Monday, November 29, 2010

Palau Güell

One of the lesser known Gaudi designed buildings in Barcelona is the Palau Guell. Unfortunately closed for repairs after years of work, I wasn't able to see inside which I hear is pretty amazing.
The Guell name is not unfamiliarly associated with the architect, as many of Gaudi's most famous designs were commissioned by the family. This was the Guell's main townhouse, built by Eusebi Guell from 1886-1890 directly off La Rambla. The house stayed in family hands, with a brief confiscation as army barracks during the civil war, until it was gifted to the country in 1945.
The main entrances seen on the facade were meant for carriages, one for 'in' and one 'out'; hows that for efficiency, much like a restaurant kitchen! The house revolved around entertaining and a large main entertaining room was located just inside off the entry court. The ceiling was studded with holes into the private rooms above to look like starlight, which also provided views of guests below so that the family could decide what to appropriately wear to greet their guests. Another efficient and ingenius idea!
As I wasn't able to see this for myself (the house should be open to the public again by summer 2011) I had to content myself with the beautiful ironwork on the windows outside; true masterpieces.
The small street that it's located on off La Rambla makes it hard to get a very good picture but you can see below that the facade is actually rather plain and quiet for a modernista structure, no matter how lovely. The exterior interest lays in the details of course which I've tried to show here. I think the lesson here is that Gaudi knew when his buildings should be stand out stars, and when they should be background structures. They can't all be masterpieces; sometimes a house is just a house, no matter how extraordinary!


Petra Voegtle said...

Marvellous architectural details! thanks for sharing the photos.
I hope I can go back one day to Barcelona with a pair of different eyes. This all is definitely a must-see!
Greetings from Munich,

David Toms said...

What a treat for future visitors to Barcelona when it does reopen!

quintessence said...

I love your very cogent assessment at the end. But the details are indeed amazing. I especially love the 5th shot - that little bay of windows is so elegant and cohesive, capped by the small terrace - great feature.

Terry said...

I'm kind of brought up short by "a house is just a house" to characterize this one when I'm having a hard time catching my breath. Wow and thanks.

Mark D. Ruffner said...

Look how Gaudi balanced the thicks and thins of the grill work in that first shot! Stefan, your photos are inspiring me to make Barcelona my next trip overseas. ... Mark

the designers muse said...

I don't believe I've ever seen this building before. Thanks for sharing.

smilla4blogs said...

The lacy ironwork and window tracery have a wonderful Moorish feeling..can you believe it, I have never been to Barcelona. Your photos and posts have put this city on my 'must see' list! Many thanks!

little augury said...

As always you point out the best of details and present them with a on point-Eye. And you are so right about assessing design in general- I think that is perhaps the key to a genius like Gaudi. pgt

City Guide said...

Your blog is really interesting! I also live in Barcelona and your photos of Palau Guell are really good even if we can't enter inside!
I would be glad if you check my blog about Barcelona, it speaks about the events but also the monuments and the architecture!