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Park Güell, Gaudí landscaping Barcelona.

Antoni Gaudí based his project on the English garden-city model and imported it to Barcelona in the early 20th century. Between 1900 and 1914, the architectural genius injected it with small doses of geniality until he completed a unique work combining architecture and landscape. The Park was designed as a luxury residential estate for Barcelona's upper-middle classes, and was supposed to include 60 family homes.

The architect chose Muntanya Pelada (Bald Mountain) above the village of Gracia, as the site for his project. The geographical location boasted breathtaking views of Barcelona but the ground was uneven and stony, devoid of natural elements and water, meaning that Gaudí had a great many obstacles to contend with. Far from viewing the geographical drawbacks as an enemy, Gaudí embraced them, and used the natural colours he saw around him as a source of inspiration, taking advantage of the steep slopes to create water channels and collectors. Unfortunately, his project didn't meet with enthusiasm and only Gaudí and the Trias and Güell families actually lived there.

Fortunately for us, this meant that, instead of a large housing development, the architect ended up creating avast garden, full of imagination, with leafy footpaths and windy lanes, which seem to reflect a utopian vision of a lost paradise. In the park grounds, a wood of holm oaks, pines, oleanders, viburnums and ivies ushers us into the huge plaza in the form of a Greek theatre, to sit for a while on the undulating bench designed by Josep Jujol, one of Gaudí's closest collaborators, which has been called the longest abstract painting in the world. The entire Park Güell is imbued with the ideas of symbiosis between man and nature, which Gaudí and his followers put into practice in their works. Gaudí's Dragon, the architect's museum-house, the stunning trencadís and the Chamber of Hundred Columns are some of the outstanding elements that catch our eye in the middle of these captivating surroundings which are midway between the bucolic and artistic.

However, the great value of the Park Güell lies in the fact that it has become a major open-air work, a grand garden where nature and human ingenuity merge.

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