Palau Güell | Barcelona Bus Turístic

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Palau Güell

Gaudí’s first major work of art

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Antoni Gaudí’s first major work, where he experimented with some of his most characteristic building elements. A commission from his patron, Eusebi Güell, the Güell palace stands out due to its impressive facade, the use of ornamental forms and the innovative conception of space and light.

Why visit Palau Güell?

Palau Güell, in the Raval district, was the first major construction by Antoni Gaudí and one of the first collaborations with the patron who would subsequently ask him to build the Park Güell: Eusebi Güell.

This seven-storey building, designed as a residence for the Güell family, was built from 1886 to 1890 and is a fine example of Modernista architecture adapted for domestic use. The first thing that draws your attention is its imposing facade, which features two monumental gates in the form of parabolic arches that are adorned with a large wrought iron grille that represents the tails of two snakes moving down the perimeter of the arch to the ground. In the centre of each gate there is a shield, one bearing the letter ‘E’ and the other the letter ‘G’ for Eusebi Güell, over a lyre with plant ornamentation.

The building is characterised by the richness of its spaces and a design that follows the lines of the architect’s orientalist period, with a predominance of Arabic, Byzantine and Mudejar forms both on the exterior and in the interior, and wood and iron coffered ceilings. In strictly constructive terms, Gaudí paid particular attention to aspects like lighting, ventilation and acoustic insulation from the exterior, trying out new building elements and procedures that he would subsequently apply to his later works.

Accordingly, the modelling of the transition surfaces between the parabolic arches and marble columns of the main hall anticipates the twisted surfaces of the vaults used for the Colònia Güell and the Sagrada Família. On the roof, there are twenty chimneys designed as sculptures, a technique also in evidence at Casa Vicens and Finca Güell and in an even more developed manner at La Pedrera and Casa Batlló. Palau Güell was also the first place that Antoni Gaudí used trencadís, the irregular broken-tile mosaic that was one of the characteristic features of his architecture.

Palau Güell was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

 

How do you get to Palau Güell?

Hop off at the Colom – Museu Marítim stop on the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic and stroll up La Rambla to Carrer Nou de la Rambla, the street where Palau Güell is located.

 

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? In addition to the jaw-dropping fungiform columns with grooved bricks in the basement of Palau Güell, take a look at the details, because this space is a masterful example of Gaudí’s skill. During its creation he took into account the need for ventilation and equipped it with a system of holes that give onto the exterior of the street and the internal courtyard.
  • Local’s tip: Palau Güell organises themed visits, in which a specialist guide provides a detailed explanation of one of the building’s most important features, such as the 20 chimneys.
  • A must: To immerse yourself in Gaudí’s works and understand his evolution.