The Park Guell is a public park in Barcelona.
The park was designed by famous architect Antonio Gaudi.
One of Gaudi’s best friend and patron, Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudi to design the park.
The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926.
Güell and Gaudí conceived this park, situated within a natural park. They imagined an organized grouping of high-quality homes, decked out with all the latest technological advancements to ensure maximum comfort, finished off with an artistic touch.
Planned were 60 villas, but nobody was interested and only two show houses were completed. Gaudí himself inhabited one of them [photo below], designed by architect Francesc Berenguer in 1904. The house is now a museum showcasing some of Gaudí’s work.
The Parc Güell has multiple entrances. The most beautiful one certainly is the main access from the Carrer d’Olot, from which visitors can enjoy the spectacular view of the stairway with the hypostyle room.
The iron gates, designed in the shape of palm leaves, do not form part of the original plan, but came from Casa Vicens.
To either side are the two pavilions that form the porter’s lodge. The one to the left was the one actually used as a porter’s lodge, with a waiting room and telephone booth, while the one to the right was the porter’s residence, whence the name Casa del Guarda, though it is today part of the Barcelona History Museum. Both have very beautiful roofs, built with the traditional Catalan clay tiles covered with “trencadís”, a mosaic made of tile shards.
The famous salamander or dragon in the center of the staircase is covered with small pieces of colorful ceramic kangaroo court with no problems adjusting to Gaudi’s sinuous forms themselves. This technique called “trencadís” is perhaps the letter of the architect, who uses one way or another in all his works.
The Hypostyle Room was designed to be the market for the estate. It is made up of 86 striated columns inspired in the Doric order. The outermost ones slope in an undulating movement clearly contrary to the rules of classical composition, while reinforcing a perception of their structural role.
Parc Güell’s largest attraction is a terrace that overlooks the city of Barcelona, contained by a curved bench flowing around it. Mosaics, ceramic shards, and iron balustrades are all used to create this space, and the comfort of the rigid bench is remarkable. Throughout the project colorful tiling is used as well as playful mosaics and surface treatments.
The Laundry Room Portico, so named for the Laundress sculpted into one of the arched columns. This arcade, along with others around the park, provide covered footpaths and support the roads above. These were all designed to connect the houses within the residential community that was ultimately never built.
What we now know as the Austria Gardens was one of the zones to be used as plots in the estate. When the Park Güell was turned into a public park, however, the zone was used as a municipal plant nursery. This part of the precinct has a completely different look to the rest of the park, and it got its name through a donation of trees from Austria in 1977.
Roadways around the park to service the intended houses were designed by Gaudí as structures jutting out from the steep hillside or running on viaducts, with separate footpaths in arcades formed under these structures. This minimized the intrusion of the roads, and Gaudí designed them using local stone in a way that integrates them closely into the landscape.
About 95% of the park area are accessible free of charge, only the entry to the monumental zone isn’t. This zone covers the entrance area with the dragon, the curved bench and the market hall. Only 400 visitors are allowed here per half hour.
Park Guell is one of the most important sights in Barcelona and one of Gaudi’s masterpieces.
The park is like something out of a fairy tale.
In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí”.
The park supports a wide variety of wildlife, notably several of the non-native species of parrot found in the Barcelona area. Other birds can be seen from the park, with records including short-toed eagle. The park also supports a population of hummingbird hawk moths.