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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Antoni Gaudí's Barcelona - Palau Güell

Palau Guell, Barcelona, Spain

At age 26 Antoni Gaudí met Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, a wealthy Catalan industrialist, politician and patron of the arts. That meeting would have an influence on Gaudí's career that extended for many years and commissions from Güell ultimately gave rise to some of Gaudí's most renowned creations including several that bear his name; Palau Güell, Parque Güell and the ...


Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 5 08001 Barcelona, Spain

41°22'43.90"N 2°10'26.98"E

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... Crypt at the Colònia Güell. Palau Güell is located on a side street, Carrer Nou de la Rambla, just off la Rambla in the heart of Barcelona. While in Barcelona my wife and I stayed at the Hotel Monte Carlo which is located on la Rambla [and incidentally is an excellent hotel; read my wife's review on Trip Advisor]. Palau Güell was actually just a few minutes from the hotel and we had walked past the side street several times while strolling along la Rambla without realizing it. After a few days in Barcelona however we put two and two together and visited Palau Güell.

Palau Güell was one of Gaudí's early works; though various sources indicate construction started anywhere from 1880 to 1886 and ended somewhere between 1886 and 1890 the official Palau Güell website indicates the project ran from 1885 to 1890 [PDF document located here]. Over the years the building has gone through various stages of deterioration and restoration culminating in the building being closed to the public in 2004 while the most recent restoration project was completed. The building is now once again open to the public and is a must see on any trip to Barcelona.

Palau Güell was a large and sumptuous mansion as befitted a family with the stature of the Güells. The facade is dominated by twin arched entry ways decorated with intricate iron work. These arches were designed to allow guests of the Güells to enter the property in their carriages and alight right next to the "Staircase Of Honor" which permitted access to the main floors. Stables, along with storage areas, were located in a basement constucted around brick pillars which featured mushroom shaped capitals.

The living areas were dominated by the central hall, a luxurious and elaborately decorated area topped by a dome featuring a graduated series of perforations; lanterns were hung outside these holes at night and were said to give the impression of looking up at a starry sky. The central hall also features a chapel and an organ; the acoustics of the space were said to be spectacular. Functions and receptions generally took place in the central hall but the floor also hosts the main dining room and other rooms devoted to normal family life along with additional function rooms. A mezzanine level overlooking the central hall was created to host musicians for entertaining and concerts.

Moving up through the house there was then a level primarily devoted to the families private quarters that was comprised mainly of the master bedrooms. The "attic" level above was the primary home for domestic activities and it housed the servant's quarters, kitchen and laundry.

Topping the building was a roof terrace dominated by the spire that tops the dome of the central hall and a series of ornately designed chimneys. The chimneys are an early example of Gaudi's use of a technique known as trencadís; the use of broken shards of ceramic tiles and glass to decorate. The use of trencadís would become a recurring theme throughout Gaudí's career as can be seen in the images below showing [left to right] one of the chimneys on the roof of Palau Güell, the facade of Casa Batlló and the decoration around a window in the Crypt at the Colònia Güell.

Palau Güell - Chimney

Casa Batlló - Facade

The Crypt At Colonia Güell - Window

We can also see other examples of themes and motifs that would feature elsewhere in Gaudi's body of work; note the similarity in theme between this image of a chimney at the Palau Güell and this image of the decoration atop a pillar at the Sagrada Familia.

Palau Güell is one of seven of Gaudi's works to receive the recognition of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and is included in the World heritage Site "Works Of Antoni Gaudi".

All the photos used in this articles are originals shot 060812.

Palau Guell, Barcelona, Spain

Palau Guell Alt 1, Barcelona, Spain

Palau Guell Alt 2, Barcelona, Spain

Palau Guell Alt 3, Barcelona, Spain

Palau Guell - Atrium Detail

Palau Guell - Metal Relief

Palau Guell - Entry Way

Palau Guell - Lighting 1

Palau Guell - Lighting 2

Palau Guell - Lighting 3

Palau Guell - Lighting 4

Palau Guell - Courtyard

Palau Guell - Courtyard Fountain Head

Palau Guell - Atrium Detail

Palau Guell - Fireplace

Palau Guell - Atrium Organ

Palau Guell - Tower

Palau Guell - Tower Top Decoration

Palau Guell - Dining Room

Palau Guell - Dining Room Fireplace Detail

Palau Guell - Arches & Pillars 1

Palau Guell - Arches & Pillars 1

Palau Guell - Atrium Painting

Palau Guell - Arches & Reflections

Palau Guell - Wooden Relief

Palau Guell - Wooden Chest

Palau Guell - Exterior Iron Work

Palau Guell - Reflections 1

Palau Guell - Knight's Window 1

Palau Guell - Knight's Window 2

Palau Guell - Knight's Window 3

Palau Guell - Knight's Window 4

Palau Guell - Shakespeare Window

Palau Guell - Hamlet Window

Palau Guell - Macbeth Window

Palau Guell - Windows - Faces 1

Palau Guell - Windows - Faces 1

Palau Guell - Chimney Group 1

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 1

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 2

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 3

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 4

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 5

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 6

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 7

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 8

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 9

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 10

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 11

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 12

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 13

Palau Guell - Chimney Detail 14

Palau Guell - Chimney Group 2

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 1

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 2

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 3

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 4

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 5

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 2

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 7

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 8

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 9

Palau Guell - Chimney [Tall] 10

Palau Guell - Chimney Group 3

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