The Colonia Güell has become one of the main references when it comes to studying the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Therefore, it is not surprising that it has become one of the most interesting and important modernist ensembles in Catalonia. In particular, it is a small working colony located in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, within the province of Barcelona. It has been considered as a Cultural Interest since 1991 and the most important building that enjoys special protection by the public authorities due to its great patrimonial value. We will analyse its architecture in detail in order to understand it better.
The Colonia Güell has a marked modernist style within the scope of industrial and civil architecture. In fact, there are the most identifiable elements of this artistic movement, such as the use of brick, which served as a vindication of typical Catalan architecture, and the incorporation of iron and ceramics into the amalgam of construction materials.
Photo: Canaan (Wikimedia)
Antoni Gaudí focused, mainly, on the Cripta building, which represents a high point within his work. In this sense, it has the peculiarity of unitarily incorporating all its architectural innovations. For this reason, it contains external hyperbolic paraboloid walls, catenary arches, dynamic interior spaces and fusion features within the construction that complements the surrounding nature. It should be noted that the church that is there and designed by this genius sets the foundations for what would later be the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona (Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia de Barcelona) as his great masterpiece.
It also includes many samples of the domain that Antoni Gaudí had on the ornamental elements and furniture, which are reflected in benches with recliners and unique spaces. Also, the windows incorporate mosaics and ornaments with clear religious symbolism. Special mention should be made of the large number of materials used, among which are limestone and basalt stones, foundry slag, burned bricks, mortars and glass.
The Colonia Güell does not only serve as an example with which to illustrate the greatness of the works carried out by Antoni Gaudí, but also that of many other prestigious architects. And it is that Francesc de Berengue and Joan Rubió also contributed their grain of sand in that, as a whole, is considered as a benchmark within Catalan modernism. In short, an authentic masterpiece that, surprisingly, is quite unknown to the average public.