Architect: Antoni Gaudí

A Spanish architect who made the designs for the Sagrada Família in Barcelona. I realised I need to look at cathedral architecture more closely if I am to base my sculptures on them.

I listened to a podcast episode on the Sagrada Familia and how Gaudi came to design it. It discussed how Gaudi was very inspired by perfect structures in nature such as the tree, this was because he believed all these objects had been perfectly designed by God, and so he should use these shapes in his Cathedral to celebrate God’s designs.

Book: Solà-Morales, & Gaudi, Antonio, 1984. Gaudi, Barcelona: Poligrafa.

I picked this one because it includes lots of photos of Gaudi’s sketches and finished works, I want to know what else he designed and how his sketches translate to a finished work.

An essay the beginning of the book describes Barcelona at the time Gaudi started designing the Sagrada Familia:

Any relationship with nature had become difficult and remote, while the dynamism of the urban world was chaotic in its constant change. All security and order seemed to have vanished, giving place to an aggressive, competitive atmosphere, in which no amount of decorative magnificence could conceal the disturbing presence of the uncontrollable, the irrational and the contradictory.


This is interesting – the link between Gaudi’s architecture, nature and (urban) society.

Gaudi’s plans for a hotel in New Yorks towards the end of his life are magnificent! This incredible dome shape at the centre with smaller domes around it. Inside great cavernous rooms with dendriform shapes throughout. If it was ever built it would have been monumental.
The dome shape of the building is similar in style to my structures – in their tall height and dome shaped top.

On p.26 there is an amazing image of scale models for the Chapel of the Colonia Guell (which was built). These models look SO LIKE the ink structures I was making last term!!! A link to a similar image online:
The finished chapel doesn’t have quite the same dramatic structures as the model, but you can still see the dendriforms and canopy shape.

The idea of centralism is Gaudi’s spaces was a theme which grew to be more insistent as his architecture matured. However, the centre which his forms of architecture needed to specify was not, according to academic tradition, a geometric site defined by abstract symmetry. On the contrary, his utilisation of space is the result of an effort to aim programmes and structures in the direction of that cosmic and stable order which a centre has represented in almost all cultures. For Gaudi, the church had to be the site of centralism and of hierarchy.


Gaudi’s buildings as living organisms.

Gaudi was always interested in “the vertical development” of his buildings.

‘Parabolic dome’ the dome shape I made in my clay sculpture. Turns out there are lots of different names for different dome shapes! There’s a wikipedia page with the dome types listed with images, I’ll use this page when I’m thinking about structure designs in the future.

The Palacio Güell in Barcelona built by Gaudi has a gorgeous dome ceiling with small concentric hexagons going all the way to the top, with concetric holes in some of the hexagons and a bigger window and the top of the dome. The hexagon shapes remind me of Ross Bleckners paintings. I wonder if I could incorporate these ideas and shapes into my sculptures more?

Image no.67 in the book has a lovely simply roof that looks so organic and could easily be sculpted in clay. Shows how a simple, clean design can be very effective.

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