Barcelona architecture makes many people automatically think of Antoni Gaudi. While Gaudi certainly has a substantial presence in the city, there are also offer influential artists who helped to shape the history of architecture in Barcelona. Other prominent architects include Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch. However, the most famous buildings in the city have Gaudi’s stamp all over them. From Casa Mila to Casa Vicens to Casa Batllo, the striking features of Gaudi are everywhere in the city. From buildings to postcards, this influential and revolutionary architect is one of the most discussed topics during any city tour of Barcelona.
Antoni Gaudi was born in 1852 and received his architecture degree in 1878. From the beginning of his career, his personal style differed greatly from his contemporaries. Over time, Gaudi developed his signature architectural traits, including organic-like forms, inspiration from nature, and his original use of color. Examples of Gaudi’s work are now some of the most famous pieces of Barcelona architecture, including Casa Mila, which Gaudi designed from 1906 to 1910 in the Eixample neighborhood. Casa Mila was in disrepair in the early 1980s, but it has been revived in recent years, thanks to its status a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A spectacular atrium, rooftop, and detailed balconies make this one of the most famous buildings in the city.
Another great example of Gaudi architecture in Barcelona is Casa Vicens. This family residence built between 1883 and 1889 is considered one of Gaudi’s most important early works. Built for industrialist Manuel Vicens, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. Located in the Gracia district of Barcelona, Casa Vicens shows some Moorish influence on Gaudi’s work. The house is still a private residence, but visitors often take a stroll by to see its striking red-brick exterior. There are no tours of the interior of this architectural landmark.
Another important feature of Gaudi’s work was colored tiles arranged in mosaic patterns. This feature is something Gaudi is often praised for: an attention to a use of color that was neglected by many other architects. These vibrant colors along with a variety of shapes of stonework leave a lasting impression on all who see Gaudi’s Barcelona architecture. The most visited attraction in all of Barcelona is one of Gaudi’s greatest works. Park Guell is known for its buildings, tile work, and sculpture—all by Gaudi. His old home is also located in the park and today houses a small museum. Another famous and interesting attraction by Gaudi in Barcelona is Casa Batllo, known locally as the House of Bones.
No other influence on Barcelona architecture has achieved the same level of fame as Gaudi. If you have an appreciation for small elements of architecture, such as street lamps and modest shops, almost every corner in Barcelona will be fascinating to you. Architecture buffs will want to stop at the tourist office where they can pick up a map featuring 115 of Barcelona’s best architecture “modernisme” sites. You can also pick up a card at the tourist center that entitles you to 50 percent off the admission fee at each of the sites. For anyone with an interest in Barcelona architecture, that is sure to add up to quite the discount! If you encounter a rainy day during your trip, check out the museums, churches, or even the Barcelona Concert Hall.