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New York Attraction
project, never carried out, remained completely unknown till 1956,
after many years of indifference -even hostility- towards Gaudi's
works. First of all it is necessary to dwell on the figure of the
sculptor and gaudinist Juan Matamala Flotats (1893-1977), who divulged
this project, the son of the sculptor Lorenzo Matamala Piñol
(1856-1927), who married the daughter of the sculptor Juan Flotats.
The Matamala report: WHEN THE NEW WORLD CALLED GAUDÍ
This script, written in 1956, 30 years after Gaudí's death consists in the following parts:
Matamala tested his memory concerning with facts that happened 48 years ago, when he was only 15 years old with many data that at that time were not regarded important or that deserved not to be remembered (such as the commissioners names), or given that his understandable inexperience, especially for the draughts, even more for a non-architect. It is a crucial fact, that must be kept in mind when we analise the material contained in the report. It is precisely because of this reason that we may classify all the adjoining graphics in two groups: the drawings by Matamala's hand and others that aren't, that is the artist's drawings and others being neatly architectural that couldn't at all been drawn by him,as he lacked the necessary training required, for instance the ground plans, sections and some sketched wiews of the hotel.
It is very suspicious
that those architectural plans employ the catenary profile, and
that with the first scientific study of the hotel project a funicular
or hanging chain model has been made, that wholly predetermines
all the shapes appearing in the drawings.
Matamala couldn't invent anything starting from zero, having no architectonic training, such a technical feature and even scarcely used by the very architects, excepting Gaudí, to whom we may soundly make the attribution of the project (Let's remember that Matamala collaborated with Gaudí from his youth in the Sagrada Familia workshop and it's very reasonable that he could be aware of the hotel project).
mysteries that surround the genesis and failure of this singular
building, we can add a new very actual item -for being very recent-
the Royal Gaudí Chair has offered Mr. John Garvin, the head
of the commission charged to rebuild the so called Zero Zone of
Manhattan, after the terrible facts of the late September, 11th,
2001, the news of the offering of collaboration for the possible
building of the Attraction Hotel there, as a proper memorial for
the victims of that terrible day, and by Antonio Gaudí. We
should remark that the answer to that letter arrived only eight
days after it was posted. After all the time gone since its design
(nearly a hundred years) this building is still worth and it is
even revolutionary nowadays -and neatly modern- in many ways -it
is even higher than the beautiful and chronologically later, the
Empire State Building, that has recovered the rank of being the
highest building of the city- and Gaudí always deserves,
especially nowadays, having a second chance.