03 March 2007

Park Güell

We arrived at the Park Güell, yet another Gaudí masterpiece, from above; that is, we reached it from the Vallcarca Metro stop and a series of extremely steep escalators that are pretty much the street Baixada de la Glòria. The stores at the "landings"/corners were closed, because there must be so much business in €1 bottles of water during the summer that the people who own the stores are laughing all the way to the bank during the winter.

When you get to the top of the hill, it's rather scummy, with the exception of the interesting varieties of cactus along the path. There is still more to walk up, although this is not really in the area designed by Gaudí. Still, from there, we had this lovely view and message from non-Catalan anarchist squatters (at least, their roof painting was not in Català), saying "Why call it tourist season if you can't shoot them?" and "occupy and resist":

The issue of affordable housing is something that is really afflicting the West these days, but it doesn't get enough media attention (one example here, though). For example, New York City has a dearth of affordable housing, and Europe is also at a critical point. It's a growing movement all over the place, and rightly so, because proposed solutions exist: hello, Bauhaus and Le Courbousier! It's like the last thing from modernism we still have left to revolutionize or at least, deal with. Of course, the elephant in the room is that affordable housing is not profitable enough for real estate developers: El Greedo strikes again.

I will not post the pictures of the famous undulating belvedere bench, but rather focus on the underside of it, which was much more interesting to me.

This caryatid of sorts holds up one of the viewpoints away from the main belvedere -- but it also incorporates catenary arches in a really Gothick way -- I'm thinking Strawberry Hill here. Underneath the main piazza of the park, there's this under-the-sea feeling with an undulating white tile ceiling held up by columns that of course are not your average static classical types.

Below are only three examples of trencadís in the Park Güell, but also all over almost every roof Gaudí did:

one of the gatehouses, kind of gingerbready.

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