The 20th century marked the age of Modernism. This cultural movement was ingrained in expressions of art, thinking and architecture. Responsible for the tremendous transformation of Barcelona, Modernism embodies a pause between the past and the present pursuance of novelty. Its style is identified in the exertion of curved lines, asymmetry, energetic forms, plant motifs and an assimilation of the functional and aesthetic; incorporating the use of new materials and traditional components. Antonio Gaudi’s work became a prime advocate of this movement.
“Nothing is art if it does not come from nature…”
– Antoni Gaudi
Biomimetic architecture characterises the components in Gaudi’s nature-influenced work. Mesmerised by geometry and the natural forms of the Catalonian countryside from a young age, Gaudi ultimately produced his own style, a blend of modernism, neo-Gothicism and art nouveau. To him, form and function were intertwined in governing nature. One of Gaudi’s most remarkable and well-known phrases insinuates the continuous cycle of returning to nature and god.
“Originality is returning to the origin.”
– Antoni Gaudi
The impressive Sagrada Familia embodies the climax of his career. Many of Gaudi’s previous style of works aided in the development of the frameworks and techniques used in the Sagrada Familia, of which he mastered through working on this project. Unfortunately he would never live to see it finished.
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Casa Batlló | Photography by David Cardelús
The influence from nature is expressed in his architectural works through cone shapes, curved forms and arches, pillars resembling plants or bones, spiral sea shell stairways.
Nature inspired adornments are infused into honeycomb gates, friezes in the shape of vines, windows in the shape and structure of cells and organisms, and apexes in the form of 3-dimensional array of crystals and grass components.
Besides flourishing his works, nature was an important distinction and element in Gaudi’s works. The functional constructions gained from emulating nature’s blueprints, meant building strong steadfast structures with the least materials was possible.
In 1884, Gaudí transformed the pavilions of the Güell Estate in suburban Barcelona. The colourful garden city is an established masterpiece created with absolute creative liberty.
The vibrancy of his work in Barcelona is still greatly appreciated today. The kaleidoscopic expressionism of natural structures communicated through Gaudi’s work, transforms the most simple of places and buildings into a celebration of life.”References”
https://www.casabatllo.es/en/history/barcelona-modernism/ [Accessed on 12/09/16]
National Geographic (2010) – The Big Idea: Biomimetic Architecture [Online] Available at
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/12/big-idea/gaudi-text/2 [Accessed on 12/09/16]
The Third Ray (2011) – Our relationships to nature – Gaudi’s Architecture [Online] Available at
http://www.thethirdray.com/sculpture/our-relationships-to-nature-gaudis-architecture/ [Accessed on 12/09/16]
This Big City (2010) – Gaudi’s Masterpiece: Nature-Inspired Architecture [Online] Available at
http://thisbigcity.net/gaudis-masterpiece-nature-inspired-architecture/ [Accessed on 12/09/16]
The Culture Concept Circle (2015) – Antoni Gaudi – Responding to Nature: A ‘Nut or a Genius’? [Online] Available at
http://www.thecultureconcept.com/antoni-gaudi-responding-to-nature-a-nut-or-a-genius [Accessed on 12/09/16]
SCEPTRE (2015) – All about Antoni Gaudi [Online] Available at
http://sceptreblog.com/destinations/spain/all-about-antoni-gaudi/ [Accessed on 19/09/16]
Written by Christina Lau.
Edited by Sonia Wan