Gaudi’s work in Barcelona

“Gaudí’s work exhibits an important interchange of values closely associated with the cultural and artistic currents of his time, as represented in Catalonian Modernism.”   – Unesco

The Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi has taken many of his ideas from different cultures and nature. An example of this are the heaters that are based on the gills of a fish because they move they can let through air, making sure that the fish stays at an optimum temperature. Not only this but also the roof of the house is based on the scale of the fish.

I went to Barcelona a year ago and I can personally tell you that the buildings are a must-see. You will be amazed by the ordinary colours and shapes, which create construction’s that are internationally known from Gaudi’s work. When I went there I visited all the famous attractions: Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batllo and Casa Milá. With this new app, created by the Gaudi Orginasation, I was able to walk around and find out what every little detail meant and was inspired on, and why it was made that way by the architect. This made the experience way more interesting to me.  (Sadly, though, my own pictures have been destroyed. Therefore pictures chosen have been taken from the internet.)

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Casa Batllo – Sergio TB

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Snake Bench at park Guell – offtoeurope

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Casa Milá’s rooftop – Europeanfotos

Gaudi has played an important role in the cultural identity of Barcelona. He designed several distinct buildings and a park in Barcelona. Casa Batllo was a renovation project but because of the shape, vibrant colours and extensive façade of ceramics and mosaics, it is one of Gaudi’s best-known projects. Park Güell is another example of how his distinctive style can even be seen in benches and porticoes. One of the benches is a giant snake which is a cultural link to the snake in the garden of Eden and Eve. Gaudi travelled a lot to come widen his knowledge and inspiration. He travelled around in Morocco to examine for a project that he was requested to design for the Franciscan Catholic Mission. A result of this cultural inspiration can be seen in Casa Milá’s rooftop. The designs that function as chimney’s and extra decorations, the caves, abstract soldier faces and colours of the sand from Moroccan Berber style.

Sagrada Familia

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Sagrada Familia – 

 

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Ceiling from Sagrada Familia 

Another building, the most famous one called Sagrada Familia was heavily based on the Christian believe. Gaudi was a Christian in the 1880’s when he started creating, sketching and building his ideas. In some kind of way, Gaudi’s work was a silent protest because he wanted to incorporate his Catalans background into his work to defence the cultural identity of the Catalan people, who were at that time forbidden to be educated in Catalan Spanish, due to regulations in Madrid. Many embassies and biblical stories are hidden in the details of the facades.

Sagrada Familia has been based on the four seasons of nature that are shown inside the church. On the ceiling, you can spot branches of trees, flowers and different times of the sun in a day. The seasons – and nature in general – are shown in all Gaudi’s works, which gives it this unique and spectacular feeling and sight.

 

 

 

The Port House by Zaha Hadid in Antwerp

Anytime when going to Antwerp you see this huge, obscure, reflecting building crossing over the water. This is the Port House, set up in Atum 2016, in Antwerp, located on Het Eilandje, made by the Zaha Hadid Architecture firm, a cultural architect. A new design has been made, reinforcing the original port house station is a massive spectacular volume. The design has been placed in such a way that it can be viewed from many different angles in the city. It is held together by two huge pillars and covers the New Port House. The entire top part is made out of transparent and/or reflecting glass pieces. The reflecting pieces state the mood and tone of the locating and day. For example at sunset, the building reflects a golden glow, which welcomes its visitors in an enthusiastic and warm way. But, just before night-time the building becomes more silver and shows a calmer tone to the city. Whatever the colour is in the air, will be the colour reflected on the outside of the volume of the building. (if you would like to see a time-lapse of the Port House in a day you can watch this video.

Because it is totally made out of glass, the sun is able to enter the inside of the building, which makes working there much more natural in terms of lighting. When you stand inside of the building you can see the water from every angle. Zaha Hadid has designed the building this way to clearly state the purpose of the Port House.

Port House in the evening – Zaha Hadid official site 

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The port House at sunset  – itsliquid

The Port House was built for several reasons. One of these was to expand the original port house that lacked working space. Over 500 people can now work in the building, which also includes an underground parking for 300 cars.

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Design of the long section – archdaily

In the picture above a blueprint of the New Port House is seen, showing how the New port House is connected to the original one. As you can see, the main pillar goes through the original port House, through the medium of an elevator and stairs so you can access the new one. The other pillar is connected to the underground parking. The New port House has four stories, which make up the long structure of the building, overlapping the original house and giving more volume to the construction. Since this architect has created a lot of cultural constructions, it was a habit and an expected step for her to dig deep into the history, site, and purpose of the port of Antwerp, resulting in the unique structure that the construction holds right now.

Project data:
Total Floor Area:
12,800 square metres
(6,600 square metres in the refurbished fire station)
(6,200 square metres in the new extension)

The Grand Palace from Bangkok, Thailand

When I visited Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, I, of course, had to pass by the Grand Palace.  Not only because it was recommended to me so many times, but also because I had been there once before. Because my family and I loved it so much we just HAD to go again. So, in the little time, we had (we only stayed in Bangkok for a day) early in the morning, we quickly stopped by and visited the main area of the grand Palace, all in stress to make sure we would still catch our next flight to our next destination. Even though I had been there before, I was still as dumbfounded as the first time, except now I was older and felt more fascinated. We didn’t have time to get a tour guide, but I eavesdropped by a group of Americans who were listening to a little Thai woman talking about the architecture and I got interested.

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The roofs of some of the grand palace

The Grand Palace of Bangkok’s construction started in 1782 due to the idea of King Rama the first to honour the Chakri Dynasty by building a new royal palace. Until 1925 it was the home of the royal family. Until it became a tourist attraction, the place never stopped developing. As the royal family changed, new constructions were built and new things were added to the already standing temples.

Since the Grand Palace is based on the Buddhist religion, there are trades from India and China seen in the designs. Examples of this are are the roofs of the palace, based on the Chinese’s roofs that overlap a bit further than the roof really goes, hanging down and holding on to other particular shapes attached to the outstanding part of the roofs. (Shown in picture 1) Not only this but also images of Chinese soldiers and Indian goddesses/gods are engraved in the temples, showing more of the history and relationships with the other countries. Not only is this seen, but also the country’s relationship amongst nature, including the four elements and specific flowers such as the lotus flower are seen. The lotus flower is placed in golden bowls filled with water. The flower stands for good luck and self-growth spoke about in Buddhism. Tourists are allowed to take one of the lotus’ out of the water bowl and touch their head with the head of the flower for good luck.

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Lotus flowers in a pond next to one of the temples

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Lotus flower and incense at the entrance for a blessing. This is only for locals

The Thai architecture can be categorised in three different categories. These are; temple and shrine architecture, palace architecture and traditional Thai house architecture. The first two are discovered in the Grand Palace, but also trades of the third one are seen in the little temples surrounding the palace. The variation of rich colours and details are famous in the country’s culture due to the money and time spend.

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Golden Chinese warriors on the foot of the temple

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A Buddha statue set on every corner of templeMosaic details

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(made of clay)

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Details of mosaic made of glass, giving a shining effect

The gold seen in almost every picture represents the royalty, prosperity and wealth of the country. In a religious perspective the colour is connected to the power of the sun and gods and goddesses, illuminating its warm colour, empowering the love from the deepest of darkness. When the sun shines on the golden tiles, the sun reflects back on them. This has been told to represent self-reflection, showing confidence and being one with yourself, so you are able to respect and accept the ones around you. Another prominent feature is the mosaic. The mosaic is shown in a huge variety of colours, made from clay or glass. They give another vision of the masterpieces. They show how long it took the construct the Grand Palace, which tourists from all around the world still respect now. 

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Golden temple totally made out of gold mosaic

(All images are taken by me)