Is Gaudi too Gaudy?


Contributed by Priyal Kotian, 1st Year Student of Architecture,  Dr. Baliram Hiray College of Architecture, Mumbai.

The first polite word that comes to mind when you see an Antoni Gaudi designed building is ostentatious. Indeed, his works are something that one cannot even begin to imitate. His philosophy is simple enough. Take what you see in nature and build around it. The outcome, though organic looking is not something that would feel at home, say, in a forest.

Antonio-Gaudi_JULUISIn a world where simplicity usually equals elegance, Gaudi’s works are nothing short of bizzare. But there is a certain je ne sais pas about what he has done to structures, the way he has made the structure come alive that you can’t help but fall in love with.

For instance, the Sagrada Familia still elicits as much of a thrill as it did, a hundred years ago, when al it was; was a concept on paper. It is one of the most polarising structures I have come across till date. But, then again, that could be true of everything Gaudi ever touched.

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia

The author, Ernest Hemingway, once called the Sagrada Familia a monstrosity. This, coming from someone whose words I have worshipped, was enough to influence my opinion on the building. It wasn’t until recently, when the news of the church being completed brought it back to the forefront of my mind. The efforts being put into completing something thought up so long ago, confused me. So I decided to see what the fuss was about.

Sagrada Familia  Roof detail
Sagrada Familia
Roof detail

To cut the story short, I changed my mind. The utter frankness of what Gaudi had designed, to take something from nature and not just replicate it but make it your own, the way he has used towering trees on the inside fascinated me. This wasn’t a man who designed something just to aggrandize it but someone who let what he loved, leak into his art.

This article is part of an ongoing series on the Masters, contributed by Students of Architecture as a part of their elective, “Architecture Journalism” curriculum. This is a heartfelt attempt by Gallopper to bridge the gap between academicia and the industry. Readers are welcome to suggest other ways in which we can engage students. Please write to us at