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Gaudinian milestones 2004
Two unedited Gaudí Lamps
Salvador Dalí and Antonio Gaudí
Gaudí and Jujol
The Religious Art of SalvadorDalí
The portico of the Saint Anthony the Abbot church
June: Two Gaudí's anniversaries
The Relationship with Gaudí and Carles Mani
 

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.
Also in 1904, the engineers M.Z.A. asked Gaudí’s opinion about the “Estación de Francia” of Barcelona which was being projected on that moment. As usual, Gaudí’s answer was witty. He said: “The trains enter the station with the locomotive in the front; they have to continue with the locomotive in the back when they leave the station”. In order to avoid this, Gaudí wanted to build a large bend in the rail so that the convoy could follow the engine in the front. Therefore he needed a huge surface, which he thought to cover with iron inclining columns and suspending cables to support the roof elements. In fact, it’s the traditional solution of the awnings of the mayor fiestas of Catalonia, with the difference that the wood columns, hanging cords and canvas would be substituted by iron and cables. The engineers were chocked by the innovative idea and preferred the solution of the metallic bi-articulated bows that still exist today. Some years ago, Professor Frei Otto, constructor of the Olympic stadium of Munich, was interested in Gaudí’s idea which was so close to the solution he used in the Bavaria stadium, and stayed in touch with the “Cátedra Gaudí” which provided him with information from its archives.

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
Conservator of the Real Cátedra Gaudí