Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Barcelona Day 1

Today we headed out to explore Barcelona on foot. We first had a tour through the Sagrada Familia, where only 70% of the construction work is complete, it will take until 2026 until the final project will be completed. Such a long construction this church as seen, in 1883 Gaudi assumed the project of the Sagrada Familia, which then combine with other works.

Gaudí conceived the Sagrada Familia from the tradition of the cathedrals Gothic and Byzantine. Where he wanted to express architecture and the beauty of the building through Christian beliefs, and communication with all the Gospel message . He achieved a symbiosis between form and Christian symbolism , generated a peculiar architectural structures, shapes and geometries new but very logical and inspired by nature, with the important role of light and color.

The various architectural elements are hierarchically ordered Christian symbolism. Thus, each of the eighteen towers has a dedication. In the middle there will be Jesus Christ, and around the four towers representation of the gospels, books that explain the life and teachings of Jesus. The single apse tower, topped by a star, representing his mother, Mary, and most remaining twelve towers represent the twelve apostles witness of their words and gestures.

Of the 18 towers designed by Gaudi in the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, there are currently eight towers built, four in front of the Nativity, and four on the facade of the Passion.

Antoni Gaudí was born on 25 June 1852 in Reus, Baix Camp, then the second city of Catalonia. He studied primary in the Pious Schools, in which he learnt arithmetic and geometry, and where he received a traditional education, religious and humanistic. The son of a coppersmith, he started in the world of crafts in the workshop of his father in 1860.

In 1868 he moved to Barcelona and was prepared to enter the School of Architecture, which he joined in 1873. He combined training with work assistance in architectural studies and workshops of carpenters, glaziers and locksmiths, where he learned these trades.

He excelled in the subjects of projects, drawing and mathematical calculation. In 1878, with the architect title under his arm, he received his first official commission. He assumed larger works commissioned by the bourgeoisie, such as, among others, the Casa Calvet, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila.

 In 1906 Antoni Gaudí settled in now known as Casa Museu Gaudi , in Park Güell a house designed by Francis of Assisi and Berenguer Mestres, friend and right hand of the architect, and that ended up being his home for almost 20 years.

Forty-three years he worked at the temple until 1926. In 1914 he decided to leave everything to focus only on this project until the day of his death on 10 June 1926, due to a tragic accident three days earlier. The coffin of his entourage, traveled much of Barcelona to the Sagrada Familia, a great event because as he was and still remains the most illustrious architect of Barcelona. Gaudí was buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Carmen, in the crypt of the church.


A cameleon

The Tree of Life

The vaults of the temple naïve are made up of hyperboloids, another ruled surface that is also found in nature.

Guadi in Stone

The three Mary’s by Jesus’s side.

The views from the towers over Barcelona where great.

The representation over the main altar of the church

I tried to take my own photos of the spiral stair case we walked down from the towers however the light was not sufficient for a good photo, so here is a poster of the representation of the shell in the design of the staircase.

A small school house within the grounds of the church.

We walked past Casa de les Punxes on the way to the other Gaudi buildings.

We next toured through Casa Batlló, another Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece, a house that is more than just a building, it has become a modern artistic myth. Hidden behind the exceptional modernist façade, which mirrors a calm sea, a world of surprises and refined architectural details await.

The legendary Noble Floor is the original residence of the Batlló family.

The most graceful staircase curves to the next floor looking like a backbone of a prehistoric creature.

At the top of the railing is a crowned crystal.

The spiraling ceiling holding the light. The movements of the universe and our planets gravity affect the earth and create a whole series of spiral motions. Attracted by these phenomena, Gaudi used spirals in most of his work for structural and decorative purposes.

Windows and door had the most sophisticated lever systems to let in air or take out hot air. The ones on this door being in moon shapes.

The shades of the tiles on the interior opening of the home graduate to compensate for the changing light going lower to the ground.

The mythical decorative chimney tops on the roof top.

The dragon’s spine over the doorway to the water storage room, which now houses a lovely flowing fountain.

Next door was the Casa Museu Amatller which we did not have time to go through however we admired the exterior and walked through the foyer which were just beautiful.

We then walked on to the La Pedrera, another of Gaudi’s masterpieces of nature a creation with landscapes once populated by prehistoric creatures and lush vegetation.

Casa Milà, popularly known as ‘La Pedrera’ (the stone quarry), an ironic allusion to the resemblance of its façade to an open quarry, was constructed between 1906 and 1912. 

The subtle hues used in these roof paintings remind me so much of the work of Monet that we saw in Paris weeks ago.

The extraordinary roof terrace.

The views again of the city from this roof terrace are lovely, here you can see the newest and tallest sight in Barcelona the Torre Agbar built by the Grupo Agbar and houses its headquarters. Since water is the focus of the Augas de Barcelona, the tower represents a water fountain that constantly changes its appearance. Depending on the incidence of light, the tower changes its colours - the coloured aluminium sheeting that reflects the light consists of 40 different colours of high gloss. In front of this layer the wall is clad with thousands of glass louvres that serve as a sunscreen and can be inclined at various angles to guarantee a maximum reflection of solar energy. The space between the façade layers allows a natural circulation of air in the building.

The extraordinary roof lines of the attic.

All the Gaudi creations are built in plaster first, this continues today with the continued work at the Sagrada Familia.

These chain models are made to show how he would see the form of a building before construction. By looking in the mirror you see the perfect creation of the towers.

The beautiful tiles that are used in Casa Batllo. Polygonal shapes are used as decorative and structural elements. It is a question of applying how bees use hexagons in their hives to take advantage of space, time and materials in buildings.

Gaudi also designed furniture to compliment his rooms, that formed perfectly to the body.

Plant motifs are also frequently found in his work. Gaudi often took reference from nature in the immediate surroundings of the project he was working on. He studied the buds, spikes and herbs that grew around the project and later sculpted their shapes.

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