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Observations placeholder

Gaudi - Professional work - 08 Colegio de las Teresianas



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Colegio de las Teresianas (1888-1890)

The Teresian College (Collegi de les Teresianes) (1888–1889) is in Barcelona's Carrer Ganduxer, and was commissioned by San Enrique de Ossó. This was a commission which Gaudí received after it had been started and, in fact, he respected most of this first phase. This and the fact that he had to work within a very limited budget, affected the design, but the ‘austere and sober’ result has much more to do with the fact this was a religious school belonging to the order of Saint Teresa and Gaudí simply fulfilled the wish of the order that the building should be austere, in keeping with their vows of poverty.  This is still a school to this day although entry is very limited.

Gaudí designed a simple building, using bricks for the exterior and some brick elements for the interior. Wrought ironwork, one of Gaudí's favourite materials, appeared on the facades. The building is crowned by a row of merlons.  A merlon is the solid upright section of a battlement in medieval architecture or fortifications. Merlons are sometimes pierced by narrow, vertical embrasures or slits designed for observation and fire.

The space between two merlons is called a crenel, and a succession of merlons and crenels is a crenellation.  There is thus a suggestion of a building in which entrance is opposed and vigorously defended.  As castles are symbolic of human bodies, it may be a subtle reference to the inmates vows of chastity.

But the crenellations also look a little like teeth, as such we may have multiple symbols at work here.

The corners have brick pinnacles topped by helicoidal columns and culminate in a four-armed cross, typical of Gaudí's works, and with ceramic shields bearing various symbols of the order. The interior includes a corridor which is famous for the series of catenary arches that it contains. These elegant arches are decorative and support the ceiling and the floor above. For Gaudí, the catenary arch was an ideal constructional element, capable of supporting great loads with slender masonry.

The source of the experience

Gaudí, Antoni

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps