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La zona Alta – sight: Parc Güell

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

(UK below)

Park Güell har altid været én af mine favoritter. Da jeg begyndte at rejse til Barcelona midt i ’90’erne købte jeg tit en bocadillo (spansk sandwich) og tog op til Park Güell beliggende på El Carmel, et bjergsområde som er en del af Collserola-bjergkæden “bagved” Barcelona. Parken er smuk med Gaudís fantastiske indgang, og udsigten ud over Barcelona og Middelhavet er svimlende. Før var det gratis, i dag skal du købe entré til et specifikt tidsrum, hvis du vil se de centrale dele af Gaudís Parc Güell. Resten af parken kan du benytte kvit og frit.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

Parc Güell – den oprindelige idé

Anlægsarbejdet på Parc Güell blev påbegyndt i 1900, men parken var oprindeligt ikke tiltænkt at være en offentlig park. Visionen var snarere at skabe et luksusøst parkligende residensområde for velstillede familier efter engelsk forbillede, sådan som Eusebi Güell havde forstillet sig, da han erhvervede sig det store areal. Derfor hedder parken også “Park Güell” på engelsk og ikke catalansk eller spansk.

På dette tidspunkt var Barcelona midt i et økonomisk og byggemæssigt boom af dimensioner båret frem af Cataloniens industrialisering. Dette sammen med, at Barcelona havde fået tilladelse små 50 år forinden til at nedrive de middelalderlige bymure, som holdt byen “indespærret”, gav anledning til, at byen begyndte sin ekspansion og modernisering med det nye kvartér Eixample som et godt eksempel.

Heldigvis påvirkede boomet ikke det kunstneriske og arkitektoniske niveau, tværtimod stortrivedes det under byens økonomiske velstand og hastige ekspansion. Perioden betegnes derfor for en arkitektonisk storhedstid med den catalanske modernisme som hovedudtryk. Én af den nye arkitektoniske retnings fornemmeste foregangsmænd var netop Antoni Gaudí.

Gaudí fik opgaven med at designe residensområdet, og byggerestriktionerne var for datiden relativt strenge. Kun en sjettedel af området måtte bebygges, og højden og placeringen af de forskellige planlagte palæer og huse måtte ikke blokere for de øvrige naboers pragtfulde udsigt ud over resten af Barcelona og Middelhavet. I det oprindelige design var der planlagt med 60 huse til rige familier foruden parkens forskellige arkitektoniske elementer.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

Anlæggelsen af Park Güell

Anlæggelsen af Park Güell begyndes i oktober 1900 med nivelleringen af grunden. I starten går det relativt hurtigt, idet bl.a. de to indgangsbygninger samt hovedtrappen til parken allerede står færdigt i januar 1903. I 1907 er “the hypostyle room” (et rum eller en hal med søjler og et tag ovenpå) bygget, mens mosaik-bænken ovenpå bliver færdiggjort i 1914. Alt dette hører til de centrale elementer i parken, som i dag – som nævnt – kræver  entrebillet for at studere nærmere.

Selve parken blev beplantet med planer fra Middelhavsområdet, der ikke kræver megen vand. Gaudí designede ligeledes forskellige systemer, bl.a. i “the hypostyle room” til at indsamle og lagre regnvand, som senere kunne bruges til forbrug og vanding.

Gaudí flytter selv ind i parken i 1906 sammen med hans far og niece, mens Güell-familien flytte ind i parken i et ombygget palæ i 1907.

Samtidig med anlæggelsen af haven forsøger man at sælge de resterende grunde, men strenge krav om livslang leasing, en høj grundpris og de – på datiden – meget ringe transportmuligheder til parken gjorde det umuligt. Med kun 2 huset bygget ud af de planlagte 60, blev Güell til sidst nødt til opgive projektet. Parken blev i stedet for familiens private have, dog tillod han, at der blev afholdt diverse kulturelle og offentlige events der.

Parc Guell Gaudi Zona Alta ayearinbarcelona

Gaudí og Güell

Samarbejdet mellem Antoni Gaudí og Eusebi Güell var langvarigt og startede med en aftale om, at Gaudí skulle designe møbler til et kapel, som Güell lod opføre for sin svigerfar i Commillas i Cantabrien. Det førte senere til Gaudí første store opgave for Güell, nemlig opførelsen af et nyt familiepalæ, Palau Güell, i Raval og senere til endnu en opgave, nemlig opførslen af en kirke i Colónia Güell, en bebyggelse for arbejderne i Güells store tekstilfabrik. Der lå således et årelangt samarbejde imellem de to mænd inden aftalen om opførelsen af Parc Güell i 1900.

Güell opdagede Gaudís talent, da han så hans arbejde på den spanske pavillon i forbindelse med verdensudstillingen i Paris i 1878. Han må have indset Gaudís talent, og udover en fælles interesse i arkitektur og design delte de to mænd også deres dybe, katolske tro.

Güell betegnes også som Gaudís mæcen, og samarbejdet kan da også siges at have været fundamentet for Gaudís virke, betydning og berømmelse. Gaudí ville måske ikke have været så stor en arkitekt, hvis det ikke have været for Güells støtte – og opgaver – især i starten af hans karriere. Men deres forhold strakte sig ud over det, Güell var ikke kun mæcen og forretningspartner, men også Gaudí mangeårige ven.

Og Eusebi Güell var ikke nogen ringe ven at have. Güell var født ind i en rig familie, som have skabt sig en formue i den tidligere spanske koloni, Cuba, en formue som var blevet dygtigt investeret i aktiver i Catalonien, bl.a. indenfor tekstilproduktion og jernindustri. Med Eusebi Güells dygtighed og understøttet af den store industrialiseringsbølge, som flød ind over Catalonien sidst i 18. århundrede, blev formuen yderligere øget. Güell skulle – efter sigende – have været datidens Bill Gates.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

Parc Güell i dag

Güell-familien levede indtil Güells død i 1918 i det store palæ i parken, som i dag er en fungerende skole. Güells arvinger tilbyder herefter Barcelonas bystyre at købe parken, hvilket de heldigvis gør i 1922. Området bliver omlagt til en kommunal park, og i 1963 bliver Gaudís hus også åbnet som et offentlig museum. Endelig bliver Park Güell i 1984 erklæret for “World Heritage Site” af UNESCO.

I dag fremstår Park Güell som en offentlig park bestående af park med diverse arkitektoniske elementer. Du kan her se en Gaudí på toppen og i hans naturalistiske fase, dybt inspireret af naturen og dens organiske og geometriske mønstre, som har givet anledning til innovative strukturelle løsninger.

Selvom der er er entre på, er der stadigvæk masser af turister – og i skrivende stund pågår der et seriøst renoveringsarbejde i parken. Men kom på de skæve tidspunkter, nyd formerne og detaljerne i Gaudis arbejde og glem ikke den smukke, smukke udsigt ud over Barcelona og havet – på en solrig dag ser du byen fra sin smukkeste side.

Du kan købe billetter og finde mere information på Park Güells hjemmeside.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

UK

Park Güell has always been one of my favorites. When I started traveling to Barcelona in the mid 90’s, I used to buy a bocadillo (Spanish sandwich) and go to Park Güell located at El Carmel, a mountain area that is part of the Collserola mountains “behind” Barcelona. The park is beautiful with Gaudi’s stunning entrance, and the view over Barcelona and the Mediterranean is staggering. Before the entrence was free, today you have to buy a ticket for a specific period of time if you want to see the important parts of Gaudís Parc Güell, the rest of the park you can use freely.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

Parc Güell – the original idea

The construction of Parc Güell started in 1900, but the park was originally not intended to be a public park. The vision of Eusebi Güell was to create a luxuriously park-like residential area for wealthy families after the English model, therefore the park is called “Park Güell” in English and not in Catalan or Spanish.

At the time, Barcelona was in the midst of an large economic boom lead by the industrialization of Catalonia. This, along with the fact that Barcelona – some 50 years earlier – had gained permisson to demolish the medieval city walls that kept the city “confined”, prompted the city to begin its expansion and modernization with the new district of  Eixample as an example.

Fortunately, the boom did not affect the artistic and architectural level, on the contrary, it flourished with the city’s economic prosperity and rapid expansion. Therefore, the period is considered an architectural climax, mainly expressed by Catalan modernism. One of the most important persons of the new architectural movements was Antoni Gaudí.

Gaudí was given the task of designing the residential area, and the building restrictions of that time were relatively strict. Only one sixth of the area was to be built and the height and placement of the planned houses must not block the views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean of the neighbors. In the original design, 60 houses were planned in addition to the park’s various architectural features.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

The construction of Park Güell

The construction of Park Güell began in October 1900 with the leveling of the area. Initially, it goes relatively fast, as the two entrance buildings and the main stairway to the park is completed by January 1903. In 1907, the “hypostyle room” (a room or a hall with columns and a roof above) are built, while the mosaic bench on the roof are completed in 1914. All this is part of the important elements of the park, which today – as mentioned – require an entrance fee to take a closer look at.

The park was planted with Mediterranean plants, which does not require much water. Gaudí also designed different systems, including in the “hypostyle room”, to collect and store rainwater that could later be used for consumption and watering.

Gaudí moves with his father and niece into the park in 1906, while the Güell family moves into a converted mansion in the park in 1907.

Simultaneously with the construction of the garden, the sales of the remaining grounds continued, but strict requirements of a lifelong leasing period, high prices and – at that time – very poor transportation to the park made the sale impossible. With only 2 houses of the planned 60 built, Güell eventually had to give up the project. The park became the family’s private garden, although Güell allowed various cultural and public events to be held there.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

Gaudí and Güell

The cooperation between Antoni Gaudí and Eusebi Güell was long and began with Gaudí designing furniture for a chapel, which Güell build for his father-in-law in Commillas, Cantabria. Later, it led to Gaudi’s first major work for Güell: the building of a new family home, Palau Güell, in Raval and later on also the building of a church in Colónia Güell, a building area for the workers of Güell’s large textile factory. Thus, there was an long collaboration between the two men prior to the construction of Parc Güell in 1900.

Güell discovered Gaudi’s talent when he the work of Gaudí at the Spanish Pavilion during the World Exhibition in Paris in 1878. He must have realized that Gaudís uniqueness, but in addition to have common interests in architecture and design, the two men also shared their deep Catholic faith.

Güell is often referred to as Gaudi’s patron, and their collaboration can also be said to have paved the way for Gaudi’s work, importance and fame. Gaudí might not have been as great an architect without the support of Güell, especially in the beginning of his career. But their relationship stretched beyond that, Güell was not only a patron and business partner, but also Gaudi’s long-standing friend.

And Eusebi Güell was certainly an important friend. Güell was born into a rich family who had created a fortune in the former Spanish colony of Cuba, a fortune that was cleverly invested in assets in Catalonia, for example within textile production and iron industry. With the skills of Eusebi Güell – and fueled by Catalan industrialization in the late 18th century, the family wealth was further increased. Some say that Güell was the Bill Gates of that time.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

Parc Güell today

The Güell family lived in the great mansion in the park until Güell’s death in 1918, today the mansion is a school. Güell’s heirs maded the city of Barcelona an offer to buy the park, which they fortunately did in 1922. The area was then converted to a municipal park, and in 1963 Gaudí’s house was opened as a public museum. Finally in 1984, Park Güell was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Today, Park Güell is a public park consisting of park with various architectural elements of Gaudí. Here you can see Gaudí at his best and in his naturalistic phase, deeply inspired by nature and its organic and geometric patterns that led him to innovative structural solutions.

Even though there now is a entrence fee, there are still plenty of tourists – and currently the park is also ungoing renovation. So come in the odd hours, enjoy the shapes and details of Gaudi’s work and do not forget to enjoy the beautiful view of Barcelona and the sea – on a sunny day you will see the city from its most beautiful side.

You can buy tickets and find more information on the Park Güell website.

ParcGuell Gaudi ZonaAlta ayearinbarcelona

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