COLONIA GÜELL – A visit into an ideal world

Gaudi's Church On Monday a short train ride out of Barcelona, in a north westerly direction, took me to another world:  Colonia Güell.

As the western world evolved into the second phase of the Industrial Revolution the masses were making legitimate demands on improvements to their working conditions. This resulted in social conflicts including violent protests.  In 1890, as a response to these unrests, the Catalan industrialist, Eusebi Güell, established an industrial colony, by moving his textile industry away from the atmosphere of unrest in Barcelona to his Can soler de la Torre property in Santa Coloma de Cervelló.  This was a community fitted out with the most modern technology of the times.  The workers’ houses, alongside the factory, formed an urban centre with cultural and religious facilities.

Factory Manager's Home

Factory Manager’s Home

The Workers' Co-operative

The Workers’ Co-operative

Different leading architects (Berenguer, Rubió and Gaudi) created the Centre Sant  Luis (a cultural centre), the Ateneu Unió (a theatre), the consumers co-operative, the school with the school master’s residence, the secretary’s house, the doctor’s residence and surgery and the parish house as well other outstanding buildings.

In 1908 Gaudi commenced on the construction of the church.  This ambitious project, which included two naves, one upper and one lower, finished off in different towers and ciborium, remained unfinished with only the lower nave completed and popularly called the “crypt” although it is not the resting place of any human remains.  For the first time, however, this building includes practically all of Gaudi’s architectural innovations in one location.

Bell Tower

Bell Tower

Tower and windows

Tower and windows

Altar & Choir Loft

Altar & Choir Loft

Every element had its function in the Colony in a project that was cheap: the production of corduroy and velvet.  The framework, however, was a model of society inspired in the social Christianity of the times and for the first time, the social and economic life of the worker and his family was guaranteed.

The textile industry ground to a halt in 1973 and the factory was closed down at that time. Life in the Colony continues to thrive with many of the prominent buildings having been turned into private residences.  How unfortunate that those who love to see the works of Gaudí do not come here for his church (Crypt) encapsulates The Sagrada Familia in a much more simplistic and absorbable form.  The pillars, the columns, the stained glass windows, just to mention a few features, are all here: a beautiful miniature, reflecting his creative talents.

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2 Responses to COLONIA GÜELL – A visit into an ideal world

  1. Sharon says:

    Just another day in paradise for our intrepid traveller…

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