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Antoni Gaudí Autobiography, Famous Works, Facts and Death

Antoni Gaudí Autobiography


Gaudí Background and Education:

The full name is Antonio Gaudi i Cornet, he was born on June 25, 1852 in Reus; other sources say that he was born in Camp de Tarragona. He was also baptized at the house in Riudoms, located in the neighboring village, where his family came from. His family was not really architectures as his father and both his grandparents were boilermakers however he benefited a lot from their craft in his later career. During the childhood period of this great architecture he suffered because his weak health and was forced to spend most of his time at home in order to recover. However, these recovery hours gave him the chance to observe the nature and admire its beauty, then he learned how to draw, so this period contributed a lot in making the nature a great source of inspiration in his later works.

Most of the studies that handled the early life of Antonio Gaudi start with his secondary education. He started his secondary education at the Escolapian School in Reus, and then he moved to Barcelona in 1869 with his older brother. He completed his education in Catalan capital and in this period of his life he showed a great interest in the architecture so he went to the Provincial School of Architecture in 1873. During his college period he showed early indications of genius, and this encouraged some of his professors to include him in their works. Finally, he was graduated and obtained his architect's diploma in January 1878. Before he was graduated he spend his military service and then went back to continue his education. Studying in this great architecture school, Provincial school of Architecture helped in enhancing and supporting the natural skills of Antonio Gaudi and paved the way for him to be the great architecture we now know.

Antoni Gaudí Autobiography, Famous Works, Facts and Death



Gaudí Nationality and Age:

Antonio Gaudi i Cornet was a Spanish architect who turned to be one of the most remarkable artist over centuries, according to his own terms and style, he is also one of the great promoters of modernism. As previously mentioned Gaudi was born in 25 June 1852 and died 10 June 1926. He showed an early interest in the architecture so he went to study this field at the age of eighteen years old in the art city of Barcelona. But his years of study were interrupted by military service so he did not finish it until eight years later. So energetic, he started his first work right after graduation. 

His first years of works did not really express his own style, until the first years of 1900s, all his works since then dominated that he is going to be one the greatest Spanish architectures of his time. Unfortunately, not too long after his 72th birthday he died after being hit by a Tram in Barcelona on June 10, 1926. Gaudi dedicated the last years of his life entirely to the "Cathedral of the Poor". So it’s obvious that Gaudi had a very busy life and full of passion for architecture and his works that he accomplished through his life left its mark on the streets of Barcelona.


Gaudí Inspiration and Personal Characteristics:

Antonio Gaudi architecture works represents an extraordinary and outstanding inspired contribution to the architectural heritage of modern times. These works are deeply rooted in the unique character of that period such as, drawing on the one hand as a traditional Catalan impressive source. Gaudi’s work is a remarkable reflection of all these different facets of society and has a unique and particular character. But what made Gaudi’s work so special and remarkable is the main element that was the source of inspiration; nature, Gaudi was so influenced by the concept of the creation of God.

Most of the studies showed Gaudi as a spiritual man with a great respect for nature as God’s creation. His structural forms imitated those found in nature thereby providing him with both aesthetic and functional benefits. He tried in almost his work to reflect trees or human bones, roof structures mirroring leaves, arches mirroring rib cages; all these allowed him to reduce the materials needed to build strong structures because of the supreme functionality gained from reproducing nature’s designs. Gaudi’s architecture arts made Barcelona shine like an art gallery with a celebration of life on every street. His designs were sometimes shocking, as shocking as the plants and creatures inhabiting a tropical rain forest. The use of natural forms, made Gaudi, may be, the first in what would be call today a sustainable architect. Gaudi adopted the idea that nature gives us not only beauty, recreation and joy, but also wisdom, something that maybe we could all learn a bit more of today.

If we said that nature was the origin and source of inspiration for Antonio Gaudi, he is not like other architectures, he planned and worked on the ground using clay, rocks and all needed equipment instead of just planning on paper. He developed his own style with its “freedom of form, organic unity, and layers of textures, while evoking the sinuous seductive brilliance of Art Nouveau’” and ranging it into new dimensions. These unique characteristics of Gaudi’s work made him the source for inspiration for the new generations.

Gaudi’s work reflects his beliefs and character; he is a very religious and conservative person. He has a strong believe in God and admires all His creation. He also considers that art is a sort of beauty and the beauty of the nature is what really meant by beauty so an artist should try to imitate the beauty of nature. Gaudi is also not a very social person and does not like to be recognized in the streets as the great architecture. As an artist, he is a very sensitive, loyal and dedicated to his work only. He loved once but never been married. May be the reason why he is unsocial person is hid bad temper as he never been able to control this part of his character. His closes also witnessed huge change from childhood to his adulthood. When he was young he dressed well and cared for his appearance, but during adulthood years, his closes were ragged, even when he was hit by the tram and fainted no one recognized him due to his ragged clothes.


Antoni Gaudí Famous Works:

A deep look to Antonio Gaudi works will reflect his methods and observations and his admiration of nature. And one of these examples and his most ambitious work is the Sagrada Familia Church. Gaudi took responsibility of this huge project in 1883; he started working on the crypt. He made some new modifications on the first work plan. Then he suggested a new and impressive design. He recommended canceling the old Neo-gothic plan in favor of a design that was more huge and innovative, both in regard to the form and structure as well as the construction. Then in 1892 he started building the Nativity façade. This façade was built first due to some reasons as Gaudi described “If, instead of building this decorated, richly ornamented façade, we had started with the hard, bare and skeletal Passion façade, people would have rejected it.” After two years, the apse façade was finished in 1894. Then the Rosary portal, one of the entrances to the monastery on the Nativity side, was finished in 1899.

Antoni Gaudí Sagrada Familia Church



Gaudi decided to build the Sagrada Familia Provisional School Buildings, for the children living in Sagrada Familia and other local children, on the south-west corner of the site. The next year, 1910, a model of the Nativity facade was presented at the Grand Palais in Paris in an exhibition including Gaudi’s work and organized by his friend and sponsor Eusebi Güell. Another façade was designed in 1911, the Pasion Façade. But a while after, Gaudi decided to focus only on the construction of the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia, and that is the main reason why Gaudi did not start any other major work in the later years of his life. He became so busy to the extent that he lived his final months close by his workshop; the place he uses for producing scale models, drawings and designs, statuaries and for taking photographs, in addition to other activities.

Antoni Gaudí Sagrada Familia Provisional School



Finally, Gaudi came out with the final design for the naves and roofs. However, the construction work moved slowly. The first bell tower on the Nativity Façade, 100 meters high and as a tribute to Saint Barnabus, was finished on 28 November 1925. Unfortunately, this was the first and last tower Gaudi witnesses before his death.

Antoni Gaudí Nativity Façade



After that on 10 June 1926 he died due to some serious injuries after he had been hit by a Tram three days earlier. Then he was buried in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the tomb of the Sagrada Familia, where his mortal still there till our present time. Now the Sagrada Familia project must continue, so Domenec Sugranes, Gaudi’s first assistant, took the responsibility of managing the project until 1938. Sugranes’ first achievements were finishing the bell towers on the Nativity facade in 1930, followed by completing the Faith portal and central cypress tree in 1933. The next few years witnessed some political changes that affected the progress of construction operations such as, the military uprising and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, in which the rebels set fire to the crypt, burnt down the provisional school of the Sagrada Familia and destroyed the Gaudi’s workshop.

This fire led to many damageable results for the project such as, losing the original plans, drawings and photographs and many significant plaster models were destroyed. But here arises an important distinguishing fact about the two mangers of the project; since Gaudi took the wheel in 1883, there was also such vandalism acts, however, the work never stops. After the Spanish Civil War, the construction operations were resumed on the Sagrada Familia and witnessed a slow rise. Recently, in 2010 a structure was installed in the presbytery by the Blancafort Orgueners de Montserrat structure designers.

Sagrada Familia Fire 1936


1- Casa Vicens:

Casa Vicens is a building in Barcelona and is considered Antonio Gaudi’s first chief command in the city of Barcelona. The building combined between Gothic and Mudéjar styles in an innovative way. Moreover, Casa Vicens paved the way for Gaudi’s later work. This building included a lot of Gaudi's own features such as:

• Bright colors

• Extensive Valencia tile work

• Elaborately decorated chimneys

Casa Vicens also reflects Gaudi’s love of nature. Plants that had to be destroyed to build Casa Vicens are incorporated into the building. The history of the Casa Vicens indicates that it was built as a private home for the businessman, Manuel Vicens. It is mentioned also that the house was put under construction operation with the purpose of enlarging it in 1925 by Joan Serra de Martínez. Another proof on the importance of the buliding is that it was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. A close description for the building would show that it is constructed of “bare stone, rough red bricks, and colored ceramic tiles in checkerboard and floral patterns”. The front walls are built with visible rubble work, shown with horizontal rows of ceramics that symbolize the African marigolds that Gaudi saw on the land before the project was begun. And the roof towers are influenced by Moorish architecture. In 2008 Casa Vicens was put for sale, the asking price was 30 million euros, however, it is still unsold. This is clearly reflected in the “trencadis” façade that contains a significant variety of ceramic decorations. It is worth notes that the building was influenced by some Islamic architecture in the façade and in a number of the rooms.

Antoni Gaudí Casa Vicens



2- Güell Pavilions:

It has two possible names; Pavellons Güell, or Güell Pavilions. It is a group of buildings in the neighborhood of Pedralbes, Barcelona, and is constructed by the Catalan architect, Antonio Gaudi. It was built between 1884 and 1887. Gaudi was influenced by the instructions he took from his instructors in the Provincial School of Architecture. One of his professors has building in the neighborhood where the Pavellons Gull is located, which demonstrates that he has reached a very high position between the most skilled architects of his time. The design process of this building did not take much time from Gaudi.

The design which Gaudi proposed was an orientalist one and to some extent related to Mudejar art. The gesign contained the following characteristics; “ashlar wall with several gates, of which the main gate would be a shaped-iron grille in the shape of a dragon, with glass eyes”. This dragon shaped gate was influenced by dome of the ancient legends of Hercules, which indicate that Gaudi belived and admired these stories and thought that tit expresses the human power and honest, and he wanted to memorial it by this design. There was also an antimony orange-tree above the dragon, another allusion to the Hesperidia. According to the legend, the dragon was located in the corresponding to the position of the stars in Serpents constellation, because in the story, Laden was turned into a snake as a punishment for stealing the oranges.

The design put the other remain entrances of the building in contrast to the construction of Avinguda Diagonal. And one of these gates still stands outside the graveyard of Les Corts, but without its iron grille as it has been moved to the Gaudí Museum in the Parc Güell. Another gate was restored by the University of Barcelona in 1982 and put in the Institute de Geologia Francesc Almera; while the third was demolished to make way for the Pharmacy faculty, but rebuilt in 1957 next to this building. The inside design of the Pavilions includes a stable, “longing ring and gatehouses”. The shape of the stable is four-sided and roofed with a high Catalan vault creating a catenary curve; the “longing ring” has a square ground-plan, but is prevailed by a hyperboloid dome topped by an attractive light; and the gatehouses is a group of three small buildings, the building located in the middle is being many-sided in plan and the others take the shape of a cube. All three are surmounted by respirators in the form of chimneys, faced with ceramics.

One of the most unique characteristics of the Pavilions is the “Fountain of Hercules”, which is still works near the Palau Reial de Pedralbes, and was repaired in 1983. The fountain consists of a broken of Hercules victory covered with the coat of arms of Catalonia and with a spot in the shape of a Chinese dragon. The importance and uniqueness of this fantastic work of art was highlighted when it was announced as a Monument of National Historic and Artistic Interest in 1969. At the present time these group of buildings are used as the headquarters of the Royal Gaudi Chair, which relates to one of the biggest universities in Barcelona, in addition to the Botanic Garden of Faculty of Biology. What makes this group of buildings unique and revolutionary is that, no matter the time passes it still attracts the attention of anyone sees it.

Antoni Gaudí Güell Pavilions



3- Casa Milà:

One of the most remarkable architecture works of Antonio Gaudi. Its rolling façade and surrealist sculptural roof, gives it some sort of uniqueness and importance. Antonio Gaudi’s Casa Milà appears more as an art of nature than artificial, exactly like if it was raises straight from the ground. It is also known as La Pedera, the quarry, the building was inspired by the Modernista movement, Spain’s version of Art Nouveau. The constructed operations of the Mila started in 1912. The design of the building shows that is divided into nine levels: basement, ground floor, mezzanine, main floor, four upper floors, and attic. The ground floor is like the garage in our present time, the mezzanine floor is the entrance, the first floor and the upper floors of Mila are for rent. There are two internal courtyards included in the building giving it a lot of beauty and comfortable view. As for the roof, it is the famous statue balcony.

Finally, the building is separated into structure and covering. And its façade, made of rock, has no load-bearing function. Also the steel sitters with the same curves support the facade’s weight by attaching to the structure. This well organized and innovative design enabled Gaudi to construct the façade without structural restrictions, and eventually supported his conception of a continuously curved façade. The building in which the roof is holed up also, supported the concept of nature-based geometry. In more professional terms, the façade can be divided into three sections: façade confronting the street, crossing the ground floor; the main façade, including the main and upper floors; and the roof structure, which involves the attic and supports the roof garden. This is considered a brief review of Antonio Gaudi contributions to the development of architecture in a unique style that influenced the next generation till today.

Antoni Gaudí Casa Milà


Conclusion:

Antonio Gaudi was one of the characters that changed architecture and gave it many different dimension all over the world. He made the Catalan architecture an international architecture with fantastic designs. His creation made other architect fascinated in front of a creative personality using organic and curved forms in buildings. The works of Antonio Gaudi have been considered as international heritage by UNESCO due to the creation and innovation that they contain. Great works like Casa Vicens, Güell Pavilions and Casa Milà are heritage that tells how great was Antonio Gaudi.



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