Antonio Gaudi has been indentified with the catalan Modernismo moevement of the late nineteenth century and, by extension with the international art nouveau style. His strong personality drew like-minded people of talent to him, and the collaboration of structural engineers, sculptors, and metalworkers was needed to carry out his ideas. It is often possible to identify the artists and engineers involved.
The nationalist desires of Catalonians had been a problem of long standing for Spain. By the late nineteenth century, Barcelona had developed strong trade relationships with the UK and Western Europe. The wealth created contrasted with the difficult economic times in the rest of Spain and the loss of its last possessions in the war of 1898. the artistic activity in Barcelona was supported by business clients who by their travels were well acquainted with other countries, particulary with the arts and crafts movement in the United Kingdom. The development of illustrated periodicals further spread the art news to Barcelona. The cafe Els Quatre Gats, where Picasso's early work was shown and for which Antonio Gaudi designed menus in 1899, was an example of the international influences of the time.
One of Antonio Gaudi 's loyal clients and friends was Eusebio Güell, for whom Antonio Gaudi designed many projects. For the housing development near Barcelona, Antonio Gaudi designed his famous park (1900-1914) on a sloping site. The Park Güell extends over a market area and is supported on columns sloped to reflect the transfer of loads from the plaza above. The use of colored tile is most remarkably evident in the curving bench at the edge of the plaza. The tile work was designed by Antonio Gaudi 's collaborator, Josep Maria Jujol I Gibert (1879-1940) and is considered an important work of art. The park was left incomplete because the development project failed to attract investors, particularly with the start of World War I.
Güell's house was greatly expanded and remodeled from Antonio Gaudi 's designs from 1885 to 1890. The facades are more severe than in Antonio Gaudi 's other work, exept for the extensive wrought-iron work, the polychrome roof forms, and the principal internal event, a central space rising up through the house to the capping cupola. Drawings of sections of the palace were displayed in Paris in 1910.
Another project of Güell's was a worker's colony around his factory at Santa Coloma de Cervello. Antonio Gaudi made some designs for a chapel for colony, but it was not until 1908 that Antonio Gaudi became seriously involved in what had become a more ambitious undertaking. The design is closely related to Antonio Gaudi 's other important religious commission, the Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona. The Colonia Güell Chapel is irregular in form, with sloping brick and stone piers supporting the flat tile vaults in the cript, which is the only completed portion. The structure evolved from structural analysis of a model, which resulted in a powerful spatial effect. The crypt was completed by 1914, but the church above was never built. The use of structural analysis to determine the forces on the columns resulted in original forms, which were modified in detail during construction.
The Casa Mila apartment house was a late example of Antonio Gaudi 's apartment house was a late example of Antonio Gaudi 's commercial design. On a corner site, the building facade is curvilinear in form and based on organic concepts. The heavy facade is tied to the floors behind. The most successful portions of the design were the roof vaults, clustered chimneys, and balcony railings designed by Jujol. This design caused much public comment, and Antonio Gaudi was forced to defend his organic forms in general terms.
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urban & land use planning books A new church, the Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona, was to be dedicated to the holy family. In 1883, Antonio Gaudi was recommended to replace the original architect Francisco del Villar, who had resigned. At age 31, Antonio Gaudi undertook what became his life's work. During the years that Antonio Gaudi was working on the crypt, he was formulating design ideas to be expressed in the church above. The east transept was selected for a presentation of the Nativity, and work began on the apse, the lower part of the towers, and the entrance doors. By 1901, work began on the upper part of the towers, and there the shift from a more traditional beginning to a new style can be seen. The square base of the towers was modified into the round towers, which grew ever freer in design as the work progressed. After 1910, Antonio Gaudi spent all of his effort on religious commision, and the east front towers were completed after his death in 1926. Work continued until 1935, when it was stopped by the Spanish Civil War. Antonio Gaudi left a number of models for the completion of the nave and the two other main facades. His plans included a central tower higher than St. Peter's in Rome.
Much of Antonio Gaudi 's attention was given to the design of pinnacles of the towers. As completed, the tops of the pinnacles use colored glass set in concrete, which is lit by internal searchlights to glow at night.
Known for his understanding of structure and decoration using color, light, and sculpture, Antonio Gaudi 's work has been the subject of extensive investigation and analysis.
Casa Vicens, 1878 - 1880
Palau Güell, 1885 - 1889
Collegi de Santa Maria de Jesús 1889 - 1894
Santa Coloma de Cervelló, 1898 - 1915
Casa Calvet, 1899 - 1904
Casa Batllo, Barcelona, Spain, 1905 - 1907
Casa Mila, Barcelona, Spain, 1905 - 1910
Colonia Guell, near Barcelona, Spain, 1908 - 1915
Park Guell, Montana Pelada, Barcelona, Spain, 1900 - 1914
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain, 1882 - 1926