Barcelona- Casa Mila (La Pedrera) and Park Guell

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in Gaudi when visiting Barcelona, but some of the best places to get an overview of the city are from the top of two more of Gaudi’s projects. La Pedrera and Park Guell. 


We took the Metro up across from Sagrada Familia to Diagonal, to one of Gaudi’s apartment blocks build for the industrialist Pere Milà.  


This building is a UNESCO world heritage site and you get incredible views over the city from the roof terrace.

(Check out the catenary arches on that!)

From Diagonal Metro stop we went north to Vallcarca Metro station to the west of Park Guell.  A short walk aided by a series of escalators up to to the highest point of the park.  


Elevated above the city you get spectacular views across the city towards the sea.  It was the perfect place for a quiet walk amongst the trees and cacti after an intense day of sight seeing! 



For an architect who drew inspiration so heavily from nature, I think the landscaping elements of Park Guell outshine the buildings within the park, which are just too crazy Hansel and Gretel for my modernist tastes! 






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Barcelona- Sagrada Familia

Last time I was in Barcelona with uni, we decided it would be too expensive to go inside the Sagrada Familia, after all we were students, and we had cerveza to buy! The time before that I went in with my parents, and you could see the sky through the half finished columns.  Even at this time I felt the building was awe-inspiring.  That must have been about 15 years ago.  


First up, I’m not a believer in any religion, but I do have an architectural understanding of what goes into the design of churches and cathedrals. In fact, to say that two of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring buildings I have ever experienced are religious buildings troubles me slightly.  Those two buildings are Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut and Gaudi’s Cathedral.  Two very different buildings, but would these incredible works of architecture ever have been created if it was not for the motivation of religion? What other human enterprise would have cause the design and creation of exceptional works like these?  

Sagrada Familia is an incredible and I think almost insane feat of design, engineering vision and construction.  To some this will be the material manifestation of a certain kind of religious belief. I can’t help but see this as an insane and magnificent folly, the spark of one off-kilter (whisper it) mad, visionary and over 100 years of religious fervor.  

They are still cracking on with the construction of this landmark that already dwarfs city, I wonder what it will be like in another 15 years?     


Barcelona- La Rambla, El Gotic, Marina.

It is nearly ten years since I was last in Barcelona. Last time was as part of a University field trip which involved fleeting visits to the cultural, and architectural highlights of the city, along with some of the less salubrious attractions.  I’m not sure if any of the photographs from that trip still survive, and if they do, then the negs are either in my Mum’s loft, or the images are on the HDD of a long defunct windows XP desktop in my loft.  


I always say that Barcelona is one of my favorite cities, (the others being Berlin, and recently, New York) but I was forgetting just how great it is!  


We were staying up the Costa Brava, so came into the City on the coastal train arriving into Placa de Catalunya.  From Catalunya we walked down La Rambla, Through Placa Raiel, El Gotic, and down to the mar, past Columbus’  Column. 



La Boqueria market off La Rambla, I had the most amazing fish from here at a restaurant later in the evening!

The tower of Santa Maria Del Pi  Viewed from La Rambla.



Early Gaudi street lamps in Placa Raiel. This is where we stayed with uni… it has a real edge after it gets dark!
  

Cloister of the Cathedral of Barcelona in El Gotic. 

Inside the Basilica of the Cathedral of Barcelona,

If the City does one thing better than anything else it is the quality of the public space.



I’m pretty sure that this is a Space Invader piece down by the marina.
  

Colom’s Column.


From the bottom of La Rambla we took the Metro up to Sagrada Familia. 


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