Monday, June 25, 2012

Audacity and Singularity in Design - Antoni Gaudi

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona,
designed by Antoni Gaudi
If you are going to Barcelona, Spain, it is rather unlikely that you will leave without having visited one of the fascinating architectural creations of famous architect and designer Antoni Gaudí, the frontfigure of the so-called Catalan Modernism (Modernista), who was born on June 25, 1852. Architecture, nature, religion, and the love to his home country Catalonia were the driving forces of Gaudí's work. His work transcended mainstream Modernisme, culminating in an organic style inspired by nature.

Born in 1852 in Reus (Camp de Tarragona) and son of a copper maker, from childhood Gaudí was an attentive observer of nature and felt attracted to its forms, colours and geometry. In 1868, he started to study architecture in Barcelona, in a college dominated by neo-classical and romantic trends. So it was no wonder that his first architectural pruduction swung between a reinterpretation of historical canons with oriental influence and the recovery of medieval events.

Despite his youth he received first assignments from the church as well the bourgeoisie. Among these clients the Association of Devotees of Saint Joseph stands out because they commissioned Gaudí with the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família. Originally the Sagrada Familia was begun in 1882 by another architect Francesc de Paula del Villar i Lozano. But there have been certain divergences with the promoters and Villar i Lonzano had begun only the crypt. Thus, Gaudi took the direction of the work in 1883 and devoted all its life to the realization of this monument, which he left unfinished by his death in 1926 and which remains still under construction by today. His most famous and best client was industrialist Eusebi Güell, who entrusted him with the construction of some of his most outstanding works:  a palace (Palau Güell), the crypt of the curch for an industrial colony (Church of Colonia Güell), some pavilions for his summer residence and also a city-garden (Park Güell).

In his own time, Gaudi was both admired and criticised for the audacity and singularity of his innovative solutions. His fame on a world scale has become an unquestioned fact both in specialised circles and among the general public as an example of modernisation and renewal of 20th century architecture.

At yovisto you can learn more about architecture and the ideas of Antoni Gaudí in the talk of Greg Lynn, who talks about the mathematical roots of architecture and how calculus and digital tools allow modern designers to move beyond the traditional building forms.



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