Anything But Straight Lines
Chimneys from the roof of Casa Mila
Antoni Gaudi, the genius architect of Catalonia, devoted his entire life to the art of building. He didn't win prizes and awards like I. M. Pei or design hundreds of buildings like Frank Lloyd Wright. His main source of inspiration was nature. His fanciful designs reflect his study of plants, flowers, stems, bones, feathers, shells and more. His use of tiles and mosaics reflect the Moorish influence in Spain and his native Catalonia. His buildings have light-filled interiors and fanciful chimneys. His family was in the copper smithing business and many of his projects, such as Casa Mila, feature metalwork designed by Gaudi. His style became known as "Modernisme" and is part of the New Art or "Art Nouveau" that swept Europe during the 1890's and early 20th century.
He was a devoted Catholic. His bedroom in Parc Guell has a prayer bench that he used daily. His unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, was his crowning achievement. From 1889 he lived in the crypt of the unfinished church until his untimely death by being run over by a street car in 1926. La Sagrada Familia, still unfinished in 2011, was consecrated by Pope Benedict on November 7, 2010.