Exploring Barcelona is similar to stepping inside the mind of Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, a Spanish Catalan architect known for his distinct style of mixing his passion- architecture, nature and religion into his creation.
One of the word often use to describe Barcelona is colorful, but I think this distinction is mainly attributed to Gaudí’s use of tiles and stained glass to create mosaic facade along with geometrical patterns resulted into masterpieces found all over the city.
Without truly understanding his work, it is easy to assume that Gaudí creation is just strangely beautiful play of individual pieces but a grasp of information allows anyone to realize how a twisted iron structure, curved stones and organic shapes are used to built a story of harmony with the surrounding and an appeal of uniqueness that only a master of Modernism like Gaudí himself can achieve.
With all honesty, prior arriving in Barcelona, my knowledge about Gaudí is limited. I was only interested to visit his creation for the sake of visiting them because it is included on top places to see list or a location of a favorite movie, however my perception has totally changed once I step inside into some of his works.
One of the first building I visited is Casa Milà or popularly known as La Pedrera (The Stone Quarry). Even without any knowledge on the historical background of Casa Milà, its undulating stone facade and twisting wrought iron balconies remains a standout among the buildings at Passeig de Gràcia.
Perhaps the most prominent feature of Casa Milà is the rooftop and chimneys or known as espanta bruixes (witch scares). Everyone who visited the rooftop will have a different opinion of what are these structures are, they look like robots of different head sizes and shapes, warriors head with helmets or maybe a modified modern-day scare crow. But no matter what the interpretation is, the twenty eight chimneys are more than aesthetic decoration for they are built with a purpose- a twisted neck so that smoke came out better and hidden vents for air circulation inside the building.
From Casa Milà, I stopped by at Casa Batlló, a building with the prominent facade of broken ceramic tiles and balcony resembling series of skulls, thus garnering an alternate name of Casa dels ossos (House of Bones).
Out of all Gaudí’s masterpieces, it is the Park Güell that is the most fun to visit. Though, requiring a bit of a hike from Carmell Hill, Park Güell is an open space showing the architect artistic plenitude.
Maybe it is the open-air environment of Park Güell that inspires Gaudí to take much freedom and liberation on his work, for it is believe that at Park Güell is where he unleashed all his creative freedom of mixing innovative structure and organic style, and the work that he did on Park Güell is what will become his foundation on creating his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.