Despite having many holidays in Spain from a young age, I was not aware of Antoni Gaudi until my 2009 trip to Barcelona. After discovering his work I found myself in complete awe of this innovative architect – his creations are unlike any other structures I’ve ever seen. Gaudi’s designs are unique due to the fact that he studied and used the shapes of rocks and minerals with the way that trees and plants grow in his structures, also incorporating geometric shapes like the pentagons seen in bee hives and the spirals of conch shells.
Nicknamed the House of Bones, Casa Batllo has to be my favourite building in Barcelona. It is extremely unique as it does not have a single straight line and it features a wide variety of colourful materials. The outside walls are decorated with multicoloured ceramic mosaics and coloured glass fragments. The columns of the house are made to look like human bones, and the colourful roof symbolises the scales of a dragon. It is ideally located in the centre of Barcelona
Park Guell is an urban park, located in the north of Barcelona. As soon as you enter the park it is almost as if you are walking into a fairytale. The park entrance has two buildings for the park keepers which give the illusion of gingerbread houses.
Gaudi did not believe in levelling the ground, and so the park has curved and twisted staircases following the contours of the land. The Gran Placa Circular is held up by 86 columns and is surrounded by the largest bench in the world, shaped like a sea serpent. When it rains the rainwater collected in the square runs down the columns below it and pours out from the mouth of a salamander statue.
I loved strolling around Park Guell and soaking up the atmosphere. It’s an ideal place to people watch, and spend a few hours relaxing and watching the world go by.
The Sagrada Familia church is Gaudi’s most famous creation in Barcelona. Still uncompleted, Gaudi spent 43 years of his life constructing it, and it is believed to finally be finished in 2026. Gaudi was extremely religious and the design of the cathedral encompasses this by representing the lifetime of Christ. The church has three entrances, which symbolise Faith, Hope and Love – the three Christian theological virtues.
Sagrada Familia has three facades – the Nativity, Passion and Glory facades. The nativity facade represents the birth of Jesus, the passion facade represents the passion, death and suffering of Jesus. The Glory facade has yet to be completed, and shows the ascension to God – featuring scenes of Hell and Purgatory, and including designs related to the seven deadly sins, and seven heavenly virtues.
Gaudi designed the church to have eighteen spires, representing the twelve apostles, the four evangelists, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ – eight of these have so far been constructed.
When Gaudi died, he was buried in the crypt of the edifice of the Sagrada Familia.
Casa Mila is an apartment block built in 1910 for the richest family in Barcelona – the Mila family, and takes up an entire city block. It is made of limestone with curved, wave-like walls and freeform iron balconies, intended to represent mounds of seaweed. The structure is said to be based on a mixture of sea waves, mountains and caves. Gaudi wanted the people who lived in the flats to all know each other therefore there were only lifts on every second floor so people had to communicate with one another on different floors.
My favourite part of the house is the terrace on the roof, featuring a unique assortment of chimneys representing helmet-wearing warriors and veiled women.