If you’ve ever been to Barcelona you know that it’s one of a kind city, with its special spirit unique architectural landmarks, and it’s mostly because of one man — Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí designed many buildings around the city of Barcelona, and you’d be able to recognize them without anyone showing you which ones those are. Here we bring you the list of Gaudí’s most interesting buildings in Barcelona, so keep reading.
Who Was Gaudí?
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Spanish Catalan architect, the most remarkable exponent of Catalan Modernism (Modernisme) — a Catalan variation of the Art Nouveau movement. He did most of his works in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was heavily influenced by the Revival Gothic architecture of the time and was especially inspired by the work of French architect Viollet-le-Duc.
Gaudí’s unique work was also inspired by his passions in life: architecture, religion, and nature, and it is pretty obvious if you carefully observe his works. Also, he was very inventive and introduced many new techniques and crafts into his architecture, such as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging, and carpentry. Even though he was an exponent of Modernisme, his work transcended it and culminated in a unique style inspired by organic and natural forms.
Wandering what gorgeous buildings he left behind? Keep reading…
Want to read more about the Art Nouveau movement in Europe? Check out our previous blog post: “Everything You Need to Know about Art Nouveau in Europe“
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is an amazing Catholic Cathedral, Gaudí’s most famous work which still stands unfinished. It has been in construction for the last 133 years, and it is supposed to be finished in 2026. This marvelous building combines several architectural styles including Catalan Modernism, Art Nouveau, and Spanish Late-Gothic, but the main inspiration for its construction is nature and variety of shapes that can find in it. Even though it is still unfinished, La Sagrada Familia is considered to be Gaudí’s masterpiece and one of the most popular landmarks in Barcelona.
Casa Vicens is a gorgeous colorful building, which was the first Gaudí’s first important building and is often considered one of the first Art Nouveau buildings in the world. Gaudí used various vibrant colors in the design of this building, and even though it is clear that it was designed in the Art Nouveau style, you can see the impact of Neo-Mudéjar architecture — a type of Moorish revival architecture. This was a residential building — a summer house for Vicens family, until 2014 when its reconstruction started, and it was turned into a museum in 2017.
Casa Batlló is another residential building with Gaudí’s signature, but he just redesigned this one. This unique building is also known as the House of Bones, and once you see its marvelous façade, it might be clear for you — the fencing on its small balconies looks like it’s made of bones. But those skeleton-details are not the only reasons why this building is so famous and unique. Its roof is designed in a way that resembles the back of the dragon, and it’s covered in scales of course. All those fun details, plus the broken tiles that it’s covered to make the building so beautiful and unique.
In the same neighborhood, there is the Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera (English: the stone quarry), which Gaudí built for Milà family. It also lacks any straight lines and it’s made of natural limestone. Its roof is covered in broken white tiles — it’s a technique that Gaudí used a lot. Also, since Gaudí was Catholic devoted to the Virgin Mary, he wanted this house to be a spiritual symbol and he integrated many spiritual elements into the façade.
Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera
Casa Calvet is, as many architects agree, the most conventional of Gaudí’s work. It has the gorgeous stone façade, with bay windows and sculptural decorations. Unlike other Gaudí’s buildings, it’s pretty balanced and symmetrical, but it doesn’t lack his unique style elements, especially in the shape of the balconies. There are also some mythological and natural motifs incorporated into the design, which helped him win Barcelona City Council’s award for the best building in 1900.
Colegio Teresiano de Barcelona
As we already mentioned, Gaudí was a very devoted Catholic, so he did a lot for Church. He designed the façade of a convent school for The Order of Saint Teresa of Jesus. The construction work already started when Gaudí was hired and, since the budget wasn’t very generous, he had to use the cheapest materials. Still, the managed to create an impressive façade with many religious symbols referencing to Saint Teresa.
The Bellesguard Tower (Torre Bellesguard), or Casa Figueras as it is also known, is a modernist structure built as a second house for Figueras. The design was inspired by a Medieval castle which once stood in the same place, so it was supposed to have that Medieval feel. But still, there are some Art Nouveau elements used on this classic Gothic structure.
Palau Güell (Palace Güell) is a wonderful palace located near La Rambla street in the very center of Barcelona. It was commissioned to Gaudí by Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, the count of Güell, an industrial tycoon, and one of Gaudí’s greatest clients. The palace is not nearly as colorful as other Gaudí’s buildings, but it still has some interesting features, such as unique arched entrance or colorful tree-like chimneys on the roof. The house was mostly centered around the main room and interior in general, as it was supposed to entertain high-society guests.
Colonia Güell is another work commissioned by Eusebi Güell, but unfortunately, this one was never finished. Gaudí designed an irregular oval church and crypt as a place of worship for the residents of a suburb area near Barcelona. When Güell lost his profits, the construction was suspended, and only the crypt was completed. It was built in basaltic stone bricks and decorated with unique broken-tiles mosaic, just like many other Gaudí’s buildings.
Even though Parc Güell isn’t just a building but a complex, it’s an extraordinary landmark and a gorgeous Gaudí’s masterpiece, so we just couldn’t skip it. It’s a 45-acre garden complex with extraordinary architectonic elements that are following the shape of nature. Its focal point is the main terrace which gives amazing views of the city of Barcelona. The terrace is lined with a long bench in the shape of the sea serpent, and it is decorated with colorful mosaic-like broken tiles. The park is full of wonderful details — there’s so much to see. This work was also commissioned to Gaudí by the count of Güell, and today it is a municipal garden and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gaudí’s Parc Güell in Barcelona
Most of Gaudí’s works are on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, and no wonder — they’re truly unique and wonderful. It’s hard to say which one is the best and our favorite, but La Sagrada Familia is considered his masterpiece. Gaudí really did something special — Barcelona wouldn’t have that unique spirit today if it weren’t for him. Would you agree? Do you have a favorite amongst his works? Let us know.