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The restoration of the Park Güell
Read a large article published in L'INFORMATIU

The Park Güell (1900-1914)

The pavilion on the left was supposed to be used for services, with a telephone and a receiving hall for visitors who were not trusted enough to be allowed to enter the chalets. On its roof we find a tower almost 17 meters high, designed like a moderate hyperboloid, interlaced with a double helix and covered with a blue and white argyle mosaic of blue and white. The pavilion on the right was meant to be the porter's home. It is made up of two floors and an attic. In some parts of the roof, Gaudí used prefabricated elements which allowed for greater flexibility in the phases of design and construction.

On the right, past the two pavilions, we can see a type of grotto which served as a refuge for carriages and horses on rainy days. Some authors say that Gaudí took his inspiration for this from the crypt in the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, in the province of Girona. The grotto is supported by a central column which widens as it rises, imitating the shape of a goblet.

Across from the entrance, a large double stairway, made up of two symmetrical flights interrupted by landings, takes us to the la Sala Hipóstila (Hypostyle Hall) and the Greek theatre. The stairs are separated by three organically-shaped islands: the first like a grotto, the second with a reptile head coming out of a medallion with the flag of Catalonia, and a third in the form of a multicolor dragon. To either side of the stairway we can contemplate concave and convex mosaics, the former covered in Manises ceramic and the latter with clear white ceramic, which were prefabricated on undulating molds, based on different levels of brick or tile, on top of lime mortar. These prefabricated pieces of "trencadís" were created by the bricklayers, as they pleased; Gaudí only guided them and chose those pieces which he considered more appropriate. Those which were not chosen were saved for another time.

The Sala Hipóstila, which was intended to function as the development's marketplace, is made up of 86 classical columns, 6 meters high and 1.3 meters in diameter, with the lower part covered in white ceramic and the rest with a grayish rustic stone. The exterior columns are slanted in order to give the structure a more monolithic appearance. Four of the interior columns are missing; there are soffits designed by Jujol in their place. Between the columns, there are lintels of reinforced concrete that divide the ceiling into squares, on which there are inscribed partial spheres covered with white ceramic.

The Greek theatre is a large esplanade which rests on the Sala Hipóstila and the mountain. It is bordered by a marvelous curvaceous bench on the side nearest to the sea, and a semicircular promenade at another level on the side nearest to the mountains. The curves of this bench are based on the placement of the columns which support it, as well as Gaudí's organic ideas; in this way he gave life to his work. There are small semicircles which allow for gatherings among visitors. A festival in benefit of the Amparo de Santa Lucía (Refuge of Santa Lucía), a school party for the 50th Anniversary of the Jocs Florals and another festival for the First International Congress of the Catalan Language all took place here. The esplanade's drainage was engineered without inclines; the water passed through the soil and flowed to the pendentives of the spherical segments on the roof below, as was mentioned before, and drained through the hollow center of the columns of the Sala Hipóstila to a 1200 cubic meter underground tank, below the Doric porch.

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