Rooftop of Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, SpainYou can’t visit Barcelona and not get a glimpse of the works of Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), the city’s famous architect who defied conventional design but now defines Barcelona’s modernist architecture. Gaudi and his works have become entwined to Barcelona’s identity and inspired cults said to be bigger than Picasso’s.  When I first visited Barcelona in the 1990’s,  my impression of Gaudi’s works was “eclectic, whimsy, fun.” I appreciated them on a surface but never really comprehended them. During the recent trip, I  revisited some of his architectural landmarks with Keith and together we gained deeper understanding and appreciation of his works.



Gaudi's La Sagrada de Familia, Barcelona, SpainThe enormous Basilica of La Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) is Gaudi’s most famous work. Its design described as “neo-gothic-but-not-really” was criticized as not appropriate for a basilica, but today it draws praise and the most number of visitors among monuments throughout Spain. La Sagrada  Familia and six other works of Gaudi have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Gaudi's Sagrada de Familia, Barcelona, SpainThe enormity of the project and dependence on donated funds made the construction of  La Sagrada Famila really slow. It was started in 1882 and still is under construction.  The projected completion date keeps changing, but the recent projection is 2026.

Ceiling of Gaudi's Sagrada de Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Gaudi’s designs at first glance may look eclectic, but we learned that if you look closer you find that his designs are actually inspired by nature and full of organic elements. The nave in La Sagrada Familia are dominated by columns that imitate tree-trunks and the patterns of plant growth giving a sense of being under a canopy of magnificent forest.  

Gaudi's Sagrada de Familia, Barcelona, SpainDesign embellishments inspired by shapes of flowers, fruits, seashells and other natural forms can be seen throughout the buildings. Gaudi’s design also allows a generous flow of natural light into the building.

 “Nothing in the world has been invented. The act of inventing consists in seeing what God has placed before the eyes of all humanity.” – Gaudi

A cross in Gaudi's Sagrada de Familia, Barcelona, SpainAside from love of nature, Gaudi was also inspired by his deep passion for religion in designing La Sagrada Familia. The façades of the church depict the life of Christ.

Gaudi's Sagrada de Familia, Barcelona, Spain

“A church is the only thing worthy of representing the feelings of a people, for religion is the highest thing in people.” Gaudí

Gaudi's Sagrada de Familia, Barcelona, SpainThe view of La Sagrada Familia from the rooftop of Casa Mila, another one of Gaudi’s masterpiece.



Facade of Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

One of Gaudi’s masterpieces is Casa Battlo, a house he restored for a wealthy Gattlo family in the early 1900’s.  Its facade is a joyful spectacle full of fantasy, organic elements, symbols and colors.

Terraces of Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, SpainThe balconies are designed in shape of a mask.

Facade of Guadi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, SpainThe pillars that surround the lower windows are shaped like bones giving the house a nickname “A house of bone.”  The green and blue mosaics are reminiscent of the ocean.

Windows of Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, SpainThe interior of the house was designed to give a sense of being under the ocean. The shape of the windows and doos are inspired by waves and the stained glass design are inspired colorful corals and other marine life.Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain-

Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, SpainThe ceiling and scone represents whirlpool as seen from under the sea.

Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, SpainGaudí designed this central lightwell to give a sense of being in the depth of the sea looking up into the light.

Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

Some of marine allusions on the wall.

These cantenary archways in the attics seem to evoke a  rib cage of a whale. Or is it a ribcage of the dragon in the rooftop?

Rooftop of Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, SpainThe colorful scaled structure in the roof evokes a skin of reptile.  It is said to represent a dragon’s back.

Rooftop of Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

The turrets with a cross is said to represent a sword of St. George (patron saint of Catalan) piercing the dragon’s back.

 Rooftop of Gaudi's Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

 The claws of the dragon function as chimneys of the building.

CASA MILA (also known as CASA PEDRERA)

Facade of Gaudi's Casa Mila (Casa Pedrera), Barcelona SpainImpressed with Casa Gatlo, wealthy businessman Pedro Mila commissiond Gaudi to design this apartment building. It is the second most visited Gaudi building next to La Sagrada Familia.

Gate of Gaudi's Casa Mila (Casa Pedrera), Barcelona SpainThe web-like gate of Casa Mila.

Gaudi's Casa Mila (Casa Pedrera), Barcelona Spain

Casa Mila is said to be an ode to organic, expressionistic architecture. It does not contain a  single line. Its design is ahead of its time. Gaudi did not use conventional weight bearing walls in this construction, instead he used steel, arches and pillars to form circular design.

Gaudi's Casa Mila (Casa Pedrera), Barcelona Spain


Gaudi's Casa Mila (Casa Pedrera), Barcelona Spain

 Gaudi designed the arches in Casa Mila based on this upside down model he created.

Rooftop of Gaudi's Casa Mila (Casa Pedrera), Barcelona SpainThe playful design of the roof of Casa Mila features chimneys that twist in surrealistic forms.

Rooftop of Gaudi's Casa Mila (Casa Pedrera), Barcelona SpainThese chimneys in Casa Mila were said to inspire George Lucas during his visit to Barcelona in the 1970’s to design the stormtrooper helmets in Star Wars movie.

Gaudi's Casa Mila (Casa Pedrera), Barcelona Spain



Catalan industrialist Eusebio Guell commission Gaudi in 1900 to design a private park as part of the residential garden village project for Barcelona’s elite.  The housing project failed and the colorful, fanciful park eventually opened to the public in 1922.

Lizard, Gaudi's Parc Guell, Barcelona, SpainThe colorful tiled lizard that greet the visitors at the entrance of the park.

Gaudi's Parc Guell, Barcelona, SpainThe pavilion with its beautiful columns and colorful tiled ceiling. The columns do not only serve as ornaments and foundation, they also function as drainage for the plaza above it.

Gaudi's Parc Guell, Barcelona, SpainThe pavilion’s rooftop serves as the main plaza of the park and is surrounded with serpent-like bench accentuated with colorful mosaic tiles.

Parc Guell, Barcelona, SpainApparently, the ergonomic bench is also designed for good napping.

The colorful benches and the turret with a cross.

Gaudi's Parc Guell, Barcelona, SpainEnjoying the whimsical park with a beautiful vista of the city.

 View of Barcelona from Gaudi's Parc Guell, Barcelona, SpainThe panorama of Barcelona from Parc Guell. La Sagrada familia can be seen on the left.

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31 responses to “Barcelona Part 2: Understanding Gaudi

  1. craig simone

    I’m always curious about Gaudi and his works. Thanks for showing and telling me more about him and his works. Really nice, fun photos.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Craig, you;re welcome. We’re glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Danica Moran

    I love Gaudi’s work. Glad you got him. He may seem strange but you’ll love him once you get to understand him. Thanks for the wonderful pics of his work.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Dani, totally love his works! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  3. Kira

    Nice shot of Guadi’s works and facts. Very enjoyable post.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Kira, thanks!

  4. Carrie Sieber

    Very interesting. Not ttoo familiar with Gaudi. I enjoyed seeing his works and learning about him.

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Carrie, He and his works are truly interesting. We’re glad you appreciate his work.

  5. Kathryn

    What glorious photos! Looking forward to discovering more while I wander through your blog.
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    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Kat, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Aleah, Definitely check out his works when you visit Barcelona. Yes, that’s a good description of La Sagrada!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Gregory, thanks! Nice compliment from a photo enthusiast.

      • Roxy


    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Henry, it’s our pleasure. We’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy Gaudi’s work. We hope you get to see them soon.

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  10. The designs are just breathtaking, I wish I could look closely into it. Barcelona is the best example of a rich city in terms of architectural inspiration.

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