Antoni Gaudí

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Antoni Gaudí at the age of 26.
The photo was taken on March 15, 1878 at the celebration of his graduation from the architectural school. It is the oldest surviving representation of the architect.

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet [ ənˈtoni gəu̯ˈði i kuɾˈnɛt ] (born  June 25, 1852 in Reus , possibly in Riudoms ; †  June 10, 1926 in Barcelona ) was a Spanish architect and an outstanding representative of the Catalan modernist movement .


Childhood and youth

On June 25, 1852 Antoni Gaudí was born either in Reus or possibly in a village a few kilometers away called Riudoms, where his parents lived, the son of a coppersmith . Both his father, Francesc Gaudí i Serra (1813-1906), as well as his grandfather and great-grandfather were boiler makers. In his father's workshop, he became familiar with geometric shapes at an early age. His mother was Antònia Cornet i Bertran (1819–1876).

Francesc Gaudí
Francesc Gaudí i Serra
Rosa Serra
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet
Antoni Cornet
Antonia Cornet i Bertran
Maria Bertran

His childhood was marked by a rheumatic disease . Since he was unable to play with other children due to this disability, but instead observed nature, this explains his later natural architectural style .

Study time

During his school days at the school of the Piarist Fathers in Reus and at the architecture school in Barcelona, ​​where he studied from 1873 to 1878, he was not known for particularly good results, but stood out from the other students as an excellent and creative draftsman . When Gaudí graduated from the architecture school on March 15, 1878, the director of the institute Elies Rogent doubted :

"Qui sap si hem donat el diploma a un boig oa un geni: el temps ens ho dirà."

"Who knows whether we gave the diploma to a madman or a genius - only time will tell us."

Right from the start of his studies, he worked for various architecture firms, including Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano , Josep Fontserè and Joan Martorell .

The time of great works

His first major work consisted in planning a factory and a workers' settlement for the “Sociedad Cooperativa La Obrera Mataronense” (1878 to 1882). However, the construction failed at an early stage. In 1878 Gaudí met Eusebi Güell , with whose financial help he was later able to realize important works such as the Güell pavilions , the Palau Güell , the Park Güell , the Bodegas Güell and the crypt of the Colònia Güell .

Replica of Gaudí's study at the Sagrada Família
Sagrada Família in Barcelona

Antoni Gaudí created the Casa Vicens and El Capricho before his first assignment for Güell . In March 1883 he took over the management of the construction of the Sagrada Família , which began in 1882 and which he devoted himself entirely to from 1914 to 1926. In addition to the Palau Güell from 1886 to 1889, he managed the construction of the Theresian Penitentiary in Barcelona from 1889 to 1894 and that of the Bishops' Palace in Astorga from 1887 to 1893 .

In 1898 the first designs for the church of Colonia Güell were made, and in the same year he built the Casa Calvet for the textile manufacturer Don Pedro M. Calvet. Two years later, he received the annual award for the best building in the city from the city council of Barcelona for this building. In 1900 he was still planning the first glorious secret for the monumental rosary at the Montserrat monastery , but he gave up the contract early due to differences of opinion and then planned the Park Güell.

From 1904 to 1906 he redesigned Casa Batlló . Gaudí's father, Francesc Gaudí i Serra, died in 1906 at the age of 93. Gaudí's last great works were the aforementioned Park Güell, the crypt of Colonia Güell and the new building of Casa Milà , also known as “La Pedrera”.

The architect never married, but instead decided to lead an ascetic life as a celibate layman after the failure of his marriage intentions with a woman with whom he had fallen in love . From 1906 to the end of 1925 he lived in a house in Park Güell, which has been in memory of him since 1963 as the Casa-Museu Gaudí .

Death and beatification

Gaudí's grave in the church

On June 7, 1926 Gaudí was hit by a tram on the way from his morning visit to the oratory of St. Philip Neri to the construction site of the Sagrada Família and remained unconscious. Since he did not have any identification papers with him, he was initially mistaken for a beggar because of his neglected appearance and was not given adequate emergency medical care. Only after a few hours did a police officer take him to the Hospital de la Santa Creu for the poor. It was only three days later that his friend and closest colleague Domènec Sugrañes and the chaplain of the Sagrada Família, Msgr. Gil Parés, found him there . They then had Gaudí moved to a private room, where he died the same day.

The whole city was in deep mourning. Thousands gave Gaudí the final honor. The government ordered his burial in the crypt of the still unfinished church La Sagrada Família , for which Pope Pius XI. gave his consent. Antoni Gaudí found his final resting place where he had worked for most of his life.

In 2000, the Roman Catholic Church initiated a beatification process for him. Cardinal Ricardo María Carles campaigned for his beatification and defended him against the alleged accusation of having been a Freemason. The beatification process for Gaudí is well on its way, said the vice-postulator of the process, the Argentine lawyer Silvia Correale, to the Buenos Aires newspaper La Nación in early 2006 . The Holy See has received reports from around the world of graces attributed to the intercession of Gaudí, who died in 1926. A particularly exemplary life is one of the prerequisites for beatification.

Characteristics of Gaudí's works

Casa Batlló in Barcelona
Casa Milà in Barcelona

Architectural style

Gaudí was known for his idiosyncratic style of wavy, organic shapes. He built his buildings in the formal language of Modernism , the Catalan variety of Art Nouveau . The typical features were curved lines, irregular ground plans, sloping brick columns, natural soft shapes with motifs of flora and fauna. Other preferences were rubble stones and colorful ceramic tiles, which he had used as design elements in his buildings. Gaudí disdainfully rejected the Gothic flying buttresses as “crutches” and instead used inclined building pillars. He developed his buildings during construction using sketches and models. Since Gaudí perceived a building as a total work of art, he also designed the smallest details inside the building himself. His designs brought blacksmithing and mosaic art, carpentry and glass art to new heights. Its style elements impress with simple but original, often organic shapes.

Gaudí's style influenced, among other things, that of the Austrian painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser .

Construction principle and statics

Ceiling of the Sagrada Familia: paraboloids, hyperboloids and heliocoids constantly change the effect of the light and thus create a wealth of nuances.

Gaudí often used the principle of hanging models to construct the supporting structures . Thanks to this principle, he was also able to create complicated shapes without complex calculations and with a minimum of material, since only compressive forces occur in the vaults. This design is also known as the Catalan vault . The arches used by Gaudí are based on the principle of an inverted chain line ( catenoids ), which are designed as a rotation catenoid for the tower structures and resemble an elliptical or, in saddle-shaped vaults, a hyperbolic paraboloid .


Outstanding buildings

The first building by Antoni Gaudí is the Casa Vicens (1883–1885). Here you can clearly see his preference for rubble stones and ceramic tiles. At the Casa Batllo (1904-1906) is Gaudí shows attention to detail. You can also see from the curved roof and wall structures that he took nature as his model. The Casa Mila is the successor of the Casa Batllo. Although the Casa Batlló was already a high point of his work, he wanted greater freedom. The natural forms can again be recognized very well on the curved roof and wall structures.

Gaudí's life's work was the Sagrada Família church in Barcelona . He has been working on it almost since he started working as an architect. Today the church, although still unfinished, is the most recognizable of Barcelona's landmarks. On November 7, 2010 she was given by Pope Benedict XVI. consecrated and made a papal minor basilica .

A total of seven buildings by Gaudí in and around Barcelona are listed as serial cultural assets under the designation Works by Antoni Gaudí on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

List of works

Episcopal Palace in Astorga
Park Güell in Barcelona

The most famous works

Other works

  • Cooperativa Obrera Mataronense, factory building (1878)
  • Participation in the Parc de la Ciutadella (1871–1889)
  • Street lights in Plaça Reial (1888)
  • Collegi de les Teresianes, School of the Theresian Sisters (1888–1889)
  • Celler Güell , winery in the Comarca Garraf (1895–1897)
  • Bellesguard in Barcelona (1900–1909)
  • Finca Miralles (1901–1902)
  • Interior renovation of La Seu Cathedral in Palma (1903–1914)
  • La Pobla de Lillet , park (1905)

Works about Gaudí


  • Josep Pla : Gaudi. The blue eyes of Barcelona . Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-937834-09-5
  • Joan Bergos i Masso, Joan Bassegoda i Nonell, Maria A. Crippa: Gaudí. The artist and his work . Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2000, ISBN 3-421-03457-5
  • Maria Antonietta Crippa: Antoni Gaudí 1852–1926. From nature to architecture . Taschen-Verlag, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-8228-2442-9
  • Xavier Güell: Antoni Gaudí . Verlag für Architektur Artemis, Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-7608-8121-1
  • Frederike Müller, Lars Wendt: The architect Antoni Gaudí. Myth and Reality , DVD 70 min., Wendtfilm & Ciné Canard, Germany 2006
  • Marina Linares: Modernism in Barcelona: Antoni Gaudí - a will to create permeates the space , in: "We have to build a city, a whole city!" The Darmstadt artists' colony on Mathildenhöhe. Theiss-Verlag 2017 (workbooks of the State Office for Monument Preservation Hesse; 30 / ICOMOS booklets of the National Committee; LXIV), pp. 211–220, ISBN 978-3-8062-3706-1
  • Jose L. Moro: Antoni Gaudí 1852-1926. Sensual construction . DVA, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-421-03457-5
  • Isidre Puig Boada: Antoni Gaudí: Paroles et écrits. Editions L'Harmattan, 2002
  • Philippe Thiébaut: Gaudí. Bâtisseur visionnaire. Découvertes Gallimard, 2001
  • Isabel Artigas (Ed.): Gaudi: The entire work . Taschen, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-8228-5654-3
  • Mark Burry (Ed.): Gaudí Unseen. The completion of the Sagrada Família. JOVIS-Verlag Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-939633-78-5
  • Judith Funke: Antoni Gaudí - On the psychoanalysis of architecture . In: System ubw, magazine for classical psychoanalysis . 33. Jg./Heft 2. Ahriman-Verlag , November 2015, ISSN  0724-7923 , p. 5-68 .
  • Rainer Graefe: Reconstruction of Antonio Gaudi's Church of the Colónia Güell. In: Karl-Eugen Kurrer , Werner Lorenz , Volker Wetzk (eds.): Proceedings of the Third International Congress on Construction History. Neunplus, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-936033-31-1 , pp. 729-736 (PDF).

Web links

Commons : Antoni Gaudí  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ruta del Modernisme de Barcelona ( Catalan ) Retrieved April 28, 2007.
  2. The grave of Antoni Gaudí (photos and description, accessed in May 2017).
  3. Spanish Cardinal Carles died., accessed on December 18, 2013
  4. Vatican Radio : Spain: Beatification of Gaudí is making progress ( Memento of October 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) of January 4, 2006
  5. Isabel Artigas (ed.): Gaudi: The entire work . Taschen, Cologne, 2007
  6. ↑ Comments on Gaudi's style in the documentation area of ​​the Sagrada Familia.
  7. Catalan vaults ( Memento from August 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 887 kB)
  8. ^ Arch and vault constructions in Gaudí's buildings ( Memento of November 16, 2007 in the Internet Archive ); from p. 45