Antoni Gaudí was born in Reus, Spain, in 1852, and tragically died on June 10, 1926, in Barcelona. He was the maximum representative of Catalan architectural modernism, which emerged at the end of the 19th century, so named because in that place on the Iberian Peninsula it acquired a very particular style, exuberant, sumptuous, based on a new concept of construction, oriented towards being a renewed and modern expression, opposed to the industrial architecture of the early nineteenth century, which is why it looks for new forms in nature, in plant and animal shapes, organic, such as birds, butterflies, leaves and flowers, as decorative elements (1) (2).
In this architectural style curved lines predominate; fusion of elements of exotic or ancient architectural styles such as Gothic and Islamic architecture, for example; It is also characterized by the use of new materials such as glass, wrought iron, waste ceramics, tile, wood, among others.
In modernist architecture there were two currents, one rationalist and the other irrationalist, current in which Gaudí stood out, whose work is characterized by a marked personal stamp, unique, where he integrates and synthesizes arts and crafts. His vision of architecture as a whole led him to work together with other architects, builders, painters, sculptors, potters, locksmiths, decorators, plasterers, blacksmiths, carpenters, marble workers, glass workers, wrought iron workers and foundrymen; all under his attentive and demanding supervision.
Gaudí is considered an unprecedented genius. Because of the original solutions and his particular way of working architecture, history have considered him an irreverent of architecture. His inventiveness and special handling of shapes make him a great creator; his extraordinary handling of structures, his imaginative use of materials and his sense of decoration make him an extraordinary master of Catalan architectural modernism. He had his own sense of geometry and volume, which he applied with great imagination and creativity, and allowed him to create amazing works. He imprinted dynamism, movement to his constructions, breaking the rigidity of the straight line through the use of curved, sinuous, hyperboloid and helical shapes.
Gaudí transcended his geography and his time. Today he is recognized worldwide. Even seven of his architectural works have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, who argues that his works “testify Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and construction technology at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century”.
Interestingly, one of his biographers says that the director of the ETSAB Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, when he awarded Gaudí the title of architect in 1878, said: “We have given the title to a madman or a genius, time will tell”, And, precisely, time has said it. His architectural works speak of his genius.
Unfortunately, on June 7, 1926, Gaudí was run over by a tram, leaving him lying on the track, unconscious. Because of his sloppy appearance, dressed in worn clothes and bearded, people didn’t recognize him, they didn’t know that he was the great architect; they thought he was a beggar, which is why he wasn’t treated immediately, but a long time later a civil guard had him transferred to the hospital, where he died on June 10. However, his funeral was attended by many people. His remains rest in the chapel of the Sagrada Familia (3), one of his most emblematic and most visited architectural works in Spain, whose tombstone reads at the end: “…here the ashes of such a great man await the resurrection of the dead”.