June 17, 2013

0683 SPAIN (Catalonia) - Crypt at the Colònia Güell - part of Works of Antoni Gaudí (UNESCO WHS)

Crypt at the Colònia Güell is an unfinished work by Antoni Gaudí, built as a place of worship for the people in a manufacturing suburb in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, near Barcelona. Colònia Güell was the brainchild of Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, Count of Güell, the main patron and lifetime friend of Gaudí, but only the crypt was finished (between 1908 and 1916), because the textile industrialist lost the profits from his business, and the money ran out. This is one of the architect's most studied works and a precedent for many of the solutions used in Sagrada Familia.

Gaudí spent ten years working on studies for the design, and developing a new method of structural calculation. The outline of the church was traced on a wooden board (1:10 scale), which was then placed on the ceiling of a house next to the work site. Cords were hung from the points where columns were to be placed, and sacks filled with pellets, weighing one ten-thousandth part of the weight the arches would have to support, were hung from each catenaric arch formed by the cords. Photographs were taken of the resulting model from various angles, and the exact shape of the church's structure was obtained by turning them upside-down.

In this church, Gaudí confirmed the validity of the theories that would in the end define his own style. Here, we find construction systems that he later applied to his greatest work, the Sagrada Familia. They include, for example, the inclined columns of the crypt and entry portico. These columns are made of basalt, brought from Castellfollit de la Roca, where they were cut according to the dimensions that Gaudí requested. In 2000, local architects set about repairing the crypt, but this has not been done in an appropriate way. The architect Antonio González Moreno was finally fired in 2008 for his lamentable restoration of the crypt.

Crypt at the Colònia Güell is a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1984, as part of Works of Antoni Gaudí, about which I wrote here.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting Ibiza, biodiversidad y cultura (Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture), is part of a series dedicated to the World Heritage Sites (Patrimonio mundial de la humanidad), about which I wrote here. The second stamp, depicting the sculpture Reina Mariana XII, is part of the series Arte Contemporáneo - Manolo Valdés (Contemporary Art - Manolo Valdés), about which I wrote here.

Colonia Güell - Gaudi Designer
The Crypt of the Church of Colònia Güell (1898-1916) - Gaudi and Barcelona Club

Sender: Fabienne (direct swap)
Sent from Madrid (Madrid / Spain), on 25.09.2012
Photo: Pere Vivas

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