GAUDÍ'S BARCELONA - A PERSONAL TOUR PART 2
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 ...
ANTONI GAUDÍ'S PALAU GÜELL
Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 5 08001 Barcelona, Spain
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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.
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.