Guest Post by: Lily Do, a Foster School Senior studying Accounting who participated in the ALBA Study Abroad Program in Spain.
Many of us have heard of Picasso, but have you heard of Gaudi? Neither had I until I step foot in Barcelona. Meet the man that designed some of the most notable architecture in Barcelona. Barcelona is filled with his artwork, from houses to parks to the famous Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, set to be finished in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. Nicknamed “God’s Architect” due to his devotion to Catholicism, Gaudi is everywhere in Barcelona as his legacy lives on through his buildings.
Like mentioned above, one of Guadi’s biggest projects is the Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic Cathedral that has been around for over 100 years and has yet to be complete. The cathedral is built based off of donations of visitors who pay to enter. During my visit to the cathedral, I learned that it had 3 facades, one for the birth of Christ, one for the passion of Christ, and one for the glory of Christ. While other cathedrals which tend to be dark, the inside is bright and open, with large stain glass windows letting the sunlight in, giving an illusion of an open and colorful forest. There are a few pews in front, but the majority of it is simply open space. After vising so many other cathedrals that have a more close, intimate design, I was in awe at how big the Sagrada Familia was and how small I felt. I cannot imagine how grand it will be when it is finished.
Another thing Guadi was famous for was colors, seen in his design of Casa Batllo, previously designed as a house for a family to live in. However, my personal favorite is Park Guell, home to two gingerbread-like houses and a very colorful terrace that shows off Guadi’s mosaic design. It is also home to a multicolored mosaic salamander known as “the dragon” of Park Guell. One of the houses has a cross on top of a tall chimney-like structure which is very fitting for Guadi, a devoted Catholic. In fact, Park Guell is one of the places Guadi use to live, but now after his death, it is a tourist attraction where people can come and experience the colorful architecture of Guadi. I visited Park Guell twice during my time in Barcelona, and both times remembered thinking how it looked like it could fit in a children’s book due to the colors and cartoon-like houses. But of course, the amount of detail put into each tile of color shows how much dedication and time it took to design it. All the colors collided together to fit into one whole picture. The tiles reminded me of stain glass windows, only this time the colors were solid. It was nice to know that even in a city as old as Barcelona, there was always room for color.
Last but not least it the Cascada Fountain at Parc de Ciutadella where Guadi was an assistant on. The fountain is located in one of the prettiest parks in Barcelona where you can row boats, walk by the Catalan Parliament, see the Arc de Triumph or simply have a picnic. And the fountain itself is a lot to see as in there is a lot going on. It has golden horses and mytheical creatures as well as two grand staircases. The park is one of my favorite places to take a stroll through on a sunny day and in Barcelona, its always sunny (or at least warmer than Seattle)!
Although Guadi may not have a name recognition as big as Picasso, one thing I learned from my trip to Barcelona is that Guadi is a big deal. His designs make Barcelona the city it is today, with its many colors and spectacular architecture. Sometimes, I walk through the streets and wonder how much of Gaudi’s architecture do I see but how much do I miss simply because his ideas are everywhere. It is amazing how one man can influence way we see a city through his artwork.