Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gaudi Crypt: Church Of Colonia Guell; Or, I Owe My Soul To The Company Store

Gaudi's great patron over the years was Eusebi Guell, a Barcelona industrialist, who had enlightened ideas about architecture and many other things. Among Guell's many projects was the Colonia Guell, an industrial estate, sort of on the English model, in the suburbs of the city. A whole manufacturing village so the workers could be and stay near their beloved mill, factories, etc. (We toured the place reciting and humming as much as we could remember of Tennessee Ernie Ford's 1955 #1 hit, Sixteen Tons). Guell asked Gaudi to design a church for the residents, and the Gaudi Crypt, so-called, is the result. Funding ran out, eventually, and Gaudi abandoned the project (he had other church projects) after completing the crypt. The main floor was never undertaken. All this from roughly 1890 to 1909. In any case, the Crypt stands by itself today as a parish church and as another architectural monument. We visited it on April 20th, en route from Barcelona to Tarragona.
The village is inhabited and actually fairly prosperous-looking;
a very lively elementary school is near by the visitor center; above,
in the visitor center, another helpful model, of the Colonia Guell

These are the things you see in exhibits on historic mills

Real people lived and worked here; busts of Eusebi and his
father on left

The TI office

Private home a block away; very Modernist

Approaching the church (crypt)

The church, best exterior view

Main entry

Above the doors

Porch, columns, vaulting, tiles...

Interior...only Gaudi could have dreamed this up

Varieties of columns, materials, effects, angles (nothing at
exactly 90 degrees, one assumes)

View abaft

He designed the furniture, too; of course

Stained-glass window opening mechanism

Angles, palm-tree columns

Above the chancel, as it were

Now outside, walking up to what would have
been the main part of the building, the nave,

The floor of the main church; now merely the roof of the

Neighboring Modernista, privately owned

Up close detail

What would have been the entrance to the church

Unclear whether Gaudi intended the tower to
be permanent

Building materials: brick, basalt, iron slag

Alas, our Gaudi set is not complete, but it's getting close; Casa
Vicens is scheduled to open next fall, and perhaps we'll see it
all then (we saw the exterior only in 2013)

1 comment:

Tawana said...

Oh, we read about this place but did not go. So glad you posted these great photos.