Antoni Gaudi Secret Gems – The Lesser Known Buildings You Have to See

Sep 23, 2022 | Art, Articles

You’ve probably heard of the Sagrada Familia. It is the most famous work by Antoni Gaudi. You just cannot escape the grandiose Catholic Church in the heart of Barcelona. However, while everyone’s heard of Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, there are many more great building by Gaudi.

His unmistakable urban fabric and his unique approach to the Art Nouveau movement generated extremely creative buildings. When you walk the streets of Barcelona, you can easily spot his buildings. They are unmistakable. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of his lesser known buildings.

What was Gaudi’s Style?

Gaudi is remarkable in so many ways. But one of them is he managed to create in different styles. He went through a couple of periods in his opus.

His early work are part of his orientalist period. During this period, Gaudi looked for inspiration in the cultures of the Far East and the Middle East. He used ceramics, Moorish columns and arches. But he also used domes, a very prominent feature of his early career.

Then, he moved to neo-gothic period, drawing inspiration from Medieval Gothic art. This was during the 1880s. Yet, Gaudi introduced a couple of modifications to the structure. Instead of buttresses, he used ruled surfaces.

At the peak of his career, he switched to naturalist period and a distinct organic style. Thanks to his knowledge of ruled geometry, Gaudi was able to create novel structural solutions and evade classicism. His characteristic decorative style was evident in the volumes and shapes during this period.

And he applied all of his style changes and transformations into the Sagrada Familia. For this project, he reached perfection by combining function and form, but also aesthetics and functionality. With that in mind, here are some Gaudi lesser known buildings.

The Teresian College

This is one of the projects where he worked with almost zero money. But the low budget did not stop him from creating a work marked by symbolism.

Gaudi did not start this project from scratch. He had to work over the work of a former architect. He started with foundations and about 80cm of wall built. He had to accept a tight budget due to the poverty at the time.

But despite the tight budget, Gaudi did not abandon his imaginative constructive idea and managed to use bricks to design ornamental elements.

La Miranda

This is a summer residence for automobile businessman Damia Mateu, located in a town near Barcelona. He designed with his colleague Francesc Berenguer.

It is a small property with a one hundred square meter ground plan. The striking element is the look-out tower with a cylindrical shape and five floors. Gaudi used masonry and brickwork for this project, and the façade looks similar to Casa Vicens.

Nowadays, only the watch tower remains due to bomb in 1939.

Guell Wine Cellars

Eusebi Guell was one of Gaudi’s best clients. He commissioned Guadi for so much work. You’ve probably heard of Park Guell. But the wine cellars, located in a property in Garraf are just as amazing. The property is in a coastal area to the south of Barcelona.

Gaudi again worked with Francesc Beregenguer. They designed a very original building with a triangular shape and covered with a sharply sloping two-sided roof. The building resembles a tent.

Thanks to the angular appearance and the use of stone, the property blends into the rocky landscape perfectly in tune with the location.

Fun fact: Gaudi used only one cladding material for the entire building, and that was grey limestone from Garraf.

Artigas Gardens

Park Guell was one of Gaudi’s most famous works. And here, he used it as an inspiration for a project commissioned by textile industrialist Joan Artigas Alart.

Gaudi created a stroll along the banks of the River Llobregat, and placed several fountains and look-out points on the way.

The Artigas Gardens take up a surface area of 40,000 square meters. It is an equivalent of four football pitches. And again, he used elements of the garden or imitated the forms of the local vegetation with cement.

Casa Vicens

This is the first important building and residence by Gaudi. Some consider it to be the one of the first Art Nouveau buildings in the world.

Gaudi built the imaginative residential project for a wealthy family owning a ceramic factory. He expressed their professional background with the use of ceramic tiles in the façade.

The residence is a reflection of the Neo-Mudejar architecture, a popular style you can see throughout Gaudi’s architecture. He blended oriental and neoclassical design elements, and some of the Islamic architecture can be seen on the façade.

This building shows what Gaudi was all about. He broke away from tradition and created his own language. It is the beginning of the famous Gaudi architecture.

Colonia Guell

Gaudi left this building unfinished. He designed the irregular oval church and crypt in 1898 as a place of worship for residence in a suburb near Barcelona. Because he lost profits from his business, he stopped the construction in 1914 with only the crypt completed.

He built the crypt with basaltic stone bricks with mosaics that give it an archaic appearance. The unique geometric columns can be found on the interior and exterior.

Gaudi used the construction techniques for this building as the foundation of the techniques for the La Sagrada Familia.

Casa Batllo

This might be the most poetic and artistic design in a building by Gaudi. You can see his synthesis of animal shapes, vine-like curves, and use of lustrous colored bits of glazed ceramic all over the building.

The front façade reveals striking textures and imagery that work together to conjure thoughts of fairytales.

Capricho de Gaudi

Many people think that all of Gaudi’s masterpieces are in Barcelona. But that is not the case. One of his early works is the villa for the Marquis of the Cantabrian town of Comillas.

He employed an oriental style for this building. It is something you cannot find in his later work. But the building is left unfinished due to the owner’s eagerness to move in early.

Hercules Fountain

This fountain was forgotten until the 1980s. It was then it was rediscovered and restored. Gaudi designed the monument in the grounds of the Royal Palace of Pedralbes, at the time a residence for the Spanish Royal Family. The monument is shrouded by a bamboo grove.

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Thomas B.