Monday, February 8, 2010

Block of Discord

Perhaps most famous of all Barcelona's many sights are the buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi, who died in about 1926. Most of his work was late 19th/early 20th century. "Gaudi" is pronounced sort of like "Gowdy," as in Curt Gowdy, my all-time favorite sports broadcaster. I mention this in part because I just learned, via a NYT dispatch, that the Saints beat the Colts in the SuperBowl, 31-17. It is the first SuperBowl in history that I have entirely missed. (I caught the last couple minutes of last year's in a sports bar in Te Anau, South Island.) Just a little stream-of-consciousness for your information.

Anyhow, Gaudi is about the most distinctive designer/architect I have come across. I had read a bit about him and his work and was prepared to be repulsed. But it is entirely seductive, intriguing, amazing. I haven't the architectural vocabulary to describe it--except to say it is very organic, natural, colorful, no straight lines, no right angles--so I'll have to let my poor pictures convey what they can. We spent most of the day Thursday seeing Gaudi sites, getting more and more intrigued...first the Block of Discord, which ranges several modernist structures together, most notably Gaudi's Casa de Battlli.
On the Block of Discord

We had our picnic lunch (ask me about goose
mousse) on a sidewalk bench right here,
listening to various professors lecture to their

Barcelona book award sculpture?

Advertising on the Block of Discord, well, across from it

Beautiful grill-work everywhere; a lamp post
on the Passeig de Gracia

Casa de Batlla at night (we had to go back
and see all these things lit up)

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