Artists Heroes

Antoni Gaudi

by Daniel Chavez

”We have given this academic title either to a fool or a genius. Time will show.” - Elies Rogent, director of Barcelona Architecture School
Antoni Gaudi
Antoni Gaudi
Pau Audouard Deglaire / [Public domain]

Antoni Gaudí was someone who I didn’t really know much about before my trip to Spain. It was kind of embarrassing because I had only heard his name a scarce number of times but I didn’t know anything about him. As my trip to Barcelona got near, I began to hear Gaudí’s name constantly and began learning who he was and why he was so famous. It wasn’t until our tour bus passed next to “La Plaça de la Sagrada Familia” that I realized how amazing this guy was. Seeing this building, still being worked on, left me in complete awe, and that was only the outside of the masterpiece.

Once we set foot inside, it was as if we had entered a different world. The architecture is absolutely mind-blowing and the whole inside of the cathedral just amazed me. To see such gorgeous designs and eye-catching colors all over the walls was definitely unforgettable. And that was only the beginning of my amazement of his works.

Casa Battló
Casa Batlló
Mstyslav Chernov / CC BY-SA 3.0 [Public Domain]

Antoni Gaudí was born in Reus (or Riudoms), Spain in 1852. He was the son of an industrial boilermaker, Francesc Gaudí i Serra and Antonia Cornet i Bertran. He was the youngest of five children although only three of them made it to adulthood. His exact birthplace is unknown because there are no official records that state where he was born but his student and professional documents all state his birthplace as Reus. It is known that he was baptized the day after his birth in the city of Reus but the controversy still remains.

Gaudí was a very religious man and felt a great sense of pride in his region of Catalonia. He loved nature and was very intact with its beauty. He first began studying at the nursery school ran by Francesc Berenguer, whose son, by the same name, later became one of Gaudí’s main assistants. Following that, he studied at the Piarists School in Reus then later apprenticed in the “Vapor Nou” textile mill in Reus. In 1868, at the age of 16, he moved to Barcelona to study teaching in the Convent del Carme.

Gaudí Museum (Personal Collection)
Casa Mila
Sightalks / CC BY-SA 4.0 [Public Domain]

Then from 1875-1878 Gaudí completed his military service in the Infantry regiment in Barcelona. He held the position of Military Administrator, which allowed him to not be forced to fight during the Third Carlist War, plus he spent most of his time on sick leave, which permitted him to continue his studies. He then studied architecture at the Llotja School and the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture from which he graduated in 1878. He didn’t get the best grades because he cared more about his interests rather than the interests of official courses. His knowledge of architecture only grew and it led to his building of landmark pieces that continue to amaze people from around the world to this day.

Inside La Sagrada Familia (Personal Collection)
Casa Vicens
Ctsnow / CC BY 2.0 [Public Domain]

Places that I was lucky enough to visit and enjoy for myself were “La Sagrada Familia”, “Casa Batlló”, and “Parc Güell”. These places alone can change your perspective on the way you see architecture. It is absolutely shocking to think how this man got his ideas and how he got around to build all of this. But he also built places like “El Capricho de las Comillas”, “Palau Güell”, “Casa Calvet”, “Casa Milá” to mention a few. Most of his works were built in Barcelona where he would end up passing away in 1926, at the age of 73 and the height of his career.

Gaudí learned the basic aspects of all techniques relating to architecture, including sculpture, carpentry, wrought ironwork, stained glass, ceramics, and plaster modeling which made him one of a kind in his visions and interior decorations. This man was an absolute genius and a master of architecture. You see pictures of these places and think that there was no way one man could have envisioned this in his head, but turns out he did and we are lucky enough to witness it. Antoni Gaudí was a master craftsman and luckily, his visions became buildings and sites that the world can enjoy. Not only did he enlighten us with awesome buildings and mind-blowing designs but also he led the way for many architects today. With something as small as the lampposts that he designed in the Plaça Reial in Barcelona, one can see his vision will always be unmatched. Seeing these Gaudí’s buildings, and all buildings in Spain in general, first hand, really made me appreciate the beauty of architecture.

Antoni Gaudí is a hero because he went above and beyond the typical architectural designers of his time. His modernist style, precision of detail, use of advanced geometry, and the overall appearance of his structures were unlike any other. He set the bar for architects and seeing buildings being built today, with so much technology available, it is clear to see that he is an inspiration for all.

Page created on 7/27/2014 7:57:33 PM

Last edited 6/3/2020 9:15:33 PM

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