Rosenberg Library hosted a traveling exhibit featuring artist and architect, Antoni Gaudi (1852 - 1926). Known as the “Dr. Seuss” of masonry, Gaudi’s whimsical and dreamlike structures remain a testament of one of the most original and memorable architects of all time. Designed especially for children and families, three lightweight reproduction panels explore his scientific technique which altered the direction of modern architecture.
Born in 1852 in Baix Camp, in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia Spain, Antoni was the first Gaudi in over four generations to leave the family tradition of metalworking. As a child and throughout life, Gaudi suffered from arthritis. Because of this, it was difficult for him to keep up his attendance at school, and instead he would spend much of his time walking and observing the various forms of nature. Later, Gaudi attended the Escola Pia in Reus. At this institution, he became a devoted Catholic, and incorporated many of these beliefs into the architecture of his work, Sagrada Familia.
In 1873, Gaudi moved to Barcelona to begin his architectural education at the Provincial School of Architecture. Although he did not have superior grades, he earned “excellent” marks in the courses of Trial Drawings and Projects where his drawings were perceived as the works of either an insane man or a genius. In February of 1878, he finished his architectural schooling and found support through Barcelona’s industrialists.
As an architect, Antoni was influenced by many things. He found inspiration for his work within medieval books, in Gothic and Moorish-style art, from historic monuments, and from his personal interest in music. It was also his love of nature which encouraged his unrestrained and total disregard for straight lines and right angles.
Antoni Gaudi’s first major project as a professional architect was worker’s housing in the Coopertiva Mataronese factory. This project was presented at the Paris World Fair in 1878 and was seen as the beginning of his fame. Thereafter, he worked with the architect Martorell on projects such as the Gilbert Pharmacy in Barcelona and the Sagrada Familia.
The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, often simply called Sagrada Familia, is a massive, privately-funded Roman Catholic church that has been under construction since 1882 and is not expected to be completed until at least 2026. Gaudi took control over the building of the Sagrada Familia in 1883. He was required to build a scale model of his vision and used thousands of small weights to prove that his creation would not collapse. He spent forty-three years of his life working on that project, even up until the day of his death.
In addition to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s created other architectural masterpieces such as the Palau Guell and the Palacio de Astorga. Additionally, Gaudi worked on many other projects throughout Barcelona; two being the Casa Batllo and La Pedrera, both located on the Passeig de Gracia.
Before his death on June 7, 1926, Gaudi enjoyed great popularity as his fanciful works were becoming universally famous. He stands as one of history’s most unique architects. His works are the finest examples of architecture as art.