic paraboloid vaults precedes the crypt, the first time that Gaudí used this structure and notably the first use of paraboloid vaults in the history of architecture. In the crypt the large hyperboloid stained glass windows stand out, with the shapes of flower petals and butterfly wings. Inside, circular brick pillars alternate with slanted basalt columns from Castellfollit de la Roca.

Final period

During the last years of his career, dedicated almost exclusively to la Sagrada Família
Sagrada Familia
The ' , commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí...

, Gaudí reached the culmination of this naturalistic style, creating a synthesis of all of the solutions and styles he had tried until then. Gaudí achieved perfect harmony between structural and ornamental elements, between plastic and aesthetic, between function and form, between container and content, achieving the integration of all arts in one structured, logical work.

The first example of his final stage can be seen in a simple but very ingenious building, the Sagrada Família schools, a small school for the workers’ children. Built in 1909, it has a rectangular ground plan of 10 by 20 m (32.8 by 65.6 ft), and contained three classrooms, a vestibule and a chapel. It was built of exposed brick, in three overlapping layers, following the traditional Catalan method. The walls and roof have an undulating shape, giving the structure a sense of lightness but also strength. The Sagrada Família schools have set an example of constructive genius and have served as a source of inspiration for many architects, such is their simplicity, strength, originality, functionality and geometric excellence.

In May 1910 Gaudí paid a short visit to Vic, where he was tasked to design the lampposts for the city’s Plaça Major, in commemoration of the first centenary of the birth of Jaume Balmes
Jaume Balmes
Father Jaime Luciano Balmes y Urpiá , Catalan Spanish Catholic priest, eminent as a political writer and a philosopher.-Biography:Balmes was born and died at Vic in Catalonia, Spain....

. They were obelisk-shaped lamps, with basalt rock bases from Castellfollit de la Roca and wrought iron arms, topped with the four-armed cross; they were decorated with vegetable themes and included the birth and death dates of Balmes. They were demolished in 1924 due to poor maintenance.

The same year, on the occasion of Eusebi Güell's obtaining the title of count, Gaudí designed a coat of arms for his patron. He devised a shield with the lower part in a catenary shape typical of Gaudí. He divided it into two parts: the lantern of Palau Güell features a dove and a gear-wheel on the right in allusion to the Colònia Güell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló (coloma is Catalan for dove), with the phrase ahir pastor (yesterday Shepherd). On the left is an owl perched on a half-moon—symbol of prudence and wisdom—with the words avuy senyor (today Lord). The shield is surmounted by a helmet with the count's coronet and the dove symbol of the Holy Spirit.

In 1912 he built two pulpit
Pulpit
Pulpit is a speakers' stand in a church. In many Christian churches, there are two speakers' stands at the front of the church. Typically, the one on the left is called the pulpit...

s for the church of Santa Maria in Blanes: the pulpit on the Gospel side had a hexagonal base, decorated with the dove of the Holy Spirit and the names in Latin of the four evangelists and the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit; the pulpit of the Epistle side
Epistle side
In the liturgical traditions of Western Christianity, the Epistle side is the term used to designate the side of a church on which the Epistle is read during the Mass or Eucharist. Facing the altar, it is the right-hand side....

 had the names of the apostles who wrote epistles (Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Judas Thadeus and Saint James the Great), with the three theological virtues and the flames of Pentecost. These pulpits were burned in July 1936.

Sagrada Família

From 1915 Gaudí devoted himself almost exclusively to his magnum opus
Magnum opus
Magnum opus , from the Latin meaning "great work", refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, or composer.-Related terms:Sometimes the term magnum opus is used to refer to simply "a great work" rather than "the...

, the Sagrada Família, a synthesis of his architectural evolution. After completion of the crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

 and the apse
Apse
In architecture, the apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome...

, still in Gothic style, the rest of the church is conceived in an organic style, imitating natural shapes with their abundance of ruled surface
Ruled surface
In geometry, a surface S is ruled if through every point of S there is a straight line that lies on S. The most familiar examples are the plane and the curved surface of a cylinder or cone...

s. He intended the interior to resemble a forest, with inclined columns like branching trees, helicoidal in form, creating a simple but sturdy structure. Gaudí applied all of his previous experimental findings in this project, from works such as the Park Güell and the crypt of the Colònia Güell, creating a church that is at once structurally perfect, harmonious and aesthetically satisfying.

The Sagrada Família has a cruciform plan, with a five-aisled nave, a transept of three aisles, and an apse with seven chapels. It has three facades dedicated to the birth, passion and glory of Jesus, and when completed it will have eighteen towers: four at each side making a total of twelve for the apostles, four on the transept invoking the evangelists and one on the apse dedicated to the Virgin, plus the central tower in honour of Jesus, which will reach 170 metres (557.7 ft) in height. The church will have two sacristies
Sacristy
A sacristy is a room for keeping vestments and other church furnishings, sacred vessels, and parish records.The sacristy is usually located inside the church, but in some cases it is an annex or separate building...

 adjacent to the apse, and three large chapels: one for the Assumption in the apse, and the Baptism and Penitence chapels at the west end; also, it will be surrounded by a cloister designed for processions and to isolate the building from the exterior. Gaudí used highly symbolic content in the Sagrada Família, both in architecture and sculpture, dedicating each part of the church to a religious theme.

During Gaudí’s life only the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity facade were completed. Upon his death his assistant Domènec Sugrañes took over the construction; thereafter it was directed by various architects. Jordi Bonet i Armengol assumed responsibility in 1987 and continued as of 2011. Artists such as Llorenç and Joan Matamala, Carles Mani, Jaume Busquets, Joaquim Ros i Bofarull, Etsuro Sotoo and Josep Maria Subirachs (creator of the Passion facade) have worked on the sculptural decoration. Completion is not expected until at least 2026.

Minor, late projects

During the last years of his life, apart from his devotion to the Sagrada Família, Gaudí participated only in minor projects which were not completed: in 1916, on the death of his friend bishop Josep Torras i Bages, he designed a monument in his honour, which he wanted to place in front of the Passion facade of the Sagrada Família. He made a sketch of the project, which ultimately was not carried out, and made a plaster bust of the bishop, the work of Joan Matamala under the instruction of Gaudí. It was put in the Sagrada Família, where it would have formed part of the church, but it was destroyed in 1936. Another commemorative monument project, also not carried out, was dedicated to Enric Prat de la Riba, which would have been situated in Castellterçol, birthplace of this Catalan politician. The project dates from 1918, and would have consisted of a tall tower with two porticos and a spire topped with an iron structure flying the Catalan flag. The sketch of the project was done by Lluís Bonet i Garí, Gaudí’s assistant.

In 1922 Gaudí was commissioned, by the Franciscan Padre Angélico Aranda, to construct a church dedicated to the Assumption in Rancagua (Chile). Gaudí apologised and said that he was occupied exclusively with the Sagrada Família, but sent some sketches of the Assumption chapel which he had designed for the apse of the Sagrada Família, which more or less coincided with what Padre Aranda had asked for. Unfortunately this project was not carried out, though there are currently plans by the Chilean architect Christian Matzner to take up the project, which if completed would become the first of Gaudí's works to be constructed in the Americas.

The same year Gaudí was consulted about the construction of a monumental train station for Barcelona (the future Estació de França). Gaudí suggested an iron structure in the form of a large suspended awning, a solution quite ahead of its time; perhaps for this reason, it put the head engineers off, and they declined Gaudí’s offer. The last known projects by the architect are the chapel for the Colónia Calvet in Torelló, of 1923, and a pulpit for Valencia (the exact location is unknown), of 1924. From then on, Gaudí worked exclusively on the Sagrada Família, until the fateful day of the accident which caused his death.

Collaborators

The enormous task which Gaudí faced, not in terms of the number of works, but in terms of their complexity, required the collaboration of a large number of assistants, artists, architects and craftsmen. Gaudí always led the way, but allowed expression of the individual abilities of all of his collaborators. A test of his expertise both in his field and in interpersonal communication was demonstrated in bringing together a large number of diverse professionals and creating an integrated team.
Among his collaborators were:
  • Architects: Francesc Berenguer, Josep Maria Jujol, Cristòfor Cascante i Colom, Josep Francesc Ràfols, Cèsar Martinell, Joan Bergós, Francesc Folguera, Josep Canaleta, Joan Rubió, Domènec Sugrañes, Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig i Boada, Lluís Bonet i Garí.
  • Sculptors: Carles Mani, Joan Flotats, Llorenç Matamala, Joan Matamala, Josep Llimona.
  • Painters: Ricard Opisso, Aleix Clapés, Iu Pascual, Xavier Nogués, Jaume Llongueras, Joaquín Torres García.
  • Builders and foremen: Agustí Massip, Josep Bayó i Font, Claudi Alsina i Bonafont, Josep Pardo i Casanova and his nephew Julià Bardier i Pardo.
  • Craftsmen: Eudald Puntí (carpenter and forger), Joan Oñós (forger), Lluís y Josep Badia i Miarnau (forger), Joan Bertran (plasterer), Joan Munné (cabinet maker), Frederic Labòria (cabinet maker), Antoni Rigalt i Blanch (glazier), Josep Pelegrí (glazier), Mario Maragliano (mosaic artist), Jaume Pujol i Bausis and his son Pau Pujol i Vilà (ceramicists).

World Heritage

Several of Gaudí's works have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO: in 1984 the Park Güell, the Palau Güell and the Casa Milà; and in 2005 the Nativity facade, the crypt and the apse of the Sagrada Família, the Casa Vicens and the Casa Batlló in Barcelona, together with the crypt of the Colònia Güell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló.

The declaration of Gaudí's works as World Heritage aims to recognise his outstanding universal value.
According to the citation:

External links

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