About Me

Llantwit Major, Wales, United Kingdom
I am mother, librarian, avid reader, sf fan, writer (unpubished), singer(amateur), animal lover, needlewoman.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Lizard in Parc Guell
Plant like chimney
Tree like supports for the park paths

Gaudi was an extraordinary architect. His work was, and is, quite original.

Looking at his work you wonder why he became an architect. Someone with such a passion for the natural world might have become a gardener, a horticulturalist something like that instead of an architect. Someone who worked with natural things instead of with concrete and metal, who grew things instead of building them, a person who watched the natural process of growth instead of planning it in a building.

His buildings, whether you look at the huge church, the park, or the apartment buildings, are curves and look like something growing in a tropical jungle, riotous and seemingly random. Bit they aren't. The display in the Sagrada familia shows the influence of the natural world which you can see in the photos above - pillars that look like trees, chimneys that look like plant stamens, plus the flowers and animals that riot everywhere, the curves instead of straight lines. But it also shows the maths which he used to create it. When I was at school we did curve stitching - using straight lines which together made curves, and many of Gaudi's effects are done the same way. Many of his buildings could only be built using reinforced concrete with a designer who has a superb grasp of exploiting the possibilities of mathematical shapes.

You also have to think about the courage of the people who commissioned his work. Barcelona at the time seemed to have a group of people with the imagination to create truly original work, but they also had planners who let them build those buildings, and people with the money, the imagination and the faith to let those architects loose.

Would he be able to build those buildings now?

Probably not.

The combination of planning restrictions, commercial pressures, and perhaps a failure of imagination would probably mean that his works would exist only on paper.

What a loss that would be.


Boo and Trev said...

I'm sorry to be vulgar but that second picture reminds me of something other than a plant! Glad you had a lovely time

Helen said...

I know!! And there are lots of them if you look because plants are so very graphic, but you don't usually notice because the scale is so much smaller.