Antoni Gaudi was born on June 25 1852 on the Mediterranean coast of the Catalan region of Spain. He became one of the most prominent Catalan Spanish architects, and his works (seven of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites) can be seen in Barcelona and its surrounding regions to this day. Gaudi is known for his distinctive style, a trailblazer for Catalan Modernism, yet with his own individualized touches drawing inspiration from nature and Catholicism.
Gaudi had an interest in architecture in his early life, and decided to study the craft at the Provincial School of Architecture. When he graduated in 1878, the director of the Architecture School handed Gaudi his degree and said, “we have given this academic title to either a fool or a genius. Time will show”. As it turns out, time did show. Staging impressive showcases at the World Fair in 1878 in Paris helped to majorly kickstart Gaudi’s architecture career, and he was suddenly inundated by commissions. Gaudi’s works often featured juxtapositions of geometric masses, with patterned brick or stone surfaces featuring bright ceramic tiles. He started crafting anything from lampposts to domes throughout Barcelona.
In 1883, Gaudi was put in charge of building a massive cathedral in Barcelona called the Sagrada Familia. Plans had already been prepared for the project, but Gaudi took over and started from scratch with his distinct architectural style. For years, Gaudi had juggled multiple projects at once, but by 1915 his religious piety had deepened, and he dedicated his time entirely to the building of the Sagrada Familia. The project remained unfinished, sadly, since Gaudi was stuck by a tram and killed on his way to church in June of 1926. The completion of the cathedral in Barcelona continues to this day, and Gaudi is revered as an integral part of the city’s architectural history.