GAUDINIAN MILESTONES 2004
The Centenary of the Batlló house (“casa Battló”), which construction works were initiated in 1904 in the Paseo de Gracia, has been commemorated brilliantly. Anyhow, the grandiose Batlló house wasn’t the only edifice in which the architect got involved that year, though it would have been sufficient to lead him to immortality.
On March 11th 1904, the project of the new façade of the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Mercy (“Santuario de la Virgen de Misericordia”) in Reus was cancelled. The project was assigned a year earlier on June 3rd, but the daring idea to convert the façade and the boulevard across into a miracle representation of the shepherdess unto whom the Virgin had appeared, got thwarted because of an absurd and ridiculous matter of servitude between proprietors. As a result, Reus was deprived of a work from Gaudí.
Also in 1904, Gaudí was in charge of the construction of the “Sala Mercè” on the Rambla de Canaletas, where the painter Luis Graner decided to represent theatre plays and project cinema movies. After Graner ruined himself, the hall got closed. There’s nothing left but an excellent description written by Reverend Baldelló. In 1904, Gaudí projected a chalet in the street “Santa Eulalia” - today “Imaculada de Sarrià” -, meant for Graner himself but which finally wouldn’t be carried out. There was nothing but a poetic door which has also vanished in the meantime but which we know thanks to a picture from 1927.
On August 12th 1904, Gaudí signed the project to build a modest atelier for the smiths
José and Miguel Badia Miarnau, pupils of Juan Oñós -author of the iron wattle
work of the Güell palace- and later competent collaborators of Gaudí in the Milà
house. The atelier was a simple workshop with a saw-toothed roof, tamped ground floors and a few
decorative elements on the façade made of brickwork in natural stone, with a barred window
and a simple door. It was a humble creation and Gaudí agreed with the smiths that his honorary
would be deduced from the ongoing smith work. The atelier, situated in calle Nápoles 273,
between Provenza and Rosellón, has disappeared and there’s only one picture left.
By the way, a hanging garden of gaudinian style was built at the back of the workshop, even though
Gaudí had never been there. The smiths clearly demonstrated they had assimilated the spirit
of the architect’s shapes.
In 1904, Gaudí received a visit from King Alfonso XIII in the Sagrada Familia, who was extremely interested in the building but who hadn’t seen it yet.
And at last, on December 8th 1904, the first phase of the restoration of the Mallorca cathedral was inaugurated solemnly. This prominent work of the architect was prolonged until 1914.
In short, in 1904, the 52 years old Gaudí had plenty of abilities and an exceptional
unlimited imagination. Only the Batlló house and the restoration of the cathedral of Mallorca
have survived among his works of that year. A shame.
Juan Bassegoda i Nonell