A man of uncommon intelligence, Gaudí is considered the most emblematic architect of modernism, a word used to define a set of architectural styles that appeared in Europe in the early twentieth century. The son of a craftsman, Antoni Gaudí y Cornet was born in Reus in 1852. When Gaudí was growing up in Spain, the country was a monarchy struggling to become a republic. It was also grappling with the loss of its colonies and experiencing a serious economic crisis. In 1878 Gaudí earned a degree as an architect and that same year, in Barcelona, met industrialist Eusebi Güell, who would subsequently become his main client and patron. From that moment on Barcelona became Gaudí’s city, the place, as he himself said: “where we can add the signs of our own generation to those of the past.”One of his first assignments was to design workers’ housing as part of a town-planning project. After an initial phase of artistic growth, Gaudí first display the potential color could have in architecture with the Casa Vicens. [1878-80]
Starting in 1900 he began work on Park Güell, a garden village commissioned by his patron. This was to become one his most impressive works. Gaudí considered nature to be divine architecture, and his ambition was to create works that could communicate between God and mankind. This aspiration earned him the nickname God’s Architect. Inspired by Gothic architecture, all his buildings reach mystically for the sky. His most famous work is the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, which remains incomplete. The Nativity façade was the only one built under his supervision. Gaudí designed it in 1911, while suffering from incessant fevers. Only sketches and drawings of the other façades exist. Funding for the construction of the cathedral ran out in 1915. Gaudí believed so strongly in the project that he began begging. He labored tirelessly on the cathedral for forty-two years, until his death, reserving a small space inside the structure where he studied and worked, day and night. On June 7, 1926, Gaudí was run over by a tram. His ragged appearance led the ambulance team to mistake him for a beggar. They took him to the Sacred Cross hospital, built by the Catalan bourgeoisie for the poor. He died on June 10. [June 10, 1926]
He is buried in Barcelona, in the heart of the Sagrada Familia.