Antoni Gaudi was a Catalan architect from Spain who lived from 1852-1826 and was the master of Catalan Modernism. Most of Gaudi’s work was marked by his 3 passions of life; religion, nature and architecture. His works show various unique styles that he attained through researching natural forms and employing them in his buildings while studying every detail of his creations, assimilating into his design every innovative design solution. He was influenced by Neo-Gothic art and became a main part of the Modernisme movement, even though his works transcended the design of mainstream Modernisme. He used organic styles inspired by forms he found in nature and rarely drew plans, instead much preferring to use models and 3D moulding. His works are largely concentrated in Barcelona, 7 of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most notably his great and still incomplete masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia.
Antoni Gaudi was born in Riudoms or Reus in 1852. He was the youngest of 5 children and one of 3 that survived to adulthood. His exact place of birth is a mystery because no supporting documents were found, causing controversy about him being born in Reus or Riudoms. He had a great appreciation for his homeland and pride in his heritage, thinking that Mediterranean people were creative and had a subconscious sense for design.
As a child Gaudi suffered from rheumatism and general poor health which possibly contributed to his reserved character. These health issues and the theories of hygienist Dr. Kneipp facilitated Gaudi’s change to vegetarianism. His religion and vegetarianism contributed to him undertaking several long fasts which were often unhealthy and in 1894 led to fatal illness.
His professional life was very distinctive in fact of him never ceasing to investigate mechanical buildings and structures. Gaudi was especially inspired by oriental arts (Indian, Japanese, Persian etc.) early on through studying historical architectural theoreticians like Walter Pater, William Morris and John Ruskin. These influences can be seen in some of his earlier works like the Guell Palace and the Capricho, though he later on adhered to the Neo-Gothic movement that was fashionable at the time. This can be seen in the crypt and apse of the Sagrada Familia but eventually Gaudi started a more personal phase with organic design inspired by nature which he would employ in his later works.
Gaudi spent 1875-1878 serving his compulsory military service in Barcelona as a Military Administrator, with most of it on sick leave, allowing him to continue with his drawing and studies. He studied architecture at the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture and the Llotja School and graduated in 1878. To pay for his studying expenses he worked as a draughtsman for various constructors and architects such as Leandre Serrallach, Fransisco de Paula Villar y Lozano and Joan Martorell. As well as architecture, Gaudi studied history, philosophy, economics and French with...