Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

b. 27.03.1886 d. 17.08.1969

Mies van der Rohe was a pioneering German architect whose work was at the forefront of the modernist design movement. Mies van der Rohe was the director of the Bauhaus school of art and design from 1930-1933. After leaving Germany he moved to America where he was able to realise his dream of building a skyscraper, something that was not possible in Germany ( in the war years under Hitler’s reign over Germany).

He became the head of an architectural school in Chicago, and continued his work in the USA.

I think every person who reads this will know something of the work of Mies van der Rohe, either by his famous Barcelona chair (commonly seen in black).


Or by his very famous quotes:

“God is in the detail” Mies van der Rohe

Wait for it, this one you will definitely know:

“Less is more” Mies van der Rohe


Sagrada Familia

DSC05566The Sagrada Familia – Antoni Gaudi – 1882 – Current Day

This wonderful building has been under construction for 136 years and is not due to be completed until 2026. The project will be completed to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Gaudi’s death.

Gaudi took over the design and building of this cathedral in 1883 and spent 43 years of his life working on it. He even moved in to his study in later years and spent the last years of his life living there, devoting his life solely to its work.

DSC05365The Nativity facade.

The detail in this building and in this facade particularly is mind blowing. The facade depicts scenes from the nativity. I have since read a lot more about this building in a book I bought called “The Basilica Of The Sagrada Familia” (the Visual Edition)  by Dosde Publishing which is very detailed and explains all elements of the building in great detail.DSC05367DSC05369DSC05372Pictures from the Cathedral’s interior belowDSC05393DSC05417DSC05421The vaults that you can see in this column enabled Gaudi to build this building without the traditional method of buttresses. These vaults provide support for the building and also an interesting interior space designed to look like a forest. You can see in this picture that the vaults divide and multiply just like tree branches.DSC05429The helmets upon the above figures (the Soldiers) remind me very much of some of the chimneys designed for the Casa Mila (a private residence designed by Gaudi), I have since read in the book about the Sagrada Familia (mentioned above) That the inspiration did in fact come from those chimneys and was also done so in homage to Gaudi.DSC05428DSC05431DSC05435These hard lined sculptures on the passion facade are very different to the shapes on the other facades. I found out in the museum that the passion facade is all about the crucifixion of Jesus. The blunt, harsh lines of all of the sculpture work on this facade was designed to depict the mourning and suffering caused by these events.DSC05559Workshop of the Sagrada Familia

DSC05445DSC05458The School building, set in the grounds of the Sagrada Familia, designed by Gaudi for local children and children of the cathedral’s workers.DSC05477DSC05479

Park Guell

DSC05313Park Guell – Antoni Gaudi – 1914

Gaudi was commissioned by his good friend Eusebi Guell to design the park and the individual residences that were due to be built here.

The land was bought by Guell and his intention was to build a community for the wealthy of Barcelona in a natural setting outside of the city. Designs for the park were based upon the idea of the English garden cities, whereby people could escape the urban city life and live in a more natural environment. 60 plots were due to be built in this parkland setting. The development was eventually stopped by Guell in 1914 for a number of reasons, largely due to Guell’s strict restrictions on the site. The main being that he would not allow public transport into the park which made the park very difficult to access, and put people off buying plots on the site. The park remained as it is today and upon Guell’s death was bought by Barcelona council and opened up as a wonderful public space that is now a UNESCO World heritage site.

DSC05232DSC05242DSC05268Some pictures taken from the park’s outskirtsdsc05344.jpgThis was the home of Eusebi Guell and was the only property already on the land when it was bought by Guell in 1885.


The two buildings above are the only designed by Gaudi, the porters lodge (left) and the administration building for the site (right)


The two buildings above are the only two are the only plots that were sold, neither were designed by Gaudi. The pink building on the left was eventually bought by Gaudi. He lived there with his niece and it is now a Gaudi museum. The house on the right was built on two of the park’s plots and it sits on the hillside on the outskirts of the park. It is privately owned and is still owned by the family that bought the original land.


 A few examples of the many details of this spectacular park

DSC05300DSC05292DSC05298DSC05325Perhaps the most glorious park of the park is the serpentine bench shown above and below in more detail.



Guell Palace

DSC06232Guell Palace – Antoni Gaudi – 1888

The stunning rooftop is one of the many amazing feature of this building. Designed by Gaudi for his friend Eusebi Guell this is one of the many projects that Guell commissioned Gaudi to design.

The detail in this incredible building is not only present on it’s rooftop, but from the very beginning with its entrance and continues up through all six floors until you reach the stunning finale.


the above are all details that can be found at the buildings entrance.

DSC06006DSC06017DSC06020Even the stables are amazing.dsc060411.jpgDSC06054DSC06060As we move up the building it only gets better.


DSC06207Simply stunning!






Day 4

Barcelona Day 4

This is the lovely footbridge that we walk over on the way to the metro station.DSC05990I think that I exercised the art of compromise very well today. Two amazing Gaudi buildings, in exchange for one.

We had planned to see the Casa Mila and the Casa Batllo today but due to cost and taking into account what my friend wanted to do we decided to go to the Palau Guell (and I have actually been to the other two before, so I thought this was a fair compromise).

DSC05995The building has a modest entrance but looking closely at the iron work all of the Gaudi detail is there.

Look at these amazing details.

The tour starts at the very bottom with the stables.DSC06017DSC06020DSC06006I’m not sure what I was expecting from this building. All that I previously knew of it was the roof top with the famously designed Gaudi chimneys. I can honestly say that I was surprised and blown away by the beauty of this building and the interiors, but then it does have the word palace in its title.dsc06041.jpgDSC06054DSC06060DSC06064

This bullding was Gaudi’s first commission from Guell. Gaudi collaborated with other craftsman and designers to complete this building.DSC06071This fireplace (along with a few others that look very similar to this one) was designed by Gaudi.

DSC06097After six Glorious floors, this is it! We are about to step outside onto the Wonderful roof of the Palau Guell. I cannot remember how long I have waited for this moment. Last time I was here I remember that the building was closed for some reason.DSC06207DSC06158DSC06152DSC06161DSC06227Wow! Is all I can say, definitely worth the wait.DSC06149 2This is definitely my Favourite chimneyDSC06162Some more great views of the city.

After the Palau Guell we needed a sit down and some food as we spent about two hours walking around the building and listening to the very informative audio guide.

A little unsure of what to do next, and fast running out of funds we decided to find the music hall, the Palau De La Music. After walking there we arrived twenty minutes too late for the last tour of the day. Unfortunately access to the inside of the building is by guided tour or by going to a performance only. But we did get some lovely exterior shots, and it does leave me with something to do on my next visit to Barcelona.DSC06280DSC06298

A little bit of art deco detailing  in this very nouveau city.DSC06321Just time for a few more pics along the way.DSC06242

DSC06250DSC06252dsc06253.jpgDSC06254So unfortunately for me that is pretty much it for this visit to Barcelona. Now there is only time, (and enough money) for a coffee and a quiet night in.

DSC06335Well almost it, I can never resist a photo opportunity.

Barcelona you’ve been utterly fabulous and even more amazing than I remembered. Farewell, until we meet  again!

Day 3

Barcelona  Day 3

Today’s itinerary is a change in the Gaudi schedule. We ventured a little further out of the city today to visit a building designed by one of my absolute favourite architects, Mies Van Der Rohe. The Barcelona/German pavilion is a building that I have never visited before however I have seen the scale model of it (which is housed in the Bauhaus Archive Museum, Berlin) three times! As you can imagine I am very excited to see the real thing. As we exit the metro station I am already very pleasantly surprised by what I can see. Here are some pictures from the surrounding area.dsc05629.jpgdsc05632.jpgdsc05634.jpgDSC05642DSC05648

                 I absolutely love the carvings of the sheep like creature on the pillar above.

Whilst walking around and enjoying the surroundings I am pleased that the Pavilion is not too far away and am very excited when I see it from the corner of my eye. It is not as I would have expected to find it. It is serenely tucked away in a corner of the square, which seems quite fitting. You have to stand and wait to be served by the attendant, who sits there in a Mies Van Der Rohe designed cantilever chair.

DSC05734As a lesser known attraction there weren’t many people around which was great, but I still had to wait ages to get the shots I wanted.DSC05675DSC05676DSC05695DSC05670DSC05711The Barcelona chair, (and stool) my personal favourite in chair design history. This chair was designed specifically for the pavilion in 1929 by Mies Van Der Rohe in collaboration with another designer, Lilly Reich.DSC05680DSC05732We spent longer than expected at the pavilion and in the shop! After we left we thought we might try and find the Olympic Telecommunications tower (or the white sculpture thingy as I had been referring to it). As we came out of the station I saw it on the skyline and it’s something that had previously caught my eye, not only that I was sure that I had seen it in the 1001 building book.

We walked further and further and further up the hill. As I finally saw it in full view I decided that it could not be that far away and I’d come this far… there was no going back now. I also hoped/dreamed that there would be a cafe up here. I was wrong!!!DSC05748We made it to the sculpture and we walked around the olympic park areaDSC05778DSC05806By the sweetest of coincidences we then found a shack with a few chairs so we were able to sit and have some water and an ice cream.DSC05810I found this bell (next to the ice cream shack) quite interesting.

I have since found out that not only is the telecommunications tower in the book but It was designed by a famous architect, Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava is an architect that I learnt about at university. I have seen many pictures and am very interested in his work.DSC05801What is also very interesting about his tower is its fan shaped white base.DSC05795DSC05797It didn’t occur to me at the time what its purpose was or why it was there. I have since found out from the book ‘1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die’ that Calatrava designed this base using the ‘Trencadis’ approach (a technique developed by Gaudi) with white mosaic tiles to pay homage to work of Gaudi.

I found this incredibly moving, what better way to reflect the city than with a beautiful contemporary monument but with the added tribute to the city’s architectural and Catalonian born master Antoni Gaudi.

On our way back down the hill after failing to flag a taxi down we followed signs to a metro station and came across an escalator….DSC05829DSC05830…. And anotherDSC05819Until we end up hereDSC05824Which is actually here!DSC05642DSC05855And there is another escalator (look to the right hand side, by the trees) right down to the bottom. why walk up a hill/ mountain (Mount Montjuic) when you can get an escalator! Hindsight is a Wonderful thing!

Some more pictures and details from this lovely area.

The rest of our afternoon was spent back in the Gothic Quarter.DSC05869DSC05870DSC05873DSC05889

A few more samples of what the gothic quarter has to offer.

We went back to our hotel early today to have a little rest before going out again this evening on a trip to another mountain.

This is it (as seen from near our hotel)IMG_1015We got a taxi up to Tibidabo, (which was surprisingly cheap). When we got up there there was snow on the ground, I know it’s high up but I didn’t realise it was that high up. It was a beautiful and hot sunny day in the city!

Although very chilly it was worth it to see the cathedral, (the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) and to get some great views of the city.DSC05939

          Another highly detailed, beautiful cathedral.

DSC05952Stunning view of the city.DSC05948Doesn’t look like such a big hill now!DSC05950I thought I could get to this observatory, looked quite close, I can see now it’s miles away.DSC05958And of course I can never resist the urge to take a picture of my fav!

Well that’s it for another day but I have to say I’m very impressed by what we have achieved. Two mountains and two buildings from the book. Great day.