Temple of the Sagrada Familia Barcelona
Josep Maria Bocabella Verdaguer (1815-1892) was a bookshop owner who, moved by his great mercy, was inspired and felt the vehement desire to organize what he gave the name to of the Association of Devotes of Saint Joseph.
In 1881 the Association bought a whole block of Barcelona’s Eixample district within the municipalit of Sant Martí de Provençals.
The early project for the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia was produced by the architect Francesc de Paula del Villar y Lozano in 1882, project that was interrupted in 1883 after the disagreements between Villar and the architect advising Bocabella, Joan Martorell Montells.
The direction of the works was offered to Martorell who for reasons of politeness did not accept, but he proposed his former assistant Antoni Gaudi. From then on the temple took on a different form ant spirit, the Villar project being consigned to oblivion. Continue reading “Temple of the Sagrada Família Barcelona – Spain“
Church of the Colónia Güell Santa Coloma de Cervelló – Spain
This church was for the workers of the Colónia Güell industrial village (Santa Coloma de Cervelló,Barcelona), from which it gets its name. The church of Santa Coloma became one of the most-loved of Gaudí’s project’s, and was a type of laboratory for technical tests, of which he later made use of in the Sagrada Família.
Gaudí’s idea is extremely complex, and the church was designed and detailed with the utmost care. Once again the architect thought about the need to unite the monument with its natural setting, and this is the only compositional element used in this work. According to Ràfols the commission for the job dates back to 1898, but it was not until 1908 that the first stone was solemnly laid. The work continued at a very slow pace until 1917, when they were stopped due to the difficulties arising from the Great War. In 1918 Eusebi Güell died in his home in Park Güell, which also meant the end of the work on the church of the industrial village since his heirs, particularly Santiago Güell, were not at all keen on finishing the building. By then the crypt was covered and the stone doorways of the upper church in place. The conception of this church followed lines until then unknown by the architectural profession. Gaudí did not limit himself to drawing and sketching, but tested out a completely new procedure.Firstly he outlined the ideal form of the church that had to have a concentrated ground plan and acute towers; over this first draft Gaudi composed a structure by means of a very simple, but quite brilliant, procedure. He calculated the loads that would have to rest on the arches and pillars and made some small canvas bags filled with pellets, with a weight ten thousand times lighter than the calculated load. He hung these bags from strings that described the forms of the arches at a scale of 1:10. With this, and using a geometric property of this type of curve, he discovered a form called catenary. He took a photograph, which on reversing, produced the suitable and functional form of the arches. In other words, he built the arch precisely from the form of the curve of the pressures.
The crypt of the Colónia Güell brings together Gaudí’s artistic plenitude. A portico with paraboloid vaults precedes the church and below another is in the form of a grotto, a constant element in the architecture of Gaudí. The windows, which seem like the open mouths of giant fish, are hyperboloids, and inside the pillars alternate between circular section brick and inclined natural basalt stone from Castellfollit de la Roca (Garrotxa), hardly smoothed down, giving an impressive expressionist effect. Gaudí explained that in the book of Exodus, God, from the burning bush, said to Moses, “If you make me an altar of stone do no carve it with a chisel because metal makes stone impure”. For this reason the pieces of basalt were worked with wooden mallets. Continue reading “Church of the Colónia Güell – Spain“
When, at the of 1905 Josep Bayó Font was finishing the decoration of the Batlló family residence for Milà, he was visited by Pere Milà Camps. Bayó showed him the flat and on bidding farewell, Milà gave him a pat on the back, saying, “Now we must star on my house on the corners of Passeig de Gràcia and Carrer Provença and I want it in stone but vith the joints gilded, something that has never been done before”. It is true that Gaudí built Casa Milà, called the La Pedrera, or the quarry, with stone, but the gilded joints were no more than a frivolity of the stylish client.
On the 2 February 1906 Gaudí signed the project contract for the house of his new client and began his second big civil work in the stately Barcelona avenue. According to José Bayó, an eyewitness, Gaudí put his fingers in the hexagonal wax model of the paving stones, which werw made on the site of Casa Batlló itself. The piece of hydraulic mosaic in relief and of a pale green colour draws, when seven units are pieced together, a triple drawing representing an algae (Sargassum species), a snail (cephalopod of the Ammonites family) and a sea star (Equinodermus, of the Ophiroideus family). Pere Milà Camps married Pilar Segimon Artells, a lady born in Reusand widow of a rich indiano, a Spaniard who returned to Spainhaving made his fortune in Latin America. The lady was not keen on Gaudi’s ideas, but to keep her husband happy, she lived in the first floor flat of La Pedrera without complaining but, on Gaudi’s death, she changed the decoration for another Louis XVI style, more to her taste. Continue reading “La Pedrera Barcelona – Spain“
A simple reform of the facade, new distribution of the partition walls and an enlargement of the well of a building originally built in 1875, gave Gaudí the chance to undertake one of his most poetic and inspired artistic compositions. A stone thrown into a pond full of flowering water lilies would produce the same effect as that of the main facade of Casa Batllo, of an undulating surface covered with polychrome circles of glazed ceramics and different colored fragments of broken glass, the exact position of which Gaudí personally oversaw from the street.
The double attic that culminates the facade has a twofold character: animalistic and legendary, having supplied people’s imaginations with the most outrageous interpretations of a supposed dragon fighting Saint George, although the Saint cannot be seen anywhere around, while in a small cylindrical tower which hides a spiral staircase, the anagrams are clearly seen of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in ivory-coloured glazed ceramic, with the special Gaudian calligraphy, arranged helicoidally below a four-armed cross in Mallorca ceramics. The symbol is therefore of the Holy Family rather than Saint George. Continue reading “Casa Batlló – Barcelona – Spain“
The precise time period for the restoration of the Cathedral of Mallorca was between 1904 and 1914. The then Bishop of Mallorca, Pere Campins Barcelló (1859-1915), came up with idea of restoring his cathedral and on passing through Barcelona on the 18 August, 1901, visited the works of the Temple of the Sagrada Família and had a long exchange of ideas with Antoni Gaudí.
Gaudi prepared his project, which along general lines consisted of taking down the Baroque altarpiece from the high altar, along with the rest of the Gothic parts joined to its rear section, leaving in view the Episcopal Chair, work of Bishop Berenguer de Balle which was inaugurated on 1 October 1346, move the choir from the centre of the nave and place it in the presbytery, leave clear the chapel of the Trinity, place new choir stalls and pulpits, decorate the cathedral appropriately with electric lighting, reopen the Gothic windows of the Royal Chapel and give them stained-glass windows, place a large baldachin over the high altar and complete the decoration with paintings, curtains, etc. He also planned the installation of the tombs of the kings of Mallorca, Jaume II and Jaume III, in the chapel of the Trinity. Continue reading “Cathedral Palma de Mallorca – Spain“