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 Essential Architecture-  Barcelona

Park Guell

architect

Antoni Gaudi

location

Montana Pelada, Barcelona

date

1900 to 1914

style

Art Nouveau 

construction

masonry

type

Outdoor space/ Park
 
 
 
   

The entrance to the park
Park Güell is a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, Spain. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".

The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site. The idea of Count Eusebio de Güell. It was inspired by the English garden city movement, hence the original English name Park. It has since been converted into a municipal garden. It can be reached by underground railway (although the stations are at a distance from the Park), or by regular buses, or by commercial tourist buses. While entrance to the Park is free, Gaudí's house — containing furniture that he designed — can be only visited for an entrance fee.


Gaudí's mosaic work on the main terrace

Gaudí's multi coloured mosaic lizard fountain at the main entrance
Although it sounds unlikely, the place is skilfully designed and composed to bring the peace and calm that one would expect from a park. The buildings, though very original and remarkable with fantastically shaped roofs with unusual pinnacles, are relatively inconspicuous in the landscape, when one considers the flamboyance of other buildings designed by Gaudí. The focal point of the park is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. To design the curvature of the bench surface Gaudí used the shape of buttocks left by a naked workman sitting in wet clay. The curves of the serpent bench form a number of enclaves, creating a more social atmosphere. Gaudi incorporated many motifs of Catalan nationalism, and elements from religious mysticism and ancient poetry, into the Park. The visitor was originally greeted by two life-size mechanical gazelles (a major euphemistic symbol of 'the young beloved' in the Hebrew strand of the medieval love poetry of the region), but these have since been lost during the turbulence of war.

The large cross at the Park's high-point offers the most complete view of Barcelona and the bay. It is possible to view the main city in panaroma, with the Sagrada Família and the Montjuïc area visible at a distance.



Tourists enjoying the sunshine on the famous serpentine bench.


The two buildings at the entrance of the park

links

www.essential-architecture.com