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AD Classics: Colònia Güell / Antoni Gaudí

Colònia Güell was a workers’ colony located in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, presently a town of around 7,000 inhabitants 20km outside Barcelona. The area was a manufacturing suburb that grew rapidly around the turn of the 20th century. In 1898, Antoni Gaudi was commissioned by Count Eusebi de Güell, who wanted to provide a place of worship for the booming suburb, to build a Church. It was never actually completed because the money ran out as a result of economic hardships. When work stopped in 1915, only the crypt was completed, though it is nevertheless listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. In 2002, a restoration was carried out by architect Antonio González Moreno who was widely criticized for allegedly mistreating Gaudi’s work.

© Samuel Ludwig © Samuel Ludwig © Samuel Ludwig © Samuel Ludwig + 13

AD Classics: Villa Mairea / Alvar Aalto

© Alvar Aalto © Alvar Aalto © Alvar Aalto AD Classics: Villa Mairea / Alvar Aalto + 12

A collage of materials amongst the trunks of countless birch trees in the Finnish landscape, the Villa Mairea built by Alvar Aalto in 1939 is a significant dwelling that marks a transition from traditional to modern architecture. Built as a guest house and rural retreat for Harry and Maire Gullichsen, Aalto was given permission to experiment with his thoughts and styles, which becomes clear when studying the strangely cohesive residence.