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.
Antoni Gaudí (1852 – 1926), the Catalán architect known for his distinctive, fantastical style, and – of course – for his magnum opus, the unfinished Sagrada Família, would have turned 162 today. Heavily influenced by religion and the forms, patterns, and colors found in nature, his work was a precursor to building technology development in the 20th century.
In the Sagrada Família, Gaudí eliminated the need for flying buttresses by developing an ingenious system of angled columns and hyperboloidal vaults. The use of hyperboloids and other complex shapes with ruled surfaces allowed not only for a structure far more delicate than its contemporaries, but also for enhanced acoustic and light quality.
In honor of Gaudí’s birthday, check out some of his other iconic contributions to architecture below.
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.
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.
Happy Birthday Antoni! Per molts anys Antoni!
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.
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.
The Huffington Post today commemorated his memory, saying: “As an architect, Gaudi possessed a distinct vision that incorporated nature, religion and Catalan culture to create beautiful organic monuments that remain hallmarks of Spanish architecture. Attention to detail was a marked trait of his colossal churches and palaces, culminating in swirling terraces and bulging balconies that lent a whimsical touch to familiar neo-gothic and orientalist styles.”
Take a moment to remember this unique architect’s work and rediscover one of his classics, Casa Batlló.
Happy Birthday Antoni! Per molts anys Antoni!
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Barcelona. We recently featured an engaging video where Wiel Arets half jokingly said Barcelona is fantastic but boring. He continued to say as soon as Sagrada Família is finished Barcelona is done; there is nothing left to do there (10:50). Arets can say what he wants about Barcelona supposedly being boring, but our city guide doesn’t reflect this. Barcelona is filled with fantastically expressive architecture that springs from its proud Catalan culture. It was impossible to feature all our readers suggestions in the first go around, and we did not even come close to including some of the most iconic building such as Casa Milà. Thus we are looking to add to our list of 24 in the near future. Further more there are so many fabulous buildings on the drawing board or under construction, i.e. the projects in the @22 district, we’ll most likely be updating this city guide for quite awhile, regardless of Sagrada Família’s completion.
Take a look at our list with the knowledge it is far complete and add to it in the comment section below.
The Architecture City Guide: Barcelona list and corresponding map after the break.
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.