Antoni Gaudi Cornet was an architect from Catalonia, Spain who belonged to the Modernisme (Art Nouveau) movement. He was known for his individualistic style which was one-of-a-kind. Most of his works are concentrated around Barcelona, Spain. Gaudi’s architecture was highly influenced by his passion like nature and religion. He introduced new techniques of constructions like trencadis (broken tile mosaics) which uses waste ceramic, stained glasses or wood pieces and he also came up with equilibrated architectures. Equilibrated design can be observed in his multi-storey apartments of Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. The several floors of which are structured like clusters of tile lily pads with steel-beam veins. As was so often his practice, he designed the two buildings, in their shapes and surfaces, as metaphors of the mountainous and maritime character of Catalonia.
Antoni Gaudi was a Roman Catholic and over the period of time his faith intensified do much that religious images started to appear in his work which is why he was given the name “the god’s architect”. Seven of the buildings constructed by him are recognised as UNESCO world heritage buildings. Throughout his life, Antoni has never drawn the architectures on paper rather he always built three-dimensional models. His most famous work Sagrada Familia is still under construction from the past 137 years and the project is likely to be completed in the year 2026. His designs hardly consisted of any straight lines as he believed that in nature there are no straight lines but only curves. Like one of his quotes says, “Nothing is art if does not come from nature” all of his designs inspiration can be found in nature.
Gaudi was given the project of Sagrada Familia after its construction was already started, he was only 33 years old when he was given this project he completely changed the design with highly complicated and intricate details. Antoni was aware that he will not live to see his project being complete therefore he left the complete designs and sculptures behind for the generations to finish it. When he died only 15-25% of the construction was completed and during the Spanish civil war, most of the sculptures and drawings he had left for Sagrada Familia was destroyed. The engineers today use the most advance aeronautical reverse engineering software to find the exact design that Antoni came up with decades ago.
In this architecture there are some fascinating things to note firstly, Antoni wanted to show the complete history of the church in this architecture Sagrada has 3 different facades, all of them with hidden different meanings! The only thing that was built while he was still alive, the Birth Façade, is dedicated to the birth of Jesus while the facade also shows elements related to the Nature and the creation of life. The second is the Passion facade, representing Jesus’ crucifixion while the third one, still under construction, the Glory facade, represents the road to reach God going through death, final judgment and glory. Throughout these facades are filled with numerous sculptures showing the events from the bible.
There’s not a single straight line in Sagrada Familia the architecture spires represent forest because according to Antoni, only in the forest a man is the closest to god. The entire construction is done on the donation that the church gets (which is why it’s called expiatory temple).
On the passion façade, there’s an interesting matrix of 4X4 matrix in which the numbers added horizontal or vertical ads up to 33, which is the age at which Christ died.
The construction of Sagrada Familia is longer than the pyramids itself the pyramids had taken 20 years while the Sagrada will be completed in 144 approximately years (i.e. 2026). Once the construction of the church is complete it will be the highest church in the world. It attracts the most tourists in Spain. The height of the tower was also decided by Antoni Gaudi for a specific reason according to Gaudí, nothing should be most majestic and powerful than Nature. This is why Gaudí has long thought about the height of his masterpiece. He finally decided that the highest tower of Sagrada Familia, the Torre del Salvador (“Tower of the Savior”), would be 170 meters high, i.e. 1 meter shorter than the Montjuic Mountain. Gaudí found it improper that a man’s work surpasses God’s work.
Indeed, when it is finished, Sagrada Familia will have 18 towers with the highest spire reaching 170 meters high. So basically the spires have religious meaning.
The architectures of Antoni Gaudi were truly one-of-a-kind, when he was passing out his professor made a comment while giving him the degree “either we are giving this to a madman or a genius only time will show”. His architecture also features in the latest book by the famous author Dan brown ‘Origin’. Antoni Gaudi died in an accident after being hit by tram unfortunately he was mistaken to be a beggar and he did not get medical attention immediately eventually he was taken to a hospital where he was given rudimentary care where he passed after 3 days on 10th June 1926. A large crowd gathered to bid farewell to him in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Família. His gravestone bears this inscription:
“Antoni Gaudí Cornet. From Reus. At the age of 74, a man of exemplary life, and an extraordinary craftsman, the author of this marvellous work, the church, died piously in Barcelona on the tenth day of June 1926; henceforward the ashes of so great a man await the resurrection of the dead. May he rest in peace”