10 Must See Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona
Antoni Gaudí, born in 1852, is the most famous Catalan modernism architect best known for the Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló and Park Güell. There are many more examples of his work in Barcelona as well as museums and exhibitions explaining his life and work.
Gaudí was not fully appreciated during his lifetime but now seven have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO due to ‘Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries’.
His distinct style appeals to all, whether you are interested in architecture or not, and most can be appreciated from the outside for free. Here are our top 10 Gaudí sites to visit which give you a taste of his style and life:
1. The Gaudi Exhibition Centre houses a unique collection of pieces and objects by this city’s most famous architect. It presents nearly a century of research on the man, his work and his working methods. It is a great starting point to finding out more about him before going on to explore his famous buildings around the city. The visit includes a virtual reality experience that takes you into the past and the interior of the Crypt of the Colònia Güell, hand in hand with Antoni Gaudí.
2. The magnificent La Sagrada Familia Basilica, free to view from the outside, represents Gaudi’s dedication to build a church replete with precise symbolic meaning. The irony is that this masterpiece was unfinished by the time he died in 1926, and is still unfinished today. Located in the church crypt, the museum tells the story of how the building work evolved. Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
3. Park Güell, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains examples of Gaudi’s work and has the appearance of something from a fairy tale; it is strange, eccentric, even somewhat dreamlike and undeniably beautiful. The park contains amazing stone structures, stunning colourful tiling and fascinating buildings and at the top of park Güell is a terraced area where you get a wonderful view of the park and Barcelona City.
4. Casa Batlló, free to view from the outside, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of his masterpieces. There are not many straight lines and most of the façade is decorated with colourful mosaic broken ceramic tiles and has a skeletal quality! Inside there are ununusal artitecutal features as well as more colourful mosaics and stained-glass windows.
5. Palacio Güell was a mansion designed for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell and has twenty beautiful mosaic chimney pots. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the centerpiece of the house is a large room for entertaining, religious ceremonies, and parties with a parabolic dome lighting the whole room.
6. Casa Milà is free to view from the outside, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the last apartment house built by Antoni Gaudi. The Casa-Mila (or “stone quarry” as it is affectionately known) is considered the epitome of Modernism with its impressive façade of undulating stone and iron balconies.
7. Casa Vicens was a private home commissioned by Manuel Vicens very early in Gaudí’s career. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has only recently been open to the public and has his signature use of colourful ceramic tiles as well as a horseshoe-shaped staircase.
8. Casa Calvet, free to view from the outside, is one of Gaudí’s lesser known works. It is less noticeable than the nearby Casa Batlló and much more subtle, but is still worth a look for some of its interesting features.
9. Free to visit are Gaudí’s Lamp Posts which were his first commission for the City Council. Located in Plaça Reial and Pla de Palau they are decorated with snakes, crowns and the shield of Barcelona, have a marble base and are made from cast iron in gold, red and blue colours.
10. Finally, if you still want more, the Gaudí Museum offers great opportunities to learn more about the life and work of the visionary Catalan architect. The house was designed by Gaudi’s colleague Francese Berenguer, however, Gaudi did have a hand in designing the garden pergola and the beautiful furniture.
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