Gaudí in Barcelona

Gaudí Buildings in the Catalan Capital 1878-1926

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet

The list of buildings and projects by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona begins with the very early commissions he received in 1878 when he completed his architecture studies at the Escola Provincial d'Arquitectura de Barcelona.

Whilst still a student, he worked on a number of projects in Barcelona and around, including the waterfall and fencing at the Parc de la Ciutadella, but as a mere student Gaudí's influence is not noticeable.

It appears that Gaudí was an unconventional student, who failed a number of courses.

We don't know whether this was due to lack of ability or a rebellious inability to comply with the instructions of his teachers.

However, both his abilities as a draughtsman and painter and his obsessive prefectionism were recognised and when he qualified in March 1878, Elies Rogent, the Director of the Barcelona Architectural School is famously quoted as saying:

'Hem donat un títol a un boig o a un geni, el temps ho dirà.' - 'We've given a degree to a madman or a genius, only time will tell.'

It appears that the conclusion that time has come to is that Gaudí was a genius so below you'll find a list of the surviving works by Gaudí in Barcelona ordered chronologically according to the start date of each project.


1878: Lampposts in Plaça Reial

Immediately after qualifying from architectural school, the young Gaudí received a commission from Barcelona City Council to design a set of lampposts for the Plaça Reial.

They use as the central image the figure of Hermes, who was not only the messenger of the Gods but also the patron God of the Catalan capitalist class in the late 19th century.

They are rather unspectacular but are the only surviving example of very early projects by Gaudí in Barcelona.

1883-1888: Casa Vicens

Carrer de les Carolines, 24, Gràcia, 08012 Barcelona

Casa Vicens is large house built for the Vicens family in Gràcia and is Gaudí's first major building in Barcelona.

This early work shows most notably the Moorish or Mudéjar influence and is built of undressed stone, rough red bricks, and colored ceramic tiles in checkerboard and floral patterns.

The owner, Manuel Vicens, was the owner of a brick and tile factory, so the ceramic tiles pay tribute to his business and the yellow, zinnia-flowered tile, designed by Gaudí, was manufactured by Vicens.

1884-1887 Finca Güell

Avinguda Pedralbes, 15, Les Corts, 08034 Barcelona

Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to do a number of projects on the estate he owned between Les Corts and Sarrià.

The buildings include the fence and three gates, the best known one featuring the dragon is at the Pavellons Güell and two more are outside what are now the Pharmacy and Biology Faculties of the University of Barcelona

Gaudí also built the gatehouse and stables at the Pavellons, a mirador, a fountain and greenhouse in the gardens of the Palau de Pedralbes and the chapel, which no longer exists.

1884-1926: Sagrada Família

Plaça de la Sagrada Familia, Eixample, 08013 Barcelona

Located in L'Eixample District, the unfinished Sagrada Família is probably the best-known example of the architectural style known as Modernisme Catalan and a symbol of the city of Barcelona.

Gaudí took over the project as a young man in 1884 and worked on it throughout his life dedicating himself almost totally from 1910 until his death in 1926.

The Basilica is due to be completed in 2026 to mark the 100th anniversary of Gaudí's death and will be the last great religious building in Europe.

1885-1889: Palau Güell

Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5, Ciutat Vella, 08001 Barcelona

Packed into the cramped streets of El Raval, Palau Güell was designed as the family home and city centre townhouse for the wealthy industrialist, Eusebi Güell, who would be Gaudí's main benefactor throughout his career.

Centred on a main hall for entertaining high society guests, the private quarters are almost hidden away and allowed family members to watch what was going on without being seen themselves.

The interior features a particularly fine church organ and the impressive entrance gates lead down to an underground 'car park' for horse-drawn carriages.

1888-1890 Col·legi de les Teresianes

Carrer Ganduxer, 85, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08022 Barcelona

Gaudí received the commission to complete the Col·legi de les Teresianes from Father - later Saint - Enric d'Ossó, founder of Company of Santa Teresa.

The project to build a school for the company in Sant Gervasi de Cassoles had already been started by Joan Baptista Pons i Traba in 1883.

Gaudí took over in 1888 as both his reputation as an architect and as a pious man of God were growing.

1900: Casa Calvet

Carrer Casp, 48, Eixample, 08010 Barcelona

Generally considered Gaudí's most conventional and conservative building, Casa Calvet was built for a textile manufacturer, who dedicated the ground floor and cellar to the business and wanted a family home upstairs.

Its symmetry and order are unusual for Gaudí but the curves and double gable at the top, the projecting oriel at the entrance and other isolated details definitely bring the modernista idiom to mind.

1900-1909: Bellesguard

Carrer Bellesguard, 16-20, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08022 Barcelona

Bellesguard, which means 'Beautiful View' in Catalan, stands high above the city on what was previously the site of a country residence belonging to Martí el Humà, King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona.

Gaudí worked on the project with Joan Rubio and Domènec Sugrañes, who took over completion from 1909 to 1917 when Gaudí was fully dedicated to the Sagrada Familia.

1900-1909: Gate of the Finca Miralles

Passeig de Manuel Girona, 55-57, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08034 Barcelona

I walk past this gate and wall commissioned by Hermenegild Miralles very frequently because a close friend lives opposite.

It certainly is not Gaudí's greatest work but it gives charm to an otherwise charmless street.

1900-1910: Park Güell

Carrer Olot s/n, Gràcia, 08024 Barcelona

Park Güell, named after its sponsor Eusebi Güell, was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing estate.

Inspired by the English garden city movement, hence the original English name Park, the site is a rocky hill called Muntanya Pelada, which already included a large country house called the Muntaner de Dalt House, and was next to a neighborhood of upper class houses called La Salut.

However, the housing estate was never successful and Park Güell became a public park in 1926.

1905-1907: Casa Batlló

Passeig de Gràcia, 43, Eixample, 08007 Barcelona

Commissioned by the textile magnate Josep Batlló, Casa Batlló was actually a redesign and redevelopment of a unremarkable 1877 building.

The house is considered one of Gaudí's masterpieces and is also known as the Casa dels Ossos or House of Bones.

In fact, the whole building is a metaphor for the George and the Dragon legend and the skull and bone forms of the windows represent the bodies of the dragon's victims.

1906-1910: Casa Milà

Carrer Provença, 261-265, Eixample, 08008 Barcelona

Located on the corner of Carrer Provença and Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Milà is popularly known as La Pedrera or Stone Quarry.

This apartment block was the last civil building Gaudí completed before dedicating himself to La Sagrada Familia full-time.

It was a controversial design at the time for the bold forms of the undulating stone facade and wrought iron decoration of the balconies and windows but is now considered one of Gaudí's greatest works and has been a World Heritage Site since 1984.

1908-1909: Escoles de la Sagrada Família

Plaça de la Sagrada Familia, Eixample, 08013 Barcelona

Escoles de la Sagrada Familia

Located on the corner of Carrer Sardenya and Carrer Mallorca, this school was originally a provisional structure built for the children of construction workers employed on the building of the temple.

They were were badly vandalised during the Spanish Civil War and, although now restored, are easy to miss because of the sheer magnanimity of the Sagrada Familia itself.

However, their simplicity and gentle curves have been cited as an inspiration by architects of the importance of Le Corbusier, Pier Luigi Nervi, Félix Candela or Santiago Calatrava.

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