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Antoni Gaudí
August 3, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

"Hiroshi Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudi is a spare, astonishing, and haunting documentary on the designs of famed turn of the century Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926). A profound influence on the Spanish art nouveau movement, Gaudi's sensual adaptation of Gothic, Middle Eastern, and traditional architecture is a truly a unique artistic vision. Teshigahara immerses the viewer into Gaudi's unorthodox vision using lingering takes and mesmerizing panning sequences, accompanied by an equally eclectic soundtrack that vacillates from lyrical symphony to disquieting near silence. The film, largely structured without verbal narrative, unfolds as a figurative mosaic of Gaudi's early influences and nascent vision in the mid 1800's - from an overview of the Catalonian culture, to the contemporary works of other prominent architects, to the medieval art and architecture pervasive in the region." (Janus/Criterion, 1:12, color)
posted by puny human (15 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool, thanks! I've never been to Barcelona; seeing the work on film is so vastly superior to the carefully composed shots you normally see.
posted by Casimir at 9:41 AM on August 3, 2011


Oh I learned this trick in Barcelona. . . lets see. . . designs of famed turn of the century Spanish Catalan architect, Antonio Gaudi.

They were right, that's kind of fun.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 9:54 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amazing. Thank you.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:05 AM on August 3, 2011


Gaudi's basilica, the Sagrada Família, is the only church that has ever pulled a "holy mother of god!!!" from my atheist lips as I walked through the main door.

Your brain needs time to catch up with what you know you are seeing - but simply cannot believe. And that pause feels...wonderful.

I can't wait to watch this - biographies of Gaudi are oddly thin and his life - though fascinating - brims with contradictions. (My first trip to Barcelona was just this year. Like most tourists I was shocked to discover the most famous fact about his death in 1926 at the age of 73. He was knocked down in the street by a tram on the way to mass & was so shabbily dressed -also with no identity papers - no one knew who he was. It was assumed at the time he was "only" a mortally injured tramp and not the world-famous Catalan. His identity was discovered in time for his funeral a few days later and it was, at least, an appropriate elaborate affair.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:39 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, definitely going to have to watch this. I've always been fascinated by his architecture and know very little about his background and influences.
posted by immlass at 11:51 AM on August 3, 2011


Etsuro Sotoo, a Japanese sculptor has been carrying out the finishing work on the Sagrada Familia for three decades (and converted to Catholicism in the process). Odd/interesting, this nippo-catalan connection.
posted by progosk at 12:13 PM on August 3, 2011


oops: connection.
posted by progosk at 12:16 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


another connection
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:41 PM on August 3, 2011


My wife is on a cruise that leaves from Barcelona this week. She just saw Sagrada Familia and basically had your reaction, Jody Tresidder.

Yay for Hiroshi Teshigahara!
posted by infinitewindow at 1:53 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always find myself wondering about the engineering and craftsmanship side of Gaudì's works. Apart from the vey evident inspirations he was drawign from, did he proceed by architectural instinct in shaping the structure of his buildings, or was there an inordinate amount of complex calculation that gave him the certainty it was possible to even build (let alone stably build) what he was thinking of? And then: once his designs were decided, how on earth was his dialectic with the craftspeople, to convince them that what he had dreamt up was feasible, creatable? And how did things not become impossibly expensive?
posted by progosk at 2:16 PM on August 3, 2011


Strangely enough, I was in Barcelona several weeks ago. I had a chance to visit La Sagrada Familia and the Pedrera house.

The Pedrera interior and Familia basement museums details a lot of his process. Gaudi was fairly meticulous about the mathematics involved in his furniture making and architecture. I remember seeing plans for a number of his furniture pieces and how he was very particular about dimensions and measurements, especially when it came to ergonomics.

He also created a number of ingenious inverted chained-linked, small-scale replicas of the spires and foundation of La Sagrada Familia. By hanging the model inverted along with mirrors and shadow, Gaudi tried to get a more firm sense of the stability of such architecture without the full expense of materials.
posted by seppyk at 2:24 PM on August 3, 2011


I always find myself wondering about the engineering and craftsmanship side of Gaudì's works. Apart from the vey evident inspirations he was drawign from, did he proceed by architectural instinct in shaping the structure of his buildings, or was there an inordinate amount of complex calculation that gave him the certainty it was possible to even build (let alone stably build) what he was thinking of? And then: once his designs were decided, how on earth was his dialectic with the craftspeople, to convince them that what he had dreamt up was feasible, creatable? And how did things not become impossibly expensive?

There's a famous model of Sagrada Familia (currently kept in the basement museum on site) that Gaudi built, which is essentially the building built upside down with weights and cables. The structure is based on the catenary arch (similar to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis), which means that everything is specifically designed to be as close to being in pure compression as possible, which is ideal for a stone masonry structure. Also, architects generally get all the credit for their buildings, but there are a lot of guys working behind the scenes that don't get the same recognition. Although I don't know of them, it's entirely possible that there were structural engineers working on the project that just aren't as widely known as Gaudi. Also, a lot of Gaudi's methods were already in use in Catalonia (especially his vaulting techniques), so the craftsmen were just using the same language they'd always used, just in new situations. Of Gaudi's buildings, I think Sagrada Familia is probably the least structurally intuitive. Most other things are pretty standard, but all decorated up.

Like many in here, I was also recently in Barcelona, at the end of May. In my architectural classes, we always saw the same old photos of Sagrada Familia, so my mind was completely blown when I discovered that there's actually an inside now, and it's completely awesome. We also went to Parc Guell, which was quite nice.
posted by LionIndex at 3:39 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the video, puny human - I need to save it for now, but I will indeed watch and enjoy it.

I enjoy hearing everyone's comments about Sagrada Familia because it totally gobsmacked me when I saw it, too - a visceral reaction. It's utterly breathtaking, I had no idea of the scale in advance. And I love that in this modern era, a church construction is requiring more than a century to build much in the way that medieval cathedral construction spanned one or more centuries. I hope to go visit it again as it nears completion.

Barcelona is a fabulous city. I visited quite a few other Gaudi masterpieces - Park Guell, Casa Batlo, and La Predera, where his beautiful chimneys are said to have inspired George Lucas's stormtroopers. I haven't found a confirmation of that, but see what you think!
posted by madamjujujive at 4:40 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Inverted catenary arch
posted by dragonsi55 at 6:15 PM on August 3, 2011


Connection 3
posted by tetsuo at 7:50 AM on August 4, 2011


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