Antoni Gaudí | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.
Antoni Gaudí The Visionary Architect
“We have given a degree to a madman or a genius, time will tell”, said Elies Rogent, director of the School of Architecture of Barcelona, during the graduation of Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) in 1878. Today nobody can doubt the revolution caused by the work of this illustrious man from Reus in the history of architecture, even though his innovative talent would not be recognized outside of our borders under after his death.

He is considered to be the best example of modernism, even though his style goes beyond his skill in inventing new building solutions (such as his centenary arch), incorporating innovative techniques and creating a unique architectonic language, based on curved and dynamic shapes. At the same time, he used all applied arts in his buildings (glasswork, wrought iron, furniture...), especially a technique that would bring back decoration with mosaics and would turn into his calling card: the trencadís.

The son of coppersmiths, the Gaudí family business taught him the skill of working in three dimensions. Even though he was not a brilliant student, his skill with drawing and his taste for detail and perfectionism would shape his vocation. Since he was young, a problem with rheumatism required him to take long strolls among trees, plants and animals. This fascination with nature would stay with him for his entire professional career. He would also make him profoundly religious.

The first stage of his work (1878-1882) is marked by cooperative ideals: all his works from this period have an urban and social nature. The cooperative L’Obrera Mataronense (Gaudí Nave) stands out.
During the following years (1883 – 1900), he dedicated his efforts to achieving his own style, which started to take shape in buildings such as Casa Vicens (1883-85), the Capricho in Comillas (1883-85), the Güell Pavilions (1884-87), the Güell Palace (1886-91), the episcopal church of Astorga (1887-94), the College of the Teresians (1888-90), the Casa de los Botines in León (1891-94), the gateway of the Finca Miralles (1901-02), Casa Calvet (1898-1904) and Bellesguard Tower. In this period, he would meet the one who would become his patron, Eusebi Güell.

His most creative and innovative period was from 1900 to 1917: Park Güell (1900-14), Casa Batlló (1904-06), the church of the Güell colony (1908-15), the Pedrera (1906-12) and the schools of the Sagrada Família.

In the years prior to his death (1918-1926), he dedicated himself exclusively to his big project: the Sagrada Família, where he fused his religious concerns and his breakthrough architectonic ideas. A tram cut off his dream of seeing his life’s work finished. Since 2005, 7 Gaudí buildings have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.