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Glimpses of Gaudi

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GAUDI'S DREAM: La Sagrada Familia
GAUDI'S DREAM: La Sagrada Familia

KANCHI KOHLI

Barcelona, Spain, has unique architectural wonders, all designed by Antonio Gaudi.

"Gorge in Gaudi's City," that's what a friend had told me. Had she mis-spelt the name `gaudy' and was I in for trouble? I am not really an admirer of flashy and loud places. But then it struck me, she was referring to Antonio Gaudi, the Spanish Catalan architect. One of a kind!I had only heard of Antoni Gaudi, and never really paid attention to his work. A recent trip to Barcelona, Spain, gave me a glimpse of some of his unique architectural wonders. I loved the way he curved out his art.One of the first buildings we saw was La Pedrera (the Catalan word for stone quarry). Gaudi built it between 1906 and 1910. It was simply not what one would normally see in a building - no straight wall or perfectly aligned structures. Yet there was symmetry of thought and a logic, which seemed clear to Gaudi. Our guide drew our attention to the roadside lights and benches near the La Pedrera. On the top one saw intricately designed lights and at the bottom were benches. The zig zag design can take a while for a conventional mind, but there is a certain beauty in it.Another interesting sight was the La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family), which is a large Roman Catholic basilica, which continues to be under construction. It was Gaudi's dream but he was unable to complete it before his death in 1926. Only two of the 18 towers were constructed at that time, and work on the rest continues till date.

Be yourself

What fascinated me most about Gaudi was that he drew his inspiration from nature. It was something that touched me, as I too, draw a lot of strength from nature. I realised nothing in nature is in tune with conventional geometrical shapes. Perhaps that's why Gaudi's creations were based on angles and curves that can be found in the trees, rivers, seas and other elements. The rest of our stay in Barcelona was spent looking for Gaudi - his expression and his art in various nooks and corners of the city. I knew I missed out a lot including the Park Güell, in the northern part of the city.I was reminded of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, which is the story of Howard Roark, a brilliant architect who dares to stand alone and defy the conventional methodologies and ultimately finds a niche for himself. In life, there are many of us who give up on our beings, our ways of working, just because they don't conform to what is meant to be. A glimpse of Gaudi reminded me that the world can be discovered differently, inspiration can be unconventional, and dreams realised even in defiance.


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