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Spotlight: Antoni Gaudí

When Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926) graduated from the Barcelona Architecture School in 1878, the director of the school Elies Rogent reportedly declared: "Gentlemen, we are here today either in the presence of a genius or a madman!" [1] Well over a century later, this tension is still evident in Gaudí's work; though he is widely regarded as a genius architect, his distinctive style stands as a singularity in architectural history - simultaneously awe-inspiring and bizarre, never fitting into any stylistic movement, and never adapted or emulated, except by those still working to complete his magnum opus, Barcelona's famous Sagrada Família.

1 Minute Series: Exploring 4 of Europe's Most Iconic Sensory Spaces

Fernando Schapochnik’s 1 minute series – a set of four videos of iconic buildings in Europe – aims to create a sensory interaction with the spaces. Filmed using only a cellphone, the videos rely on textures, sounds, rhythms and varying speeds to narrate the viewer's relationship with the spaces, letting the senses guide the experience. Journey through Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp, Antoni Gaudí’s Park Guell, SANAA’s Rolex Learning Center and OMA’s Kunsthal after the break. 

Never Built New York: Projects From Gaudí, Gehry and Wright that Didn't Make it in Manhattan

Ever since its unprecedented skyward growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Manhattan has been an icon of construction all over the world, with recent estimates concluding that the island contains some 47,000 buildings. However, as with all construction, completed projects are just the tip of the architectural iceberg; Manhattan is also the home of many thousands of unloved, incomplete, and downright impossible proposals that never made it big in the Big Apple.

Of course, the challenges of New York are indiscriminate, and even world-renowned architects often have difficulties building in the city. After the break, we take a look at just three of these proposals, by Antoni Gaudí, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, courtesy of 6sqft.

Interior sketch by Gaudí. Image Courtesy of 6sqft Frank Lloyd Wright's drawings for the project. Image © MoMA/Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Frank Lloyd Wright's drawings for the project. Image © MoMA/Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation A model of Gehry's design that was put on display for the public. Image © Carter B. Horsley for The City Review

Architecture Documentaries To Watch In 2015

Following our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014 and our favourite 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013, 2015 is no exception! Our latest round up continues to feature a fantastic range of films and documentaries telling the tales of unsung architectural heroes and unheard urban narratives from around the world. This entirely fresh selection looks past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.

From a film which explores one man's dream to build a cathedral (#4) and a simultaneous history of and vision of Rotterdam's future (#7), to a tour of the world's last surviving squatter town in Copenhagen (#14) and A Short History of Abandoned Sets in Morocco (#16), we present - in no particular order - thirty freshly picked documentaries for you to watch in 2015.

AD Round Up: Classics in Brick

As one of the most ubiquitous forms of construction, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the humble brick. However, this prosaic building method can also be one of the most versatile materials available to architects, thanks to the experimentation of countless architects who, for centuries, have worked to create new forms of expression with the simple material. In this round up, we celebrate architects who, with their architectural classics, have expanded the possibilities of brick craft: Antoni Gaudí's fantastical vaulting at Colònia Güell and Alvar Aalto's experimental brick patterning at his house in Muuratsalo; the powerful brick piers of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo's Knights of Columbus Building and the Catalan vaults of Porro, Garatti and Gattardi's National Arts School of Cuba; and finally, what brick round up would be complete without the brick-whisperer himself - Louis Kahn and his all-brick fortress for the Indian Institute of Management.

Muuratsalo Experimental House / Alvar Aalto. Image © Nico Saieh Knights of Columbus Building / Kevin Roche & John Dinkeloo. Image © Flickr: username- sftrajan The National Art Schools of Cuba / Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti, Roberto Gottardi. Image © Norma Barbacci/World Monuments Fund Indian Institute of Management / Louis Kahn. Image © Wikimedia Commons

Chile to (Finally) Build Gaudí’s Only Project Outside of Spain

Chile may soon be home to the only Antoni Gaudí-designed building located outside of Spain. At a recent press conference, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet confirmed government funding for the construction of the Gaudí Cultural and Spiritual Center in the city of Rancagua, which will include a chapel designed by the Catalán architect. 

The project originated in 1922 through a series of letters exchanged between Gaudí and Chilean Franciscan Friar Angélico Aranda, who asked Gaudí to design a chapel for Chile. “I wish to implement an original work, very original, and I thought of you,” wrote Aranda to Gaudí, who by then was immersed in constructing his masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia.  Since 1996, Chile’s Corporación Gaudí de Triana has been working to make the design resulting from this conversation a reality. 

Learn more about this project after the break. 

Letter from Gaudí to Aranda, page 1 (1922). Image © Corporación Gaudí de Triana Letter from Aranda to Gaudí (1922). Image © Corporación Gaudí de Triana Croquis of the Our Lady of Angels” Chapel. Image © Corporación Gaudí de Triana Croquis of the Our Lady of Angels” Chapel. Image © Corporación Gaudí de Triana

Students Head To Finland To Construct Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia From Ice

A team of  from Eindhoven University are set to build a forty metre high model of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia out of 'ice'. The project, which follows their completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. The fifty-strong team will head to Finland on the 28th December 2014 to begin construction of the impressive 1:5 scale model, which will be built in only four weeks in order to officially open in the last week of January 2015.

Read about their unique construction method and see photos of the preparatory work after the break.

Gaudí's Sagrada Família To Reach Another Milestone

The Basilica of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona have laid out their planned milestones for the forthcoming year, visualising it in a short film that begins to piece together Antoni Gaudí's incredible vision. The Sacristy and Raking Cornice will be constructed between this year and next, while new stained glass windows will be installed flooding the interior spaces with evermore coloured light.

Heathcote Examines The Architecture Of Scottish Independence

Scotland have voted against independence.

Arguably there are only two architects in history that have become almost completely synonymous with one particular city - Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Glasgow and Antoní Gaudi for Barcelona. Indeed, a Catalonian architect, Enric Miralles, designed the Scottish Parliament Building in Holyrood, Edinburgh. The fact that both of these cities are part of large enclaves who are seeking, or have sought, independence is perhaps just a coincidence. Architecture, often used as a symbol for the identity of nationhood, will certainly be part of a wider dialogue about the Union of the United Kingdom following yesterday's referendum.

A Gaudí Guide to Barcelona

Parc Guell. Image Courtesy of http://www.lowcostholidays.com/
Parc Guell. Image Courtesy of http://www.lowcostholidays.com/

Although already an icon in architectural circles, “birthday boy” Antoni Gaudí may soon be receiving a new accolade: sainthood. Due to his renowned, unique style and tireless efforts on La Sagrada Família, Gaudi, potentially our first Patron Saint of Architects, will be beatified by Pope Francis within the next year.

Although beatification is only the third of four steps towards full-fledged canonization (which will require proof that Gaudí performed at least one miracle), it still seems a good moment to celebrate Gaudí and explore some of his most astounding works scattered throughout the city of Barcelona (seven of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites). Discover some of our favourites after the break.

La Sagrada Familia. Image Courtesy of http://www.lowcostholidays.com/ Casa Mila rooftop. Image Courtesy of http://www.lowcostholidays.com/ Casa Batllo. Image Courtesy of http://www.lowcostholidays.com/ Casa Mila interior. Image Courtesy of http://www.lowcostholidays.com/

Dutch Students To Build Gaudí's Sagrada Familia From Ice

A team of students from Eindhoven University are to build a forty metre high model of Antonio Gaudí's Sagrada Familia. The project, which follows the completion of the world's biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. Impressively, the 1:4 scale model will be built in only three weeks. Thin layers of water and snow will be sprayed onto large, inflated molds. The pykrete (water mixed with sawdust) will be immediately absorbed by the snow before freezing. According to the organisers, "the wood fiber content makes the material three times as strong as normal ice, and it’s also a lot tougher." Find out more about the project here.

Video: What the Sagrada Familia Will Look Like in 2026

Before you head out for the weekend, check out this awesome new video we found on Gizmodo that visualizes what Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia could look like in the year 2026 (hint: pretty gosh-darned amazing). Happy Friday everyone!

Happy 161st Birthday Antoni Gaudí!

Antoni Gaudí (1852 -1926), the Catalán architect best known for his imaginative style, inspired by the curves and shapes found in nature, and - of course - for his inimitable masterpiece, the unfinished Sagrada Familia, would have turned 161 today.

Ceramica Cumella: Shaping Ideas

From September 29th to December 8th, the exhibition dedicated to the work of Toni Cumella will be open. His works in ceramic have been utilised by architects such as Enric Miralles, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, or Jean Nouvel. These collaborations made his material became part of the image of Barcelona, being part of the construction of La Sagrada Familia, and the restoration of Casa Batlló and Parc Güell. Focusing on the 4 main fabrication processes in use at Ceramica Cumella – extruding, casting, pressing and revolving – Shaping Ideas presents the work of Toni Cumella and the application of his ceramics in some of contemporary architecture’s most significant projects.

Video: Sagrada Familia / Moment Factory

A huge creative and technical challenge was recently undertaken by Moment Factory. They were invited by the City of Barcelona and the City of Montreal to create the first sound and light spectacle to be projected on the complex façade of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. This 15 minute-long multimedia show, using video mapping techniques and their X-Agora playback system, was presented within La Mercè Festival in Barcelona this weekend. The inspiration: to realize Antonio Gaudi’s dream. The architect wished for the façade to be full of colors.

Happy 160th Birthday Antoni Gaudi!

© Wikipedia
© Wikipedia

Antoni Gaudí (1852 -1926), the Catalán architect best known for his whimsical style and his inimitable masterpiece, the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, would have turned a ripe 160 years old today.

Pushing La Sagrada Família Forward

Our newest addition to the site, our AD Classics, highlight impressive and innovative buildings spanning the course of history. While we are continually fascinated by Kahn’s National Assembly Building of Bangladesh (1982) or SOM’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (1963), what about works that date even farther back….before Corbusier’s Unite d’ Habitation (1952) and Mies’ Farnsworth House (1951); before the Eames House (1945) and Wright’s Unity Temple (1905).  Dating back to the 1880s, Antoni Gaudí devoted over a decade of his life to one of Barcelona’s, and the architecture world’s, most prized structures, la Sagrada Família.  The cathedral has remained under construction for hundreds of years as debates concerning whether or not its current state is too far from the original vision continually spark controversy.  Yet, this Sunday, as the NY Times reported, Pope Benedict XVI visited the cathedral to consecrate the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. The visit spurred hundreds of workers to prepare the church in an effort to highlight the newest “ latest architectural and artistic features”. More after the break.