We spend our life in grey because colours are missing. The monotonous style of life suppresses us even at home. Most of our blocks of flats, residential complexes and surrounding buildings are unpleasant and even nasty. One reason for this is the broken connection with nature. The other one is our unwillingness to break up with the past and see the bright and colourful side of life. But it doesn’t apply to modern and contemporary artists and designers, architects and constructors. They always return to nature and get inspired by it.
A clear example, is the best known Spanish Catalan architect ever – Antoni Gaudí i Cornet. He is a real genius of colours and irregular forms, of human and environment-friendly edifices. His talent is greatly inspired by nature and the spectacles it offers. Most of his masterpieces are housed in the Catalan capital city of Barcelona and in the region.
Surely, the city’s most well known landmark is La Sagrada Familia Basilica that’s still unfinished due to fund raising obstacles (it’s been built only with people’s donations). Gaudí dedicated 40 years of his life to it in order to make it a simple sacred place but extremely exceptional in its conception and structure at the same time.
Another unfinished construction project of a church by the architect is Güell Colony Crypt in Santa Coloma de Cervelló. Again the link with nature is established. The crypt floor is adapted to the hill which it rests on. The columns of the entrance portico are arranged and organized as if they are an extension of the neighbouring pine grove. Spatial effect and the “play” with lights create the feeling that we enter a natural grotto even though the church is on the surface and isn’t a subterranean building.
The touch of nature and Gaudí ‘s imagination are to be see also in a great number of privately owned residences in Barcelona among which are Casa Milà(or “La Pedrera”) and Casa Batlló. According to some interpretations “La Pedrera” resemble either a mountain crowned by a great cloud or an evocation of the rolling sea. No matter what the interpretations are, the terrace roof is worthy of admiration. It’s better known as a “garden of warriors” where six skylights (used as staircase exists) and two half-hidden vents aline followed by 28 chimneys (like “soldiers”) that are arranged in several groupings. These “severe hooded guardians” stand there as if they were designed for the other unique residence – Casa Batlló whose most eye-catching aspect is the complete lack of straight lines. This peculiarity of the facade bears the poetic illusion of a sea although some would find typical Carnival scenes in it. And, yes, maybe the most accurate interpretation is that of an immense dragon defeated by St. Geroge (by the way, the Saint is the patron of Catalonia and is one of Gaudí’ preferred topics).
There is no doubt that one of the most awe-inspiring garden complexes in Europe and in the world is Park Güell. El Carmel Hill houses the 15-hectare recreational area where one dives into Gaudí’s amazing world. All its corners and features are admirable and arouse fascination in any visitor. In the very beginning the two entrance pavilions (designed as administrative and concierge’s offices) welcome admirers of beauty, colours and irregular forms. Then the innovative staircase with the dragon leads to the Room of Columns with its extremely original false keystone vaults. While wandering, pedestrians enjoy strolls along arched paths of local stones whose shapes and forms imitate the surrounding nature. And finally …. 🙂 the great square of the park leaves anyone breathless with its famous undulate and winding bench whose decoration consists of awesome collages made of colourful ornamental tiles.
So, Barcelona is amazing and charming and its charm is mainly due to Gaudí’s innovative and creative construction methods inspired by nature and religion and mixed up with his love for beauty, colours and extraordinarily irregular forms.