a lesson of knwledge and love for nature
In this very June there are
two gaudinian anniversaries. Last 10th it was commemorated the architect's
death which happened in the Santa Cruz Hospital, being the consequence
of the accident he suffered, three days before, in the Bailén street,
the corner with the Cortes one. This mishap happened in 1926, that is
77 years ago. Within this month the 25th, it occurs the 151st anniversary
of Gaudi's birth. Precisely being the 150 more shattering years in the
history of Mankind.
The chances, coincidences and strange cannons have always unfastened multiple
comments and have mixed the stars and galaxies with the destiny of man.
The arrangement of Universe is a fact and it looks a too very easy solution
to trust it to the signs of zodiac or the coincidences of the satellites
These considerations bring up with regard to the Gaudí's work,
this architect who was born in a golden June and who extinguished himself
within another June, seventy-four years later.
A PUPIL FOUNDER OF THE BARCELONA
SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
The organic ensemble of the
works by Gaudí already appears in all its worth thanks to the historic
perspective and to the studies of all which have devoted their hard works
to such a fecund task, but this ensemble of works was due precisely thanks
to a series of circumstances which appeared to be conjugated providentially
to determine what it could poetically be named, the star of Gaudí.
Being he born a few years before, Gaudí couldn't have become an
architect as he became part of the first promotion of architects of the
newly founded Provincial School of Architecture of Barcelona.
The shortage of economic means of his parents would have prevented him
from a costly displacement to Madrid where it worked, since 1854, the
only Special School of Architecture of Spain.
It was already a great sacrifice going him from Reus to Barcelona, a sacrifice
to which Gaudí contributed paying himself his studies, working
as a draughtsman for other architects like Villar, Sala and Serrallach.
Had he been born in 1842, for instance, it is likely that he would have
not been more than a master of works, but he arrived instead in Barcelona
just in the instant when in, 1870, en which the School of Masters of Works
was extinguished, and the Architecture one was created.
IN THE CHANGE OF TWO CENTURIES
Once he had finished his career,
his first professional steps are comprised between two universal exhibitions,
which were decisive for him. The 1878 one, in Paris, where he took part
with his ambitious project of the "Cooperativa Mataronense"
and the original showcase of the Esteban Comella's glove shop, made with
the help of his faithful friend Lorenzo Matamala. And the 1888 Universal
Exhibition in Barcelona. In the first one he had the chance of making
him being known to Mr. Eusebio Güell, and in the second one, apart
from asserting his relation with the Marquis of Comillas, he indirectly
found the possibility of important undertakings, because of the impulse
which the Exhibition gave to the city and to its Ensanche (widening).
The change of century was also a change of mentality for people, and consequently
Gaudí built for Güell the palace of the Nou de la Rambla street,
which is still a medieval building like the ones in the Montcada street.
This building was officially inaugurated in 1888.
In 1904 he started for Mr. José Batlló Casanovas the genial
chromatic symphony which is the reform of the house number 41 in the Paseo
de Gracia and, hardly being finished it, in 1906 he started the building
of "La Pedrera" (the quarry) for Mr. Pedro Milá i Camps.
These buildings are the prototype of the Ensanche house, better said of
its more exalted and best interpretation, as the Palacio Güell was
the overcoming of the medieval models.
It corresponded to Gaudí to live then in the change between two
centuries and to take part in the transformation of the city.
THE SAGRADA FAMILIA: A MODEL
AND SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
His death occurred in the very
year that Walter Gropius established his Bauhaus, the cradle of rationalism,
in Dessau after its beginnings in Weimar, and it happened when Gaudí
was totally dedicated, exclusively, to the Sagrada Familia Temple.
This building is not to talk excessively in thinking it will be the model
and source of inspiration of the architecture of the future after more
than half a century of wooing with the rationalist technology; and this
for more than one reason.
Since the Congress in Stockholm
in 1971 till the South Africa one in 2002, delegates from the whole world
assemble periodically to save the world entourage. Like all the world
congresses, they end with some conclusions of which anybody makes the
use more fitting to him.
To preserve Nature there is
no other way than living and respecting it and for this it is essential
to know it and to know it in depth. Gaudí's architecture, like
the preaching of Saint Francis of Assissi is a complete lesson of knowledge
and love for nature.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO SOME MERITS
The work of Gaudí was
scorned and criticised by rationalists which only saw through the eyes
of calculation and techniques. The architect did not live to see the buildings
of the nineteen thirties, nor to listen the diatribes thrown against him
by then. This also has something providential for this spared Gaudí
a good handful of bad times.
On the other hand his works are considered and esteemed again when mankind
appears to decide to preserve what remains from nature, which has been,
during last half century, been systematically punished and destroyed.
Abstracts being either pictorial or sculptural?architectonic are out of
fashion, but the evolution is slow and it is hard to change some attitudes
in which the pretended art has lounged for so long time.
When the change will have been fully operated, the naturalist architecture
of Gaudí will be truly appreciated not because of its possible
and discussed likeness with modernism or expressionism, a merit which
is lately being granted to it, but because of its respect and its intelligent
grounding in the living beings, plants and animals, which form the Earth
Nature being threatened but unyielding, like threatened and unyielding
is the Sagrada Familia Temple.