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GaudĂ­ and Barcelona: the 7 UNESCO heritage monuments


Over the years, UNESCO has included 7 monuments designed by Antoni GaudĂ­ on its World Heritage List: a recognition not achieved by anyone else.

Gaudí and Barcelona: trying to explain the link between the architect and the city is not easy. You have to see with your own eyes the work of the Catalan architect to be able to truly appreciate its value: the most important work is certainly the Sagrada Familia, the monument that has become a symbol of Barcelona, ​​so brilliant that it is hard to imagine that it was the result of the mind of one person. Emotions certainly don't end with the Sagrada Familia: UNESCO ha incluso ben 7 works by Gaudí on his World Heritage List, between 1984 and 2005; no other architect has received such a high number of inclusions, testifying to the importance of Gaudí in the history of modern architecture.


Casa Vicens (1883-1888)


Casa Vicens it was the first private house designed by GaudĂ­, an assignment received by the industrialist Manuel Vicens Montaner. The client, owner of a ceramic factory, asked the architect for a construction that would show the possibilities of ceramics in decoration, and GaudĂ­ fully fulfilled this desire: the house is a cheerful construction for the colors and original for the large amount of tiles shown. , both outside and inside, with a constant use of ceramic coating. The external towers, windows, battlements and decorations are all elements that recall both the Gothic and the Mudejar styles of the Arab domination of Andalusia. The house is currently undergoing restoration work and is not open to public visits.

Facade of the Nativity and crypt of the Sagrada Familia (1883 - 1926)

Facade of the Nativity
The Sagrada Familia, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, is the most visited monument in all of Spain. GaudĂ­ was called to direct the work of the temple in 1883, based on a pre-existing project, however, while keeping the parts already built intact, he decided to radically change the overall project. From 1914 GaudĂ­ devoted himself exclusively to the direction of the works of the Sagrada Familia, following the project for another 12 years, until the time of his death in 1926. Inspired by the cathedrals of the Middle Ages, the Sagrada Familia rises in the middle of the city of Barcelona like a Neo-Gothic-inspired building of 12.800 square meters.

Of the total 18 towers - 12 dedicated to the apostles, 4 to the evangelists, one to the Virgin and one to Christ - GaudĂ­ was able to complete only one before his death, that of San Bartolomeo. In addition to the tower, the Catalan architect is the direct author of the Facade of the Nativity and part of the crypt, which is why the inscription on the UNESCO heritage list concerns these parts for the moment, and not the whole temple. GaudĂ­ drew up general drawings and plans for the construction of the church, however leaving it to future generations to complete the construction of the church according to their own ideas. The aim is to complete the external structure in 2026, 100 years after GaudĂ­'s death.



Read more: information on the Sagrada Familia: how to get there, timetables and tickets

Palau GĂĽell (1886-1889)


In 1986 UNESCO included Palau GĂĽell in the list of World Heritage buildings. It is one of the most luxurious buildings in Barcelona at the time: a square-plan building that Count GĂĽell commissioned to GaudĂ­ to show the social and economic status of the GĂĽell family.

Located just off the Rambla, it is the only building that bears GaudĂ­'s signature within the old town. Although this is one of GaudĂ­'s first works, it already represents a demonstration of the Catalan architect's broad ability to distinguish himself within the modernist movement, developing his own original style. As in all his main works, GaudĂ­ also took care of the design of the interior furnishings: some of these are visible at the MNAC, while another is part of the collection of the Museum of Modernism in Barcelona.

Read more: guide to the Palau GĂĽell

Crypt of Colonia GĂĽell (1898-1916)


The GaudĂ­ Crypt of Colonia GĂĽell in Santa Coloma de CervellĂł - just outside Barcelona - was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2005. It is an assignment from Count GĂĽell to GaudĂ­ for his industrial colony, a nucleus of houses that housed the workers of the textile factory owned by GĂĽell. Despite the size of the overall project, GaudĂ­ limited himself to building the church.

It is an essential work in GaudĂ­'s formative path, bearing in mind that the architect has always considered this church as a dress rehearsal for the construction of the Sagrada Familia. For the first time GaudĂ­ uses a system of parabolic arches - also called catenary arches - applied to the typical Catalan vault, employing a different concept of load distribution to support the construction. The columns are perfectly calculated to allow maximum visibility of the altar from each side of the crypt, and designed to best withstand the load, despite giving the impression of being too thin to do their job. The church was not finished, however the design and construction techniques that made the success of this construction possible were then reused in the development of the Sagrada Familia project.



Read more: how to get to the GaudĂ­ Crypt of Colonia GĂĽell and complete guide

Parc GĂĽell (1900-1914)

Terrace in the Parc Guell
Added to the UNESCO list in 1984, Parc Güell was conceived as a luxury urbanization for 60 independent villas, modeled on the English garden cities. As an area, a hill just above Gràcia was chosen, at the time an autonomous municipality, a land with large differences in height, many stones and no water resources. The park was designed with great care for every aesthetic and functional detail, making the best possible use of the surrounding environment, and with practical solutions for structural problems such as the collection of river water. Despite this, the outbreak of the First World War and the unenthusiastic reception of the project by the Barcelona bourgeoisie turned the plan of Güell and Gaudí into a commercial failure. Gaudí lived inside the park for several years, before moving to the Sagrada Familia laboratory: the house where he lived inside the park is open to the public. The park was sold in 1922 to the City of Barcelona, ​​and opened to the public as a park in 1923.

Read more: guide to Parc GĂĽell

Casa BatllĂł (1904-1906)


Casa BatllĂł is the result of the renovation of a building - built in 1877 - in the Paseo de GrĂ cia, in the middle of the Eixample, and is part of the group of buildings known as manzana de la discordia. GaudĂ­'s imagination and creativity mean that the renovation turns into an exceptional remodeling of the building, combining the structural reform of the building with the great work of the craftsmen: sculptors, decorators, specialists in iron, plaster and glass. It remains one of the most important works of GaudĂ­ for its symbolism, chromatic richness, the variety of materials used, as well as for his contribution in geometry and new design and construction techniques, providing some similarities to some artistic currents such as the surrealism, cubism or expressionism.



Read more: drive to Casa BatllĂł

Milan House (1906-1910)


Also known as la Pedrera, Casa MilĂ  is one of the Catalan architect's most creative buildings. The task was given to GaudĂ­ by the MilĂ  family, after completing the construction of Casa BatllĂł, a project that had made GaudĂ­ very famous. Included in the UNESCO heritage in 1984, it consists of two structures with independent entrances, unified by a single facade: a game of curves endows the latter with a plastic effect that recalls the waves of the sea or the desert dunes.

The demonstration of the architect's ability was to combine organic forms, worthy more of a sculpture than a building, with the best craftsmen for the care of every aesthetic detail, endowing every corner with a magical beauty. It is one of the last works begun by GaudĂ­ before the architect devoted himself exclusively to the construction of the Sagrada Familia, it is probably the building where GaudĂ­'s great technical expertise and creative ability can best be admired.
Read more: information on Casa MilĂ : how to get there, timetables and tickets

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