- Antoni Gaudí and his influence to modern architecture
Antoni Gaudí and his influence to modern architecture
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, known as the "most ingenious of all
architects", was born in 1852 in Spain and died in 1926.
Gaudí was a member of the Centre Excursionista, a
club that organised pilgrims to the historical sites of the once
glorious past of Catalonia, and his works were most celebrated by
the Renaixença, the quest for a Catalan unique identity
and national independence.
However, Gaudí's international fame as a visionary was
established for another reason. According to Curtis (1982 p.
29), Gaudí is one of the most curious and original architects of
the past two hundred years. The most influential elements of
Gaudí's work are the incorporation of the natural environment to
the urban habitat, and the pioneering approach to the building as a
vital part of the city and as a plastic site of interaction between
the rational and the romantic. In the renowned works of Casa
Milá, Park Güell, and Sagrada Família, Gaudí has creatively
interwoven the private with the public, explored his vision of the
modern city, and confessed the anxiety of modern life.
Even so, Gaudí's works tend towards eclecticism and exclusion,
since their elaborated designs spurn standardised mass production
and are made to be enjoyed by the privileged few. For
instance, Park Güell may counterbalance the increasing
industrialisation of the cities (Zerbst, 1997 p. 140-1); however,
this seems a highly individualistic measure, suggesting a private
bubble of elitist security and isolation rather than aspiring to
the transformation of society as a whole.
All the same, Gaudí has changed our understanding of
architecture because he has skilfully managed to give language and
shape to utter spatial fantasy, while at the same time paying
attention to the deeper structures and transformative forces.
The harmony and variety of curves and overlapping surfaces
found in Gaudí's work attain a fluidity of neutral forms, and
sublimate architectural experience to the realm of the surreal.
The endless interplay between the building and its
surroundings and the elaborated façades that project into the
interior of living spaces transform what we experience and inhabit
into a tangible vision of a peaceful co-existence between nature
and the city.