Thursday, February 7, 2013

A WORLD HERITAGE SITE : Antoni Gaudí's Parc Güell (1)

Seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) in or near Barcelona testify to Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 
These monuments represent an eclectic, as well as a very personal, style which was given free reign in the design of gardens, sculpture and all decorative arts, as well as architecture. The seven buildings are: Casa Vicens; Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; Crypt in Colonia Güell. 

Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012

The works of Antoni Gaudí represent a series of outstanding examples of the building typology in the architecture of the early 20th century, residential as well as public, to the development of which he made a significant and creative contribution. It is, furthermore, an outstanding and well-preserved example of the ideal garden cities dreamed of by the urbanists of the end of the 19th century. It exhibits an important interchange of values closely associated with the cultural and artistic currents of his time, as represented in El Modernisme of Catalonia. It anticipated and influenced many of the forms and techniques that were relevant to the development of modern construction in the 20th century.

Park Güell (Catalan: Parc Güell [ˈparɡ ˈɡweʎ]) is a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. It has an extension of 17.18 ha (0.1718 km²), which makes it one of the largest architectural works in south Europe. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí"

Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012

Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012

The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, whom the park was named after. It was inspired by the English garden city movement; hence the original English name Park (in the Catalan language spoken in Catalonia where Barcelona is located, the word for "Park" is "Parc", and the name of the place is "Parc Güell" in its original language). 

Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012

The site was a rocky hill with little vegetation and few trees, called Muntanya Pelada (Bare Mountain). It already included a large country house called Larrard House or Muntaner de Dalt House, and was next to a neighborhood of upper class houses called La Salut (The Health).

Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012

The intention was to exploit the fresh air (well away from smoky factories) and beautiful views from the site, with sixty triangular lots being provided for luxury houses. Count Eusebi Güell added to the prestige of the development by moving in 1906 to live in Larrard House.

Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012

Ultimately, only two houses were built, neither designed by Gaudí. One was intended to be a show house, but on being completed in 1904 was put up for sale, and as no buyers came forward, Gaudí, at Güell's suggestion, bought it with his savings and moved in with his family and his father in 1906.

Third fountain at the entrance with the dragon  (Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012)

The entrance to Park Guell was designed by Antoni Gaudi between 1900 and 1914. 

It has since been converted into a municipal garden. It can be reached by underground railway (although the stations are at a distance from the Park and at a much lower level below the hill), by city buses, or by commercial tourist buses.

Due to park Güell's location and size you'll need to schedule at least half a day for a visit to Güell park but it will be well worth the visit.

(Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012)

While entrance to the Park is free, Gaudí's house, "la Torre Rosa," — containing furniture that he designed — can be only visited for an entrance fee. There is a reduced rate for those wishing to see both Park Güell and the Sagrada Família Church.

(Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012)

Doric columns support the roof of the lower court which forms the central terrace, with serpentine seating round its edge.

(Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012)

Gaudi’s lizard fountain in Park Güell has become a symbol of Barcelona, Spain. The colourful mosaic tiles draw crowds to this unique urban park.

Gaudí's multicolored mosaic salamander, popularly known as "el drac" (the dragon), at the main entrance, prior to vandalism early in 2007.

Gaudí dragon fountain that is at the entrance to Güell park. This dragon is adorned in beautiful coloured tiling and there is something rather hypnotic and magical about it.

Eusebi Guell bought a large farm in the "Muntaya Pelada", Gracia. He wanted to build a Garden-city, the works were commissioned to Antonio Gaudí. But they can only sell three parcels, and the work was stopped in 1914 because it had been a failure.
Today the structures are designed to community services, entering the square, the Hipóstila Chamber ...
It was opened to the public in 1926 as a park for its beauty. In 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

(Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012)

The Park Guell was formed with the joining of two areas "Can Muntaner de Dalt" and "Can Coll i Pujol", in the "Muntanya Pelada" (today muntanya del Caramel), purchased by Count Güell the year 1899.

One of Gaudí's unique tiles in Parc Güell. (Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012)

(Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012)

The focal point of the park is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. The curves of the serpent bench form a number of enclaves, creating a more social atmosphere. Gaudí incorporated many motifs of Catalan nationalism, and elements from religious mysticism and ancient poetry, into the Park.

Doric columns support the roof of the lower court which forms the central terrace, with serpentine seating round its edge.  (Photo: M.Tuncer, 2012)

Ceiling Mosaic in the Hypostyle Room, Park Güell, Barcelona ..

Another of Gaudí's Tiled Mosaics on the ceiling.

Gaudi conceived as a religious sense at the same time as organic and urban, and using the 60 meters of gap which has the mountain (the height ranges between 150 and 210 meters respect the sea) to project a path of spiritual elevation, placing in its top a chapel, but it was never built, in place that currently holds the monument to Calvary (or Turó de les tres creus).

His structures echo natural forms, with columns like tree trunks supporting branching vaulting under the roadway, and the curves of vaulting and alignment of sloping columns designed in a similar way to his Church of Colònia Güell so that the inverted catenary arch shapes form perfect compression structures.

Antoni Gaudí Güell Park - mosaic seating area adorned with multi-coloured tiles

See A WORLD HERITAGE SITE : Antoni Gaudí's Parc Güell (2)

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