Bloody Gaudi!


One last thing; I do have an issue with Barcelona that I’d forgotten about – bloody Gaudi. I traipsed around the Gaudi houses listening to an unctuous audio-tour and while I appreciate he was innovative in his thinking, I still hate that ‘Don’t put Shrek in charge of the icing’ look of his buildings.

These heavy, misshapen, plaster-and-tile lumps are astonishingly singular in their vision, but the Sagrada Familia looks like a Disneyland castle made of melting brown wax and would depress you to the brink of suicide if it was not being built under blue skies. Much more beautiful is the cathedral, which has a central space for calm and reflection, and doesn’t look like witches might materialise in it at any second.

10 comments on “Bloody Gaudi!”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    I like that fluted turrety bit with the pompom on top and wouldn’t mind living under it at all. It’s possible that I am a witch recognizing my native environment but I don’t feel as if I am. They’re fun houses and I suspect that they are the ancestors of the fluid shapes to be found in many new public buildings.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    And please say that the object in your hand is the audio guide because I hate to think that you were talking on a telephonic device in a place you describe as being for calm and reflection.

  3. admin says:

    Actually it was a book – I was scratching my ear!

  4. Chris Tandy says:

    But Chris, your criticism seems to be based on what came after; It is unfair to bring in such names as Disney and Shrek. Gaudi was frivolous and innovative and bold. But Hollywood came much later, and to his credit I suppose, was moved to copy him.
    I would sooner have a few Gaudi-inspired pieces of architecture in London rather than that which is inspired by the ‘perfume-bottle’ ( copyright: C.Fowler).

  5. Gretta says:

    Yep, sorry Christopher, but I’m with Chris on this one. Would I rather live in a city full of Brutalist or Minimalist style architecture, or a city full of Gaudi or Hundertwasser? No contest, Gaudi and Hundertwasser would win every time.

    PS: Whilst on the subject, I feel obliged to say this since you’re a London lad and I’m a Kiwi…I’m really, really, really sorry for New Zealand House.

  6. admin says:

    This is where it gets subjective – I think what’s happened to Spanish ‘moderniste’ architecture since Gaudi is far more interesting, but the way was clearly opened up by him.

  7. Anne Fernie says:

    I’ll leave the architectural musing to others but thought the first photo was a really good one – I’m presuming you took it. Love the oversaturated colours that whap the senses after months of monochrome over here…….

  8. Chris Tandy says:

    Christopher, if you want more pre-Hollywood architecture, I advise a trip to Sintra near Lisbon. I feel such places represent the point where the baroque lost its grip on Catholic countries and architecturally-speaking, let its hair down. The tormented twisting of barley-sugar posts became the frolicsome sweety-jars that are the basis of Gaudiesque buildings.

    As an aside, I also recommend joy-riding on Lisbon’s number 28 tram. I’m sure Bryant and May would be doing just that…

  9. Sorry to seem terribly middle-of-the-road, but what makes a city like Barcelona (or any city, for that matter) interesting is that Gaudí’s buildings are next to Art Deco or Art Nouveau, ou modernist ones like the Torre Agbar (which one was first, the Gherkin or this one?). The Casa Battlo, for instance, or La Pedrera, work because they are set among different styled-buidlings. What’s more, the inside structure is more sober than the outside.

    I’m less keen on the Sagrada Familia, but that’s because it reflects the over-the-top Christian fervor Gaudí had mutated into after his perfectly respectable unbeliever’s beginnings. ^_______^

  10. Chris Tandy says:

    “I’m less keen on the Sagrada Familia…..”
    Me too. It’s as if the soul of the Catholic baroque was trying to get revenge on Gaudi’s desire for frivolity.

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