|Wall at the front of Park Guell|
|Roof of the Pavello de Consergeria|
|Window on the Pavello de Consergeria at the entrance to the park|
|Tiled wall flanking the entry staircase|
In the end only two houses were built and the development as a residential garden city failed and the project was abandoned. It was later deeded to the city as a public park.
|Straight columns support tree wells, while angled Stone columns support access roads in Park Guell|
|Spiraling stone columns|
At one point the road becomes an elevated bridge with rustic stone columns planted with agaves. Between the columns are benches with angled backs for resting and taking in the expansive views of Barcelona. The forms in all of the architectural elements are curvaceous and organic, creating an explicit bond to forms in nature.
|Agaves planted in stone columns on an elevated roadway|
|Entry Staircase to Park Guell|
The entrance to the park is through gates leading to a dramatic white tiled staircase that wrap around two tiled fountains, one with a wolf or dog mask dripping water in to a grotto and another with a lizard/dragon like figure covered in colorful tile mosaic that is emblematic of the park. This staircase leads to the Sala Hipostila, what was intended to be a marketplace, with 88 massive Doric columns supporting a white mosaic tiled ceiling with inset colored glass medallions. The space has the feeling of a forest plantation of trees. The columns are hollow so that water can flow through them in to a cistern underneath the structure for storing rain run off.
|Mosaic ceiling of the Hipostila|
|Glass mosaic medallion in the ceiling of the Hipostila|
On top of the market space is a broad earthen paved terrace bordered by an undulating mosaic tiled bench in the form of a serpent. The bench is covered in broken tile, which was used for its artistic expressive qualities and for the relative economy of using large quantities of scrap tile. This method is called Trencadis, thus the Catalan name for the bench 'Banc de Trencadis'. It is said to be the longest bench in the World. It is also said that in creating the ergonomic form for the bench, Gaudi had workmen press their naked buttocks in to wet clay. I have unfortunately found no historical photos to support this claim! The benches have raised oval bumps evenly spaced along the seating area to allow for the bench to dry quickly after rains. They are as a result very comfortable to sit on.
|Oval bumps and drain hole incorporated in to the benches design to keep the seating dry|
|Banc de Trencadis, Park Guell|
|White enameled ceramic circles replacing what were once ceramic plates|
After my first visit to Park Guell in 1987 I returned to Portland and taught myself how to cut and set tile mosaic, and built a number of projects, including two clients kitchens, and my bathroom, which took two years to complete. I also covered my chimney with tile to conjure the memory of Gaudi's fantastic chimneys. I cut all of my tile using hand nippers, which in the end gave me extreme tendonitis. I brought back an old tile cutting hammer from Morocco which I will have to try out because I am going to have to start doing tile work again now that my head is filled with new visions of trencadis.
I went over the entire length of the Banc de Trencadis obsessively to record these photos of every part that spoke to me for it's inherent beauty. Enjoy the gallery of images. Gracias, Jeffrey
|Curves in the bench make for intimate social spaces in an expansive area|
|The back side has a gutter that collects rain water and a chip bag|
|A Carob Tree behind the Banc|
|The two ends of the Banc de Tencadis are lovely planters|
|My favorite parts are actually on the back side!|
|My favorite photo from that day!|
|The Guard house tower rises above the edge of the Banc de Trencadis at sunset with a panoramic view of Barcelona|