Nature and Modernisme. This is the pairing that defines the Colònia Güell. Standing among the pine trees is an architectural complex that still preserves the industrial essence of the late 19th and early 20th century and has a star name: Antoni Gaudí
The colony was built in 1890 on land owned by Eusebi Güell at Santa Coloma de Cervello. The entrepreneur wanted to move the textile industries he owned at Vapor Vell Sants away from labour conflicts that were prevalent in Barcelona at that time.
The complex was structured around the factory, which was equipped with the most advanced technology of the time. As well as the homes of the workers, there were educational, cultural and religious facilities which together formed a "small town".
In addition, Eusebi Güell, a patron of Modernisme in Barcelona, made it unique by hiring some of the best architects of the time
. His friend Antoni Gaudí
led the project, taking charge of the mapping out the complex and of the Church, of which only the crypt
was built (declared a World Heritage Site in 2005). The remainder of the buildings (the school, the cooperative, the parish house and the cultural centre, among others) were the work of Joan Rubió, Francesc Berenguer i Mestres and his son Francesc Berenguer i Bellvehí.
The complex made a display of innovations in construction at the time such as the use of 'trencadís' (mosaics of ceramic shards), iron work and brick. Special attention should be given to the facades of the teacher's house, Ca l’Espinal
and Ca l’Ordal
, which show that, despite being functional architecture, no detail was overlooked.