Gaudí and Modernisme
SAGRADA FAMILIA EXPRESS
Surprising on the outside, exceptional in its interior, it is not only the masterpiece of the brilliant architect Antoni Gaudi it is also, without a doubt, the biggest attraction of Barcelona and one of the essential places to visit.
Its history began in 1882; at present, more than 140 years since they laid the first stone, the basilica is still under construction. The Nativity Façade, built in Gaudi’s time, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005. Gaudi’s project includes 18 towers to represent the 12 Apostles, the 4 Gospels, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus, the tallest tower. From the outside you can admire the two opposite sides, dedicated to the Nativity and the Passion of Christ; both are full of sculptures and artworks by the artists who have worked here, such as Josep M. Sub-irachs, and others who are still working, like Etsuro Sotoo.
In the majestic interior, light streams in through huge stained glass windows, to bathe in different colors the tall, tree-shaped columns soaring towards the heavens.
The Sagrada Familia is an expiatory church, built from the start with anonymous donations and the money brought by ceaseless thousands of visitors over the years, thereby commemorating nothing except what we are able to do together.
THE EIXAMPLE & "MODERNISME"
As of 1860, during the construction of the urban extension of the Eixample, architects in Barcelona found many possibilities for expressing their professional.
For the World Exhibition in 1888 the most innovative architects began to revive ancient building techniques, like flat brick vaults, and traditional crafts, but also looking to the future, as they explored the expressive potential of materials like iron, wood, ceramics or leaded glass. That was the atmosphere that fostered the careers of many “Modernistes”, like Josep Vilaseca, Enric Sagnier, Antoni Gaudí, Lluís Domènech i Montaner or Puig i Cadafalch.
In the so-called Quadrat d’Or (Golden Square) we can admire several master-works by architects who worked for the wealthy families of the early 20th century. Casa Fuster, Casa Batlló, Casa Lleó Morera and Casa Terrades (The House of Spikes), Casa Milà (La Pedrera), or the Palau Baró de Quadras are outstanding jewels of “Modernisme”.
During this walk we will come to know the great families who became rich in our colonial and industrial past, and the “Modernista” style that reflected the culture of that period. This is an obligatory visit full of artistic details to take in and remember.
Gaudí created this architectural marvel surrounded by nature when Eusebi Güell commissionedhim to design a luxurious housing development inspired in the British “garden cities”; thus, instead of the Catalan Parc they used the British spelling Park
The location was wonderful, in a healthy environment with wonderful views over the sea and the plane of Barcelona. The development foresaw some 60 properties with a complex network of paths, roads, viaducts and stairways.
The project started in 1900, Gaudí settled to live there in 1906, with his father and his niece. In 1907, Eusebi Güell transformed the old Manor, that was already there when he bought the land, into his permanent residence. However, they dropped the project in 1914 due to the lack of buyers, and it became a public park in 1923. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.
Don’t miss the Park Güell, an absolutely guaranteed surprise! You won’t find a park like this anywhere in the world!
Park Güell, Sagrada Família, Passeig de Gràcia
Barcelona is the city of Gaudí. This visit will take us to the architect’s most notable works, introducing us to the style known in Catalonia as “Modernisme” and to a period of splendour in the city, as the 19th century ended and the 20th century began.
Park Güell was commissioned by Eusebi Güell as a housing development for wealthy families, inspired in the “garden cities” in Britain, hence the name Park instead of the Catalan Parc. The project began in 1900, but they stopped building in 1914 due to the lack of buyers, and it became a public park in 1923. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.
Sagrada Familia: its exterior will surprise you, the interior is exceptional, this is not only the master-work of Antoni Gaudí, but is Barcelona’s greatest attraction and one of the sites that you definitely have to visit. Its history began in 1882; at present, more than 140 years since the first stone was laid, the basilica is still under construction.
Passeig de Gràcia is not only one of the most luxurious streets in the world, it has some of most internationally recognized “Modernista” buildings, such as Casa Batlló and Casa Milá, by Gaudí; Casa Amatller by Puig i Cadafalch; and Casa Lleo Morera by Domènech i Montaner; and others.
HOSPITAL DE SANT PAU
Hospital Sant Pau
At the end of the 19th century, Barcelona’s growing population and advances in medical technology made the medieval Hospital de la Santa Creu obsolete and too small, so the construction of a new hospital was decided. With the legacy of a banker, Pau Gil, and plans by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the first stone was laid on January 15th, 1902. The wonderful new hospital didn’t open until 1930, but remained active until 2009.
It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 for its singularity and artistic beauty. In 2009, after more than 8 decades in use, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau was getting obsolete, so its medical use was transferred to a new building and restoration began to recuperate the old building’s original condition. Today, the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is the largest “Modernista” work in the world and the master-work of Lluis Domènech i Montaner. It consists of 12 fairy-tale wards surrounded by gardens, and connected by half a mile of underground tunnels.
During the visit, the tunnels will take us to the interior of the strikingly beautiful wards. We will learn how medicine was practiced. The gardens, full of aromatic, curative plants, show us the inspiration of “Modernisme” in nature, likewise a fundamental medical tool. Finally we will visit the management building, the main halls full of light, leaded glass, and carved stairways, everything enriched with mosaics, sculptures and unbridled decoration.
Casa Vicens, the first major commission in the career of Antoni Gaudí, was built between 1883 and 1885 as a summer home for the Vicens family, and has been a private residence for more than 130 years. Now, open to visitors at last, we will encounter Gaudi’s innovative language, the structural features, the decoration and symbolism of each room
The present shape of Casa Vicens and its garden is the result of a variety of changes and transformations over the years that now present us with three different areas: Gaudí’s original construction from 1883 to 1885. The extension added in 1925 by Joan Serra de Martinez for a new owner and the garden.
On the ground floor are the rooms for daily use: a central dining room and, around it, an entrance hall, a smoking room, and a covered porch or tribune faces the garden. On the first floor are the family’s private sitting room, the bedrooms, and the bathroom. Through the next floor, inhabited by the servants, we will reach the roof terrace, with a fine of view of what was originally farmland and nature.
Casa Vicens was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.
The Güell Palace is one of the first major commissions carried out by Antoni Gaudí. In 1886 Eusebi Güell (industrialist, politician and patron of the arts) asked the architect to build his new home on Carrer Nou de la Rambla. Gaudí managed to build a palace that was functional, adapted to the needs of the family’s private life as well as their intense social and cultural commitments.
The house stands out because of its innovative conception of space and light sources, combining a wealth of ornament with the maximum practicality; the outside is original but austere while the interior is profusely elegant.
The visit comprises the main entrance, the former stables in the basement, the living room and offices of the main floor, the private rooms for the family above, and the roof terrace with its striking “trencadis” chimneys.
Palau Güell was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.
This “industrial colony” was built in 1890 by order of the industrialist Eusebi Güell, who wanted to transfer his textile factory out of Barcelona to avoid the raging social conflicts as well as to enlarge it and provide the factory with the best technology of the day.
Besides the factory, Güell had housing built for his employees, a school, a cultural centre, a medical facility and gardens. In 1898, Eusebi Güell asked the architect Antoni Gaudí to design a church for the colony but construction didn’t begin until 10 years later. This ambitious project, that intended a church with two naves, one above the other, completed with a series of lateral towers around a larger central one reaching a height of 120 feet, was finally left unfinished.
Though only the lower nave, the crypt, was completed, it is still a culminating stage in the life’s work of Antoni Gaudí. The “Cripta Güell” was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in July 2005.
The Colony Güell is about 30 minutes from Barcelona
GAUDI AND “MODERNISME” À LA CARTE
Barcelona is a first class showcase of “Modernisme”, with more than 100 major examples of this style; many of them can be visited.
Besides Gaudi’s famous master-works like Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, Palau Güell, Casa Vicens or Park Güell, we can also visit Casa Bellesguard, in the district of Sant Gervasi. Architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner created some of the city’s proudest buildings, such as the Hospital of Sant Pau Recinte Modernista, or the unbelievable concert hall Palau de la Música. Both of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Josep Puig i Cadafalch also left the city a wonderful architectural legacy, with Casa Amatller, Casa de les Punxes, Palau Baró de Quadras, Palau Macaya or the former Casaramona factory.Visits can be organized to houses that aren’t on the usual tourist itinerary, and works by different architects can be combined “a la carte”.Our guides will ensure that you get the most out of your visit, and that you don’t miss the most important details of each master-work.
We will find what is most adequate for your preferences!
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