So many cities are famed for their architecture, whether it’s Art Deco in Miami, Art Nouveau in Budapest or Futurism in Brasilia. Barcelona’s architecture is defined by one man alone. Antoni Gaudí was the figurehead of the Art Nouveau movement in Spain. His buildings represented a dramatic shift from trends favoured by his contemporaries. To this day, Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces are very modern yet somehow timeless.
Antoni Gaudí’s major works in Barcelona are unmissable. His buildings have an organic and at times surrealist quality. He was inspired by nature. His piece de resistance is of course Sagrada Familia. Gaudí died in 1926 but he continues to shape the way we experience Barcelona.
Construction began in 1882. To this day, Sagrada Familia remains unfinished. It has to be the most famous unfinished building in the world. It will be completed, in theory, in 2026. It’s the key must-see Gaudí building in Barcelona.
Sagrada Familia is supposed to have 18 spires. To date, only 8 have been completed. Gaudí wasn’t idle, he knew the church would never be completed in his lifetime. He did leave helpful instructions architects have poured over ever since as they try to finish his masterpiece. Imagine that, you have people frantically trying to fulfill your vision a century after your death. When the church is finally completed it’s forecast to be the biggest church in the world. In creating the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí achieved a kind of immortality.
You’ll stumble upon Gaudí masterworks in Barcelona whether you’re looking for them or not. Casa Milà is likely to be one you’re unlikely to miss. It’s located in Eixample, Barcelona’s gay district. He built it before he got distracted by Sagrada Familia.
It’s actually a residential building. The front of the property looks like a rock broken by iron decorations. You can visit the courtyards and the apartment. There’s an exhibition about Gaudí in the Casa Milà attic. You can discover his world in more detail and learn about his unique organic morphology (which basically means natural forms!).
This one is unmissable, chiefly because it’s right in the center of Barcelona. It was Gaudí’s remodel of an existing property. Naturally, he give it quite a makeover. The facade is like something from a film set. It appears to be made from skull and bones. The colour palette he used was inspired by marine life. It’s quite a stunning effect to see the skull balconies offset by colourful swampy tiles. An absolute must-see Gaudí masterpiece in Barcelona. You’re bound to walk past this one.
This was Gaudí’s first masterpiece in Barcelona. It was built as a summer home for the rather lucky Vicens family. The colourful exterior reflects the Oriental/Moorish trend that was popular at the time. Much of Southern Spain was once ruled by the Moors, so combining Eastern design elements comes naturally.
Casa Vicens was far more colourful and playful than the works his peers were doing. It was unlike anything seen in Catalonia up to that point and it was one of Gaudí’s first big hits.
He didn’t just do churches and houses. Park Güell is a park on Carmel Hill. His biggest inspiration was nature so designing a park made a lot of sense. It’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing public parks in the world. Like some of his other masterpieces, this one is unfinished. Not that you’d notice.
It’s considered to be a playground for the mind. You’ll find columns that look like trees, smiling dragons and a forest of columns. It’s a great place to explore. As with all Gaudí masterpieces in Barcelona, there will be many tourists with cameras milling around.
If you’re in Barcelona you’ll inevitably walk down La Rambla. It’s right beside the Gothic Quarter. La Rambla is comprised of five streets forming a 1.2km boulevard. La Rambla has something of a negative reputation now, flooded as it is with tourists. It’s still worth a visit as you can use it to navigate the city by neighbourhood.
Just off La Rambla you’ll find Güell Palace. It’s a townhouse Eusebi Güell commissioned by the business tycoon Eusebi Güell. He asked Gaudí for a splendid home in which to entertain his illustrious friends. The building is suitably grand and the interiors are to die for. To a look around and pretend it’s you throwing grand parties in a Gaudí mansion.
Published: 28-May-2020 by Alex | Last Updated: 24-May-2022
On: Gay Barcelona