Antoni Gaudí’s extraordinary urban park on the outskirts of Gràcia, Parc Güell was originally planned as a private housing estate of sixty dwellings, furnished with ornamental paths, recreational areas and decorative monuments. Gaudí worked on the project between 1900 and 1914 but in the end only two houses were actually built, and the park was officially opened to the public instead in 1922. Laid out on a hill, which provides fabulous views back across the city, the park is an almost hallucinatory expression of the imagination. Pavilions of contorted stone, giant decorative lizards, a vast Hall of Columns (intended to be the estate’s market), the meanderings of a huge ceramic bench – all combine in one manic swirl of ideas and excesses.
Casa Museu Gaudí
One of Gaudí’s collaborators, Francesc Berenguer, designed and built a turreted house within the park for the architect. In the Casa Museu Gaudí, his ascetic study and bedroom have been kept much as they were in his day, while other rooms display a diverting collection of furniture he designed for other projects – a typical mixture of wild originality and brilliant engineering.