Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Park Guell

On Sunday, I went to visit Park Guell, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This park was designed by Gaudi, paid for by the Guell family, and originally planned to be a housing development. It never progressed past having a couple of houses on it but today it’s one of Barcelona’s nicest open space parks, of which there are few.

The park itself is located high on a hill east of downtown Barcelona. It is mostly open space and centered around a main plaza built on a platform. Here’s the front-entrance view of the park:

Under the platform is an area with excellent acoustics. When I was walking through, there was a guy playing the violin and the sound was amazing. Here’s the inside:

The top of the platform is basically an open park-like area. The highlight is a bench that curves the whole way around the edge.

Here’s the view from the platform towards the Meditereanean with the two completed houses in front:

As I mentioned above, part of what makes Gaudi special is how he models much of what he does on the natural world. In one area there’s a structure that is supported by columns that look like palm-tree trunks and the roof looks like it’s made from loose stones.

Near the entrance of the park is one sculpture that Gaudi is very famous for. It’s a giant lizard covered with broken tiles of which he uses to decorate many of his works. Here’s yours truly in true tourist pose:

Gaudi's use of natural forms is exciting and very different. I wish I and/or the photos could do this park justice. If you get a chance to go to Barcelona, this park needs to be on your to-do list.

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