Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (in many countries more widely known in the English speaking world under the Spanish version of his first name, as Antonio Gaudí, or, just simply, Gaudi), (25 June 1852–10 June 1926) was a Catalan architect famous for his unique designs expressing sculptural and individualistic qualities. His works are categorised under the Art Nouveau style of architecture, a precursor to modern architecture.
His first works were influenced by gothic and Catalan architectural modes but he developed his own distinct sculptural style.
In the first years of his career, Gaudí was strongly influenced by a French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc who promoted the return to an evolved form of Gothic architecture.
But Gaudí surpassed Viollet-le-Duc, and created buildings and designs that were highly original - irregular, fantastically shaped with intricate patterns. Some of his masterworks, most notably, La Sagrada Família have an almost hallucinatory power.
He brought the parabolic arch , the organic shapes of nature and underwater fluidity into architecture. While arriving at the form of his buildings he used catenary principle using a scaled model and observing the forces of gravity. He also used the Catalonian trencadís technique of broken tiles to decorate surfaces.
He was ridiculed by his contemporaries, at his beginning being supported only by the rich industrialist Eusebi Güell . His fellow citizens referred to the Casa Milà as La Pedrera ("the quarry"). George Orwell, who stayed at Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War, very much disliked his work.
As time passed, though, his work became recognised and he is considered one of Catalonia's best and brightest.
Politically, he was a fervent Catalan nationalist. (He was once arrested for speaking in Catalan in a situation considered illegal by authorities.) In his later years, he left secular work and devoted all his time to Catholic religion and his Sagrada Familia.
He was run down by a tramway and lay in hospital unrecognized for three days because of his careless attire and the obscurity of his last years.
Though acknowledged as a genius, there is a theory that Gaudí was color blind and that it was only in collaboration with Josep Maria Jujol, an architect 27 years his junior whom he acknowledged as a genius in his own right, that he produced his greatest works.
Gaudi's major works in chronological order :
- Casa Vicens (1878-1880)
- Palau Güell (1885-1889)
- Colegio de Santa Maria de Jesús (1889-1894)
- Santa Coloma de Cervelló (1898-1915)
- Casa Calvet (1899-1904)
- Casa Batlló (1905-1907)
- Casa Milà (La Pedrera) (1905-1907)
- Parc Güell (1900-1914)
- Sagrada Família (1884-1926)
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