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    The Real Concrete Jungle

    The tree-like columns of one of the viaducts

    The tree-like columns of one of the viaducts

    Can you tell that one of our team recently went to Barcelona yet? Following on from our look at La Sagrada Familia, another work of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi is Park Guell, which is located on the hill of El Carmel in the Gracia district of Barcelona. Named after the entrepreneur Eusebi Guell (also mentioned in the previous article), who originally bought the land with the intention of turning it into a ‘garden city’ complete with housing. The housing idea never caught on, and the area eventually became a municipal park.

    As with La Sagrada Familia, the work makes good use of concrete to create interesting and naturalistic structures. In the so-called room of 100 columns (there are in fact only 86), there are lintels of reinforced concrete that divide the ceiling into squares, on which there are inscribed partial spheres covered with white ceramic. Concrete is also used extensively in the tree-like columns that hold up the viaducts, and in the bollards that accompany you on your walk down the Rosary Path.

    Gaudi’s grand vision for the park was to not adapt the landscape to suit the art, but to let the art adapt to the existing natural landscape. The famous viaducts were his solution to allow easy movement around the park, while preserving the mountain’s natural shape. The use of concrete in the viaducts helped him to accomplish this.

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