La Rambla has played an important role in explaining the history of Gaudí and Barcelona.

Gaudí and Barcelona are two concepts that cannot be understood separately. If you search ‘Barcelona’ in Google, the first results that invade your screen are images of Park Güell, the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló. The architect achieved almost a century what many companies want today: create a brand image. It doesn’t matter where you are from: a yellow ‘m’ is related to hamburgers, an apple with iPhones and the work of Gaudí, with the Catalan capital.

This relationship between Gaudí and Barcelona would not have been possible if the artist had not been given an opportunity. Few people know it, but when he graduated from Barcelona’s School of Architecture, ​​he passed by a hair’s breadth. His first steps began in La Rambla, an attractive street to the greatest genius of history. If you want to understand his works, you need to start from this street. The route begins.

1. The streetlights of Plaza Real

They were one of the first assignments that Gaudí received after finishing his studies. In 1879 the City Council of Barcelona chose him to design the lampposts of Plaza Real and Pla del Pau, today two essential squares. Made with wrought iron and bronze, they represent the winged helmet of Mercury-Roman god of commerce-and two snakes coiled. Gaudí began to be known after this but he still needed a shot in the arm and a patron. They’d arrive soon.

farolas de la plaza real
The streetlights of Plaza Real (Barcelona).

2. Casa Vicens

Inaugurated in 1888, it is considered Gaudí’s first masterpiece. He was commissioned by Manuel Vicens i Montaner, exchange broker and stockbroker, who entrusted him to build his summer residence at Villa de Gràcia. Gaudí was going through his first artistic stage, the Orientalist (18883-1888), so he included in the building references to Indian, Persian and Japanese cultures as well as to Mudejar and Nasrid art. In 2005 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and in November it was opened to the public as a museum.

gaudí and barcelona
Source: Casa Vicens.


3. Palau Güell

During the 1878 Universal Exposition of Paris, Antoni Gaudí met Eusebi Güell, a Catalan industrialist who fell in love with his style so he became his patron. He entrusted the construction of an urban palace to expand the house he had in La Rambla. In the chimneys Gaudí tested the technique that would make him one of the most important architects of the 20th century: trencadis. The work ended in 1899 and was the first station of a road that would lead to success.

Museos de Barcelona.
Main entrance of Palau Güell.


4. Casa Batlló

Built between 1904 and 1906, it belongs to Gaudi’s naturalistic stage (early twentieth century), in which he learned how to transform the organic shapes of nature in entire buildings. Something revolutionary since he designed both the rooms and façade of Casa Batlló to tell the legend of Sant Jordi. A must visit if visiting Barcelona.

barcelona y gaudi
Source: Casa Batlló

5. Pedrera

Close to Casa Batlló there is Casa Milá, also known as La Pedrera. Built between 1906 and 1910, iIt was commissioned by Pere Milà i Camps, a wealthy Catalan businessman who wanted a large building to establish his main residence. The construction of La Pedrera caused polemic between the Mila family and the architect (because of the design and decoration of the rooms) and between these and the City Town since the building occupied more space than allowed. Moreover, when unveiled, society criticized the result.  Painter Salvador Dalí was one of the first people to defend the architect’s work. Today, it is an example of the artistic fullness of the father of Catalan Modernism.

Source: La Pedrera


6. Gaudi ‘sCrypt

Gaudí himself described this work as “a monumental model of the Sagrada Familia”, since he used this crypt to experiment with the techniques he’d use in his great masterpiece. It was built between 1898 and 1914 as part of the Colonia Güell (Santa Coloma de Cervelló, Barcelona). Eusebi Güell wanted to create an industrial colony for the workers of his factory. Unlike his fellow industrialists, he conceived a space to satisfy the religious and cultural concerns of the inhabitants. An atypical example of architecture considered the best kept secret of the artist.

Gaudi’s crypt.


7. Church of the Holy Family (Sagrada Familia)

The works of Gaudi’s culmination masterpiece began in 1882 and are expected to conclude in 2026, one century after the death of the architect. He knew he wouldn’t live to see it finished, so he proposed every part of the basilica to be built independently in order to show the architectural styles of different generations. The inside is designed following the shapes and lines of nature, which is reflected in the columns and the incredible stained glass windows that illuminate it. Gaudí loved creating buildings to tell stories and the Sagrada Familia is not an exception. The stunning exterior is a complete representation of the New Testament, with the classic scene of the nativity, four towers embodying the evangelists or Jesus on the Cross. Some theories suggest that the genius left clues to confirm his relationship with Freemasonry, although he already anticipated these theories by declaring that “Everyone finds his things in the temple: the peasants see chickens and roosters; scientists, the signs of the Zodiac; theologians, the genealogy of Jesus; but the explanation, the reasoning, is only known by the wise people and should not be vulgarized ».

barcelona in a weekend