Barcelona and Gaudi are almost like the same word. The Gaudi structures were the attractions I wanted to see most in Barcelona, and they’re the items Barcelona markets the most.
Antoni Gaudi was a Catalan architect in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a practitioner of Modernista architecture and heralded in his lifetime. Today, he is an artistic hero in Barcelona. Gaudi (and the modernista architecture movement that he is known for) is everywhere.
Of course, the Modernista movement was bigger than Gaudi. There are many beautiful homes and buildings built by Guadi’s contemporaries or students. As we walked throughout the city, there were constant traces of Modernista architecture: A lamppost, the distinctive curved doorway, the soft bowed windows, not to mention the merchandising in every single gift shop.
The Gaudi structures are also insanely expensive. Twenty euros for Guadi’s most famous houses. A whopping 29 euros for La Sagrada Familia. Even Park Guell charges seven euros now. Luckily, M was able to wrangle a press card that let us in for free in some of Barcelona’s biggest draws so we could experience Gaudi without selling one of our kidneys.
Our first stop was CasaBatlló, a Gaudi home built for Mr. Josep Batlló i Casanovas and his family on Passeig de Gràcia. The home was built between 1904 and 1906, and the family lived in it until the mid-1950s.
Walking down the street, it’s impossible not to notice the façade. It is, in a word, weird – in a whimsical and fantastical way. Walking into Gaudi’s homes feels is like into a fantasy world – the stuff of movies. But it is very much real.
As I first walked in and took stock of the curved walls and wavy staircase, I was struck by the notion that Gaudi sought to defy gravity. Where traditional walls are straight and box-like, he insisted on warping them. Everything is turned on its head.
The house is narrow and tall, climbing many floors. The curvy staircase lets out onto a rooftop with views of the city below and more of Guadi’s unique creations.
Only a few blocks away you can find another one of Guadi’s famous houses – Casa Mila. We didn’t go inside, but the exterior is a site to behold.
Gaudi is probably most famous for Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia – the famous sprawling church that has been under construction for nearly a century. More on those to come and the rest of Barcelona’s Modernista sites.