Antoni Gaudi: Casa Mila and La Sagrada Familia and Twentieth Century Technology

Essay by sardiddleCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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The Art Nouveau Movement began in the early 1890's as a reaction against the technologies of the industrial age. Free-flowing, curved, biomorphic forms gave inspiration to the architects of Art Nouveau. While technology played a significant role in the influence of most twentieth century architects, Antoni Gaudí's influence was that of the natural world. His works are a reflection of the ideals of the Art Nouveau movement. His genius is expressed through his mastery of capturing movement and organic shapes. However, one would not view Gaudí's works as white noise among Art Nouveau architecture: quite the contrary. Although he is categorized with the Art Nouveau style of architecture, he is in a category unto himself. Gaudí established an individual style of architecture that was incredibly unique not only in his time, but in modern day architecture as well.

Antoni Gaudí was the mastermind behind some of Spain's most remarkable buildings.

Among them are Casa Milá (1906-1910) and the awe-inspiring La Sagrada Família (1883-1926), which remains unfinished to this day. While Le Corbusier was building "machines to be lived in," Gaudí was building sculptures to be lived in. Because Gaudí worked from detailed drawings of his ideas versus technical plans, his works embody the essence of sculpture.

Located at 92, Passeig de Grà cia in Barcelona is Gaudí's Casa Milá; a six-story apartment building arranged around two connected courtyards. At first glance, one would be astonished by the shear presence of the Casa Milá. Without reinforcing walls, brick and stone pillars in combination with iron girders are the sole support of Casa Milá, while simple metal tie rods keep the façade attached. Gaudí used parabolic, or Catalan, arches to vault the roof atop the building, which can be seen in the uppermost story.

Casa Milá reflects a somewhat dreamlike, surrealistic quality. Its...