K and I just celebrated (a little early) our 11-year anniversary by taking a Mediterranean trip to Barcelona, Provence, French Riviera, Italian Riviera and Milan.
This trip was a good few months in the making and Barcelona and Guadi’s architecture that is scattered around the city was definitely one of the highlights. I had visited Barcelona back in 2007 and had fallen in love with this Bohemian city and specifically with Gaudi. Spending time in this city then was what made me realize my love for photographing architecture. It was K’s first time in the city and fortunately for me, he got addicted to Gaudi as well and was just as excited as I was to see many of Gaudi’s buildings including Sagrada Família, La Pedrera (Casa Mila), Casa Batllo, Palau Guell, and Park Guell. The upcoming set of blogs will cover my obsession with Guadi!
Antoni Gaudi was a Catalan architect and a figurehead of the modernist movement. Taking a look at his architecture, it’s easy to infer his obsession with innovation in architecture and his inspiration stemming from religion and nature. La Segrada Familia is located in the middle of a very urban neighborhood and to some could seem like a monstrosity. In 1882, construction on this church had commenced and by the time Gaudi passed away in 1926, only a quarter of the basilica was created. Until this day, this magnificent building is still under construction and it’s hard to photograph any part of the outside without seeing cranes and scaffolding surrounding the structure. It’s not set to be complete until 2040 or so which I hope that one day I could come back to see complete.
The outside of the church is full of biblical imagery and detail which is not very dissimilar to other Basilicas. This is a sharp contrast to the inside of the church which is supposed to resemble a forest with trees as seen the minute you glance at the columns and very ornate ceiling covering the inside.
As you stand inside, you’re reminded of your smallness in the world, similar to when standing in a big forest. Reminds me of being in the Redwoods! It’s a really special structure and to be able to evoke that sensation through something manmade is really amazing.
What I really love about this church is that it doesn’t evoke feelings of darkness and hollowness that to me always seems to be the case with many structures with similar purpose. There’s a great deal of light that flows in and the materials towards the top of the building are all lighter in color creating a feeling of levity and openness.
It is no surprise that Gaudi incorporated many elements from Islamic architecture including the uses of arcs which you see scattered in many of his buildings (as well as here).
But what is really spectacular in La Sagrada Familia are the stunning colored glass windows that create an atmosphere in the Basilica unlike any other. These windows are designed to cast contrasting hallows of light in the spaces around them. It’s what I think makes this space very unique.