Gaudi In The Details

I had always thought Antoni Gaudi’s buildings were…well gaudy! My minimalist aesthetics were offended by all that ornamentation, and I never really paid much attention to his work. But as soon as I stepped inside this iconic building in Barcelona, I knew I had been so mistaken. About Gaudi and about modernist architecture. One of the trio of modernist buildings on Passeig De Gracia comprising the “Manzana de la Discordia”, the Casa Batllo is radical, absurd, functional and exceptionally beautiful all at the same time!

Remodelled from an existing structure for the textile magnate Joseph Batllo between 1904-1906, this is one of Gaudi’s emblematic works. It served as a luxury apartment complex for the Batllo family who occupied the Noble floor with its large living spaces and private terrace up until the mid 50’s. It was deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005. Today – if you have the moolah – you could pretend you are a 19th century business tycoon for an evening, and celebrate a special occasion right on the ‘Noble’ floor of this very special building.

The compass and T Square are an architect’s tools of trade (even if CAD has rendered them virtually obsolete today) and Gaudi appears to have thrown them out the window, when he designed this house. From the Trencadis (broken ceramic mosaic) covered facade to the fairy tale interior, there is not a straight line or corner in sight.  For these shapes do not occur in nature and nature was his primary muse.

Art Deco and Art Nouveau intermingle with impunity here. Bizarre decorative elements proudly proclaim that he is no slave to popular sentiment. But somehow, amazingly, they all come together beautifully! Mainly because of his attention to proportion and detail and to the innovative use of shape, colour and light…techniques that have since been borrowed by many contemporary architects.

This is an architectural smile, an outpouring of the
composite pleasure of a man who was in full command
of his own very personal style.
~ Professor Juan Bassegoda Nonell

Nuff said. Check out these images and let me know what you think!

Professor Juan Bassegoda Nonell was the director of the Royal Gaudi Chair at the School of Architecture within the Polytechnical University of Catalonia

Posted by

Hi, I'm Madhu. Wanderer. Travel blogger. Story teller. Bitten late and hard by the travel bug, I am on a mission to make up for lost time.

100 thoughts on “Gaudi In The Details

  1. I have mixed feelings on Mr. Gaudi’s work. I like certain elements of it, but then again, if I were chosing an architect to design a lush building for me, I doubt Mr. Gaudi would stand a chance. His stuff is a little too way out there for my liking. Nice post on your behalf though. Nice photos, too.

    1. I know a lot of people who feel that way! In fact I was surprised that no one said so thus far! Would I live in a place like that? Probably not. But i wouldn’t live in a Baroque palace or a Victorian manor either, because I do like my stark straight lines, however unnatural they may be. I would love to incorporate a lot of Gaudi’s interior elements into my home though! That staircase was to die for and those stained glass windows and the sinuous doors….I could live with them for sure 🙂 Thank you for your honest feedback Marcia! Appreciate it!

  2. While Gaudi’s building would certainly hold my attention, I don’t know if I can get past the gaudiness of it all. He definitely had imagination, a vision, but did he just do it all tongue in cheek I wonder?

    1. Possibly. I felt the same till I saw it first hand and changed my mind. I still think the exterior is a bit much 🙂 But the interiors are actually quite elegant! His other buildings – not including the Sagrada Familia and the awful Parc Guell – are not as over the top as this one.

  3. I agree with you, I wasn’t a fan of Gaudi until I went to visit his works in person! And I was surprised to see this post of yours because I am in the process of selecting photos for my upcoming posts — Spain! stay tuned! =D

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.