Antoni Gaudí has a reputation as monastic, mad and hermetic, but the architect of many of the buildings that define Barcelona’s cityscape was no mad eccentric; he was a genius inspired by his faith in nature and the divine.
Antoni Gaudí’s first ever house, Casa Vicens, is set to open to the public this autumn following a major restoration effort. Located in the Barcelona neighborhood of Gràcia, the house was originally built for broker Manuel Vicens from 1883 to 1885 – helping to define Gaudí’s signature style and helping to usher in the era of Art Nouveau architecture in Catalonia.
There’s no doubt that one of the best things about architecture is its universality. Wherever you come from, whatever you do, however you speak, architecture has somehow touched your life. However, when one unexpectedly has to pronounce a foreign architect’s name... things can get a little tricky. This is especially the case when mispronunciation could end up making you look less knowledgeable than you really are. (If you're really unlucky, it could end up making you look stupid in front of your children and the whole world.)
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 22 architects with names that are a little difficult to pronounce, and paired them with a recording in which their names are said impeccably. Listen and repeat as many times as it takes to get it right, and you’ll be prepared for any intellectual architectural conversation that comes your way.
Over the course of 134 years of construction of the Sagrada Familia, the unfinished masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona has experienced three unresolved conflicts. First, there was a lack of a (contemporary) construction permit, the nonpayment of taxes, and finally the uncertainty about whether or not to finally build the large plaza to the southeast that Gaudí imagined with the forced expulsion of up to 3,000 residents and lessees, all living in the area surrounding Sagrada Familia’s Glory Façade.
In recent days, these three issues have come to light almost simultaneously, but let’s discuss them one by one. Bitterly upset by what he describes as "a project without plans in Gaudi's name" Councilman of Barcelona Architecture, Urban Landscape and Heritage Daniel Mòdol called the Sagrada Familia a "giant Easter cake".
His statement, reported by the press two weeks ago, overshadowed the official Municipal proposal made to the temple’s construction monitoring committee "if they plan to modify the planning around the basilica" in a maximum period of six months. This is in reference to the large esplanade designed by Gaudi in his original plan, in front of the Glory Façade (between the streets Mallorca and Arago): a walkway 60 meters wide that would connect the temple with Diagonal Avenue.
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!"  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.
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, more commonly known simply as the Sagrada Família, has been under construction in Barcelona since 1882, but now completion of the church is finally in sight. As this video from the Basilica’s YouTube page illustrates, the six final towers are set to be completed by 2026, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the death of Antoni Gaudí, the Catalan architect who devoted much of his life to the design and construction of the building. These six towers, representing the Virgin Mary, the four evangelists, and Jesus Christ, will be the last and tallest of 18 spires on the church, and will make the Sagrada Família the tallest church building in the world.
133 years since the laying of its foundation, the construction of Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Família has entered its final phase. This news was announced in a recent press conference by the project's directing architect Jordi Faulí, who will oversee the completion of six new towers that will raise the "Tower of Jesus Christ" to 172.5 meters-tall, making it the tallest religious structure in Europe and Barcelona's tallest building.
The final stage will include the construction of the 172.5 meter Tower of Jesus Christ, as well as five other 135-meter towers honoring the Virgin Mary and the four apostles.
More information and a video after the break.
Designed by Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona when he was 30, and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005, Casa Vicens will be converted into a museum and open its doors to the public during the second half of 2016.
Built between 1883 and 1889, Casa Vicens was the first house designed by Gaudí. The building’s current owner, a subsidiary of the financial group Mora Banc Grup, is currently working on its restoration and the museum planning. “The mission of Casa Vicens as a house museum is to present the first Gaudí house, presenting it as an essential work to understand his unique architectural language and the development of Art Nouveau in Barcelona,” explained the executive manager of the project, Mercedes Mora, in a recent interview with Iconic Houses.
Learn more after the break.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A team of students 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.