Barcelona - Gaudi is not Gaudy

Before vacationing in Barcelona I’d never heard of Gaudi, a Catalan architect considered a master of Modernism. If you’d asked me what Gaudi meant to me, I would have said it meant “excessively showy” (as in “gaudy”, which ironically is not related to Gaudi since the use of the term, “gaudy” dates back to the 1500s.)
Cassa Milla/ La Pedrera 

It has been called "A great petrified wave". This building was commisiioned by Pere Mila and his wife to be used as apartments and a family home. This was built when Gaudi was 54 at the height of his career and was declared a UNESCO Heritage site in 1984.

What makes Casa Mila a genuine architectural masterpiece is the fact that there are no load bearing walls; the building, including the fa├žade, is supported by a structure of columns and curved iron beams surrounding an open courtyard from the lobby to the attic.

I especially loved how his floor plans and designs optimized light and ventilation. 

The unusual room with an undulationg shapes cleverly mask ventilation shafts and chimneys 

Gaudi rarely drew his buildings, preferring to model them in clay. But what I really found interesting was Gaudi’s use of hanging chains as he designed. For instance, in order to visualize the forces gravity would have on his buildings, Gaudi would hang weighted chains upside down in a model of the building. In this way, he could see where the building needed to be structurally sound. It may be hard to see in this photo, but hopefully you get the general idea:

Casa Battlo

There isn’t one straight angle to be found inside Casa Battlo. Every door, window frame, wall, staircase or hallway is curvy, and meant to provide a maritime feeling with waves of peaceful color and sensation. The staircase wraps itself around a central elevator, with empty wells of light on either side, supplying light to the entire building.

I'm not generally hugely impressed by architecture but something about Gaudi's work was incredibly inspiring to me.  I love that he designed using nature as a guide and he was always creativley  designing to enhance the natural light and ventilation.  I would highly recommend visiting a few of his masterpieces while in Barcelona. 

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