Architect Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926), is famous for designing some of the most beautiful buildings of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Gaudí’s work is an exceptional creative synthesis of several 19th-century artistic schools, such as the Arts and Crafts movement, Symbolism, Expressionism, and Rationalism, and is directly associated with the cultural heritage of Catalonia. Gaudí is credited with influencing many forms and techniques of 20th-century Modernism.   


Barcelona’s Palau Güell, originally a family home, was commissioned by Eusebi Güell who wanted to create a stylish park for Barcelona aristocracy. Now a cultural facility and tourist attraction, it retains its architectural integrity, form, and original colourful decoration. The Park Güell is used as a public park and green space, the purpose for which it was designed; now combining this with tourist and cultural use, while conserving the original features in their entirety. It is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The park contains amazing stone structures, intricate colourful tiling and unusually shaped buildings. There is something rather hypnotic and magical about it. 

At the top of Güell park is a terraced area where you get a wonderful view of the park and of Barcelona City. Here you will find multi-coloured tiled mosaic seats. The broken coloured tiles are arranged in a mosaic with carefully chosen colour combinations and create a beautiful backdrop. 

The intricate mosaics continue throughout the park from the roof tops to walls and ceilings and are created with broken tiles and are accentuated by indentations and protrusions in the surfaces.Park Güell also has a small house in the park which Gaudí lived in at one stage. The house has now been converted into a museum and contains interesting furniture also designed by Gaudí.  

A shady walkway, supported by twisting rock pillars that seem to grow from the ground like tree trunks, leads you down into the lower part of the garden. Gaudí was strongly influenced by natural shapes and used them in his work. Many of the structures are irregular in form and have an organic feel about them, blending with the natural landscape. In contrast, the colonnade that lies underneath the terrace with its Doric columns provides shade and a restful environment.

Planting at the park varies from formal to natural as the park blends with the natural landscape of the hills above the city. Permanent structure is provided by trees and  hedges and beautifully designed swathes of perennial planting offer seasonal colour with plants chosen for their resilience to the dry hot conditions. The borders are irrigated and mulched with bark to reduce evaporation. Benches are plentiful and the park provides an important tranquil space for city residents to enjoy just a short walk away from the busy city.

Gaudi’s Guell Park is a wonderful escape from the busy streets of Barcelona. Sitting on the hill above the city, designed for people, for social events, providing valuable shade, beautiful planting design and playful architecture with soft curves and colourful mosaics it is one of my top 10 favourite parks.

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