Category: Spain.

Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain: Travel Guide

Park Güell in Barcelona is undoubtedly amongst the best works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi who designed many famous buildings that are remarkable for their flamboyance.

Park Güell, Barcelona: The entrance to the park. Photo Credit: Sawfnews.com / Chahal

by Chahal

March 28, 2012, (Sawf News) – Park Güell in Barcelona is undoubtedly amongst the best works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi who designed many famous buildings that are remarkable for their flamboyance.

Count Eusebi Güell proposed the idea of building a housing site that was to contain the park. Although the objective of housing remains unfulfilled, the Park (named after the count) situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain has been declared a UNESCO world heritage sight.
Origin

A remarkable observation about the sight lies in its name. It is called Park instead of Parc (which is the Catalan word for park) in and ode to its inspiration that comes from the English ‘garden city movement’.

The site for the park used to be a rocky hill with little greenery and an upper class neighborhood. It was intended to be made into a housing complex with a large park, incorporating beautiful views, fresh air and ample natural light. Though the project started out well, it did not go through and only two houses were built on the site, one being where Gaudi lived himself from 1906 to 1926. This house has now been converted to a museum and contains many of his original works.
The Public Garden

The park has now been converted to a municipal garden. Easy to reach by underground railway or buse, it allows free entry to visitors, and access to the museum and church inside at a nominal fee.

Two extraordinary buildings with asymmetrically shaped roofs flank the entrance to the park, which was designed as space for social interaction and sharing.

The park has many unusual elements that make it a unique experience. One such feature is the long serpentine bench on the main terrace that is aimed at creating a social atmosphere as the form creates many intervening spaces for people to interact. Inlaid with intricate and colorful mosaic work, the bench is a spectacle in itself. Many Catalan elements like motifs, religious symbols, and references to poetry and art have been used throughout the park.

Park Güell: A long serpentine bench at the main terrace is aimed at creating a social atmosphere as the form creates many intervening spaces for people to interact. Photo Credit: Sawfnews.com / Chahal

The parks highest point offers a panoramic view of the city beneath, the natural forms of the garden blending into the surroundings beautifully.

Park Güell: View from the top. Photo Credit: Sawfnews.com / Chahal

As in all of Gaudí’s work, the park has a strong element of playfulness. The caretaker’s lodge suggests a house a child would imagine, like the gingerbread cottage in Hansel and Gretel.

Park Güell: The caretaker's lodge. Photo Credit: Sawfnews.com / Chahal

The staircase inside the park is almost the most famous part of the sight and has come to be called the symbol of Barcelona. It comprises a huge lizard structure, often confused for a dragon.

The stairs lead up to a large square supported by 86 columns. The roof over the columns is a notable structure. Sinking between column to column, it gives the impression of white waves. Another spectacular feature about the columns is that they are not perpendicular to the base, standing at a harmonious angle. A masterpiece of Gaudi’s talent, they serve as drains besides supporting the square above. Rainwater from the square passes through the column getting filtered, and is stored in a chamber that serves as a reservoir.

Park Güell:The columns supporting the square above. Photo Credit: Sawfnews.com / Chahal

Park Güell is a landmark in architectural history, a display of Antonio Gaudi’s genius. It combines a playful experience coupled with unmatched architectural brilliance. The natural and flowing forms of the structures merge seamlessly into the natural landscape while providing sustainable solutions to the needs of man’s activities, creating a space that encourages social interaction and personal calm. [Article link]

Category: Spain