Reflections on Barcelona (2)

Day 2 – La Pedrera Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAndrew Graham Dixon, a favourite art historian, produced a series called The Art of Spain back in 2010 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008wthr). There was no doubt for him of Gaudi’s importance, but he believes that the Sagrada Familia is being ruined by ‘Disney-like’ embellishments to the exterior. I am liable to disagree with him, and what’s more he did not actually go inside – at least for the programme – where those embellishments areAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH rendered somewhat irrelevant. However, he did say that La Pedrera (above left), Gaudi’s signature apartment block, was an architectural marvel. To demonstrate this, Graham-Dixon got himself invited into an apartment occupied by a long-time resident of the block (sixty years) to witness its unique charm. Those of us who visit without a film crew have to make do with visiting the show apartment featuring period furniture and state-of-the-art gadgets such as water heaters and bidets in the bathroom (right). Like the Sagrada Familia, light dominates the design and hence functionality of the Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHbuilding. Designed for rich-ish bourgeois families, theseAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH apartments keep the childrens’ rooms to the rear away from the sun and the street leaving the study, ‘drawing room’, master bedroom and lounge bathed in sunlight. The maid’s room, kitchen (right) share an inner-courtyard view with the children (below left). The show apartment features original wooden and tiled floors, exquisite art décor lamps, curious ceiling mouldings (below right) and unique door and cupboard handles said to have a unique Gaudi ergonomy. They are themselves objects of considerable beauty (below left). DSCF1064DSCF1061On arrival, visitors are sent immediately to the roof. This is an extraordinary space. The view across the city is a good enough reason to go; however, Gaudi saw chimneys and ventilation shafts as opportunities to introduce sculpture to his architectural creations. The roof then becomes an exclusive sculpture park. Andrew Graham-Dixon posited that it was curious that this celibate, frugal man (who was also a vegetarian, we discovered) should adorn his roof with sculptures of phallic and other sexual forms (below left). One could argue that it is difficult to make chimneys anything other than phallic. Surely? Whatever they represent, this is a roof like no other. Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHSome of the sculptures have trademark ceramic patterns, others are just plain stone (left). One then moves into the attic space (right). Originally this was the utility space for residents, but it nowAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH houses a wonderful exhibition detailing the history of the building, architectural influences (largely nature), method (similar to the cathedral using catenary arches) and furniture (Gaudi designed some extraordinary furniture for the apartments that were allegedly ergonomic). Day 3 – Park Güell.

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