A walk through the unknown Gaudí

Barcelona not only has Gaudí’s signature on La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera or Park Güell. Throughout the city we can find unknown buildings and works by the architect.

Stroll through Barcelona, head to Gaudí’s most emblematic places in Barcelona and, along the way, discover his most unknown works in the city. How many can we find? Open your eyes wide.

Our official guide will explain everything to you so that you don’t miss even the smallest detail.

On both sides of Passeig Lluis Companys you will find some iron jugs by Antoni Gaudí. The snails on both sides, making allegory as always to Nature…

On the corner of Trafalgar Street, we will also find the statue in honour of Lluis Companys. President of Catalonia in 1934, in prison in Montjuïc Castle, for 3 years and shot during the Civil War after being arrested by the Nazis and handed over to the Spanish government in 1940.

Ciutadella Park extends over the remains of the old fort that was built in the 18th century to militarily control Barcelona, along with Montjuïc Castle, and to be able to subject the city to a crossfire if it revolted again. Once the space around the city was freed up and the Cerdà plan began, the military imposed, for the demolition of the fort, the condition that the land must be converted into a park. As he explains in his book below. It is exciting to discover Barcelona and the history of my Catalan ancestors in this beautiful Catalan land.

Figures, trees, fruits express their interiority through their exteriority. Antoni Gaudí.

In 1888 Gaudí built the Transatlantic Pavilion where a huge snack was served for the Tree Festival. This building was created for the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona in the same year. It was located in the Maritime Section of the event, next to a lighthouse also built for the occasion. It was shot down at an undetermined date.

Gaudí’s Gardens:

In 1877, in the third year of Antoni Gaudi’s projects, after an elevation and a plan for a project for a fountain in Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona, the fountain had occupied the centre of the square and its diameter in plan was 28 m by 19.75 m high. Taking into account that the measurements of Plaça Catalunya are 180 m by 100 m, there would have been a large space around it whose landscaping or urban planning does not appear in the project, it is therefore a design of urban furniture, in which water would have played a very important role.

While Antoni Gaudí was studying architecture, he was forced to work as a draughtsman for several architects in order to pay for part of his studies. This gave him the opportunity to interact with the Fonzerelli family, originally from Vinyols, a town near Reus. For all these reasons, it is quite possible that he collaborated in the project for the park of the Citadel presented in the international competition of 1873.

Josep Font Mestres won a second prize and was commissioned to direct the works on the park, a position he held until 1887.

The work of the Parc de la Ciutadella is fundamental in the history of gardening in Barcelona, as it meant the occupation of the land of the Military Citadel, ceded by General Juan Prim to the city.

Josep Fontserè, helped by the architecture students Antoni Gaudí and Cristobal Cascante, had the collaboration of numerous sculptors such as Puiggarí, Flotats, the Vallmitjanas, Nobas, etc… and he designed a series of buildings in the middle of a romantic garden inspired by Luxembourg in Paris or the Parc de Longchamps in Marseille. It was precisely from the latter that Fontserè took the model for the waterfall, inspired by Henri Espéreandiu’s Chateau d’Eau. Juan Oliver was in charge of the gardens.

Therefore, it can be seen that Gaudí worked on the works described in the park between 1872 and 1885, being the director of the same Fontserè who had won the competition in 1870.

With regard to the participation of Antoni Gaudí, who was at that time a paid draughtsman, it is known that he was in charge of the roundabout for the municipal band, whose balustrade he carefully designed, with interesting sculptural details by Lorenzo Matamala Piñol, Friend and later very faithful collaborator of Antoni Gaudí.

Years later, in 1882, the statue of Bonaventura Carles Aribau was placed in the centre of the roundabout, the work of the sculptor Fuxà with a project by the architect José Vilaseca Casanovas.

Antoni Gaudí also designed the wrought iron and cast iron fence that surrounds the park with a perimeter of 1 km. The workshops of the New Vulcano, in the port of Barcelona, are elaborated.

Antoni Gaudí is also credited with the grotto under the waterfall, which has a great naturalistic effect.

The formation of caves or grottoes was a constant in Gaudí’s architecture.

Gaudí carried out another work, although this one not strictly gardening, in the park of the Ciudadela.

This is the calculation of the large elevated water reservoir. A huge pond built on brick pillars for water irrigation surrounded by the entire park.

Fontserè was unable to solve this structure, which Antoni Gaudí had calculated so correctly that even his professor of Resistance of Materials at the School of Architecture, Juan Torres Guardiola, had passed it without examination.

“The building of the Ciutadella Water Reservoir was created to meet the demand for water that a park had and is located next to it, on a standard island in the Eixample. The volume of the building is almost cubic, with all the façades the same – made of solid brick, the only material used – and completely devoid of ornamentation; It is a building of pure service, transcended on the basis of the rigorous order of its façade, defined by the external buttresses supporting the warehouse. It is lined up against Wellington Street, touching no chamfer. The tank is located in the open air, elevated to pressurize the water by gravity. The interior space is a hypostyle room, the product of converting the support walls of the turns that support the tank into pillars by piercing them, intermediating a regular system of arches. It is one of the most beautiful interior spaces in the city.

It is undoubtedly a unique experience, where we will be able to see unpublished work by Antoni Gaudí, because there is not a single sad plaque that confirms it. But from Barcelona Art of Travel, we are official guides who, in our constant eagerness to learn and discover the works that may interest foreigners and locals of the place, we encourage you to try this magnificent experience and discover the real Antoni Gaudí.

Thanks to Pere Jordi Figuerola Rotger. Founder Member of the Gaudí Research Institute and José Manuel Almuzara of the Association for the Beatification of Gaudí for your wise words.