In January 2014 we had a chance to visit Barcelona. One of the highlights was Sagrada Familia, the cathedral still under construction, conceptualized and began by Antoni Gaudi. It is estimated that it will take approximately another 8 – 10 years before the cathedral can be considered completed.
Of you know nothing about Gaudi’s architecture you most likely have come across images of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Documentaries have been made about it, books written and published about this testament to Gaudi’s ingenuity and creative approaches.
Segrada Familia offered the ubiquitous gift shops, but there was also a small interpretive center tucked away near the entrance and overlooked by most visitors. During our time in the cathedral we decided to forgo the experience of riding up one tower and descending the other… I just can’t handle heights like that. Instead we spent a significant amount of time exploring the excellent storyboards and 3D models of the designs that contribute to each element in Sagrada Familia.
Nature was the primary inspiration in Gaudi’s designs. As illustrated in the pages in today’s slideshow he was able to gain much insight from the way trees grow – this led to the way the columns in the nave of the cathedral were constructed. Minerals and the way they split was the starting point for the spires… the list goes on… and the wealth of knowledge gained from this short visit to the interpretive center would clearly have been forgotten by now if I didn’t find the book “Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia: A Monument to Nature” by Jordi Cusso i Angles, published by Milenio in 2010.
The book is an excellent reference to those exploring sculpture. Here is the description of the book on the back jacket: “The two main objectives of this book are… to let everyone know the roots of organic architecture, so much used by Gaudi in his works, and… to encourage readers to go back in time and make an effort to read this ‘great book that nature is’, as he told, searching for the existing geometry in animal, mineral and vegetal kingdoms or… to urge the viewers to look at nature through Gaudi’s eyes.” This was all one sentence. Read it again and draw your own conclusions!
It’s spring! What better time to get inspired by nature. Tree branches will soon be in full leaf, the gardens will burst with color and winter will have been forgotten. There is a little bit of Gaudi in every artist… let’s explore it!