We took the metro to Garcia district to visit Casa Vicens, the first important work of Antoni Gaudi.
It was built between 1883-1889 for Manuel Vicens, a wealthy man of the era (owner of a brick factory). Gaudi was influenced by Moorish style (noticed on the towers of the building) and used many colorful bricks and tiles. There many beautiful details but of course less progressive in general comparing with his works some years later.
As the building is a private residence and not a museum we couldn’t get inside and check the interior so we just took some photos from the street level.
The Antoni Gaudi Museum is located in same area as Parc Guell. Its a lovely pink house and it also used to be Gaudi's home. Highly recommended if your're intrested in Gaudi's art and life, times. He lived here 1906-1925... Really an interesting house to experience and walk around in.
In order to get a perspective of locations of the Gaudi sites, it is helpful to have maps to plan a route. These may help some in your venture. Local maps show the general direction, but not the detail sometimes of the locations on a street-
The museum gives us a glance at another aspect of the Gaudi mind, the day to day things that make a home. Here you can see things like a glass and wood partition panel, a curvilinear mirror, chairs, benches and even a table, all designed by Gaudi.
Entrance fee is 5.50 Euro, but only 4.50 if you have your Barcelona Card.
As you enter the main gate of the park you find two "houses" embracing the sides of the gate. These were originally constructed to be homes for the guards and today one is a gift shop and the other was just recently opened as a small museum (yes extra entrance fee here). My first impression upon seeing these two structures was an expectancy, a sort of waiting, a waiting for Be'er Rabbit to exit one and a troll the other.
Scattered around Park Guell are a number of bridge and road elements that allow comfortable access to the park. Some, like the first photo have seating along the edge (closed now) and others, like the second photo actually support a road above and is not actually a bridge.
The Serpentine Bench on the terrace overlooking the guard gates at the entrance to the park, is touted to be the longest bench in the world. The design by Jujol (take a look at this website to learn more: http://www.thejoyofshards.co.uk/ww/barcelona/index.shtml) of the bench and its mosaics are as Gaudy as Gaudi and as wonderful to see. The bench almost completely encircles the terrace which was originally designed as an open market area.
I was surprised to learn that Jujol was the designer of the bench and also the "medalions" on the ceiling of the terrace below as I had "always known" that Park Guell was a Gaudi design. Just shows you how much I have to learn, but that is one of the fun things in travel.
Voted as a World Heritage Site in 1984 by UNESCO, you can see in the photos some of the reasons why, and I am sure you would agree on this decision...I know I do.
As you approach the terrace you might notice that the columns are not straight, the exterior line leans very noticably inward. The terrace ceiling is decorated with brightly colored circular patterns, done by another artist Jujol, which add a spot of color to the unusually plain (for Gaudi) interior terrace area.
Undoubtedly the dragon here in Park Guell is one of the two most well known Gaudi creations along with the chimneys at Casa Batllo and Palau Guell. The dragon is a symbol you will see in ALL the tourist shops, on cups, on shirts, magnets, everything (be careful, if you stand still too long you may have one printed on your forehead)...It would not be my first choice as a representation of a dragon, there I would think along the lines of a large fire breathing and winged creature, but each to his own imagination, and admitedly Gaudi has imagination to spare. Most of his things look fanciful, but many conceal a function and are NOT solely for decoration as you will see later, for instance, in the terrace seating.
Gaudi seems to enhance everything he touches, here at Park Guell, it looks like he was trying to make solid the dreams of Alice In Wonderland or some other flight of fancy. Everything from the well known "dragon" on the stairs, to the fanciful guard houses at the entrance gate tickle your imagination.
In the next tips I want to show various aspects of the park, from the terrace with its seating and drain system, to the bridges that dot the landscape.
What we found interesting was that originally the entire area was to be private homes, but the investor did not manage to sell the properties, only 3. The idea was scrapped and only much later turned into a park.
To get there we took the metro, but then there is a walk of about 20-30 minutes, with the last 10 minutes being a very steep section. If you have any physical disabilities this may be a difficult walk.
If you would like a more exact "history" then take a look at these sites-
Barcelona of Gaudi
Gaudí's originality was at first ridiculed by his peers. Indeed, he was first only supported by the rich industrialist Eusebi Güell. His fellow citizens referred to the Casa Milà as La Pedrera ("the quarry"), and George Orwell, who stayed in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War, admittedly loathed his work. As time passed, though, his work became more famous. He stands as one of history's most original architects
As Spain’s second largest city and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is home to the 1992 Summer Olympics and unique architectures. Winter months can be a lovely time to visit Barcelona, provided the chance of rain is low. Throughout the city, Barcelona features work of architect Antoni Gaudi. Gaudí’s first works were designed in the style of gothic architecture and traditional Spanish architectural modes Eventually he developed his own distinct style, incorporating nature’s angles and curves into his designs.
Spend a day discovering the work of Antoni Gaudi and sample local cuisine. I wrote up my experience on my blog at http://www.1dayitinerary.com/2009/01/1-day-barcelona-gaudi.html
The impression of gaudi is seen all throughout the city of barcelona. For example, while walking down the roads, stop by a street lamp, it might be one of those masterpieces from this genius. As soon as he graduated from his college, one of his first assignments were designing street lamps.
The Palacio Guell that one finds at the entrance of the park guell is another interesting piece of architecture by Gaudi. The houses look straight from a fairy tale book, so unreal but so very beautiful.