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  • Colònia Güell - Gaudí

Cripta Gaudí at the Colonia Güell

You'll find one of the architect Antoni Gaudí's most original buildings in the town of Santa Coloma de Cervelló, 23 km south-west of Barcelona: the crypt of an unfinished church that was used by the inhabitants of the Colònia Güell, a late 19th-century industrial village on the outskirts of Barcelona. Gaudí experimented with innovative architectural techniques in the crypt, which he would use in his later works.

In 1890, social unrest made it necessary for the industrialist and patron of the arts, Eusebi Güell, to move his textile mill to Santa Coloma de Cervelló. the new project involved the creation of an industrial village with amenities which would improve the workers' quality of life: terraced houses, an athenaeum, theatre, school, shops, gardens and church. some of the leading modernista architects of the day were involved in the construction of the village, resulting in highly beautiful spacious buildings. Antoni Gaudí was commissioned to design the church and his project consisted of an upper and lower nave, towers at the sides and a belfry measuring 40 m in height. In 1914, when the lower nave had been completed, the Güell family withdrew funding for the project. the church, now known as the crypt, included Gaudí's architectural innovations for the first time. catenary arches, outer walls and vaults in the shape of hyperbolic parabolas, decorative broken mosaic tiling, known as "trencadís", and the integration of materials into their natural surroundings.

The mill closed in 1973 due to the textile crisis. The more than twenty buildings that make up the Colònia Güell are in the process of being restored.

The Güell crypt was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2005 and was placed on the list of Cultural Assets of National Interest (BCIN) by the Catalan government in 1969. The Colònia Güell was added to the BCIN list in 1991.

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