Gaudi - Professional work - 16 Works that never saw the light of day
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
When assessing the buildings of Gaudi’s that still exist, it is important to also consider all those – and there were many, - that never saw the light of day because of the unimaginative resistance by authority, or simply reservations about whether the designs were even feasible. Many of Gaudi’s buildings have also been demolished, destroyed in fires or by developers too ignorant to realise what they had done.
And the Civil War resulted in appalling losses, deliberate fires and also simply destruction caused as a by-product of the fighting. There are some buildings whose design we will never know, in 1882, for example, he designed an entire Benedictine monastery whose plans were destroyed in the looting of the Sagrada Família in 1936.
There have been wonderful buildings demolished and sacrificed to road building. The pavilion for the Compañía Trasatlántica, was destroyed when the Passeig Marítim was opened up in 1960.
There is no doubt that the continuous lack of imagination and prevarication of his clients took its toll on him whilst he was alive. We can only be grateful that he did not see his creations destroyed in the way they were later after his death, and that we still have some of his works of genius left to enjoy.
Works that never saw the light of day or were destroyed
- Theatre in Sant Gervasi de Cassoles - In 1878 he drew up the plans for a theatre in the former town of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles (now a district of Barcelona); Gaudí did not take part in the construction of the theatre, which no longer exists.
- Gibert Pharmacy – 1879, Project for the construction and decoration of the chemist’s owned by Joan Gibert i Soler on Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona. The design consisted of a sign, two exterior display cases, a marquetry counter and a wooden bench. The establishment was demolished a few years later.
- Church of Sant Pacià - Between 1879 and 1881 he drew up a proposal for the decoration of the church of Sant Pacià, belonging to the Colegio de Jesús-María in Sant Andreu del Palomar: he created the altar in a Gothic style, the monstrance with Byzantine influence, the mosaics and the lighting, as well as the school's furniture. The church caught fire during the Tragic Week of 1909, and now only the mosaics remain, of "opus tesselatum", probably the work of the Italian mosaicist Luigi Pellerin.
- Church of the Colegio de Jesús-María in Tarragona - He was given the task of decorating the church of the Colegio de Jesús-María in Tarragona (1880–1882): he created the altar in white Italian marble, and its front part, or antependium, with four columns bearing medallions of polychrome alabaster, with figures of angels; the ostensory with gilt wood, the work of Eudald Puntí, decorated with rosaries, angels, tetramorph symbols and the dove of the Holy Ghost; and the choir stalls, which were destroyed in 1936.
- Lighting project for Barcelona's Muralla de Mar - In 1880 he designed an electric lighting project for Barcelona's Muralla de Mar, or seawall, which was not carried out. It consisted of eight large iron streetlamps, profusely decorated with plant motifs, friezes, shields and names of battles and Catalan admirals.
- San Sebastián social centre (now town hall) – In 1880, he participated in the competition for the construction of the San Sebastián social centre (now town hall), won by Luis Aladrén Mendivi and Adolfo Morales de los Ríos; Gaudí submitted a project that synthesised several of his earlier studies, such as the fountain for the Plaça Catalunya and the courtyard of the Provincial Council.
- Benedictine monastery - In 1882 he designed a Benedictine monastery and a church dedicated to the Holy Spirit in Villaricos (Cuevas de Vera, Almeria) for his former teacher, Joan Martorell. It was of neo-Gothic design, similar to the Convent of the Salesians that Gaudí also planned with Martorell. Ultimately it was not carried out, and the project plans were destroyed in the looting of the Sagrada Família in 1936.
- Pavilion for the Compañía Trasatlántica - On the occasion of the World Expo held in Barcelona in 1888, Gaudí constructed the pavilion for the Compañía Trasatlántica, property of the Marquis of Comillas, in the Maritime Section of the event. He created it in a Granadinian Nazari style, with horseshoe arches and stucco decoration; the building survived until the Passeig Marítim was opened up in 1960.
- Saló de Cent and the grand stairs in Barcelona City Hall - he received a commission from Barcelona Council to restore the Saló de Cent and the grand stairs in Barcelona City Hall, as well as a chair for the queen Maria Cristina; only the chair was made.
- Franciscana Catholic Missions for the city of Tangier - In 1892 Gaudí was commissioned by Claudio López Bru, second Marquis of Comillas, with the Franciscana Catholic Missions for the city of Tangier, in Morocco (at the time a Spanish colony). The project included a church, hospital and school, and Gaudí conceived a quadrilobulate ground-plan floor structure, with catenary arches, parabolic towers, and hyperboloid windows. Gaudí deeply regretted the project's eventual demise, always keeping his design with him. In spite of this, the project influenced the works of the Sagrada Família, in particular the design of the towers, with their paraboloid shape like those of the Missions.
- Chapel for the Güell family - In 1895 he designed a funerary chapel for the Güell family at the abbey of Montserrat, but little is known about this work, which was never built.
- The shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Reus - In 1900, for the shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Reus, Gaudí outlined a project for the renovation of the church's main facade, which ultimately was not undertaken, as the board considered it too expensive. Gaudí took this rejection quite badly, leaving some bitterness towards Reus, possibly the source of his subsequent claim that Riudoms was his place of birth.
- Casa Miralles - Between 1900 and 1902 Gaudí worked on the Casa Miralles, commissioned by the industrialist Hermenegild Miralles i Anglès; Gaudí designed only the wall near the gateway, of undulating masonry, with an iron gate topped with the four-armed cross. Subsequently, the house for Señor Miralles was designed by Domènec Sugrañes, associate architect of Gaudí.
- The house of Isabel Güell López - In 1901 Gaudí decorated the house of Isabel Güell López, Marchioness of Castelldosrius, and daughter of Eusebi Güell. Situated at 19 Carrer Junta de Comerç, the house had been built in 1885 and renovated between 1901 and 1904; it was destroyed by a bomb during the Civil War.
- The Bar Torino - The following year Gaudí took part in the decoration of the Bar Torino, property of Flaminio Mezzalana, located at 18 Passeig de Gràcia; Gaudí designed the ornamentation of el Salón Árabe of that establishment, made with varnished Arabian-style cardboard tiles (which no longer exist).
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria in Palma de Mallorca - A project of great interest to Gaudí was the restoration of the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Palma de Mallorca (1903–1914), commissioned by the city's bishop, Pere Campins i Barceló. Gaudí planned a series of works including removing the baroque altarpiece, revealing the bishop's throne, moving the choir-stalls from the centre of the nave and placing them in the presbytery, clearing the way through chapel of the Holy Trinity, placing new pulpits, fitting the cathedral with electrical lighting, uncovering the Gothic windows of the Royal Chapel and filling them with stained glass, placing a large canopy above the main altar and completing the decoration with paintings. This was coordinated by Joan Rubió i Bellver, Gaudí's assistant. Josep Maria Jujol and the painters Joaquín Torres García, Iu Pascual and Jaume Llongueras were also involved. Gaudí abandoned the project in 1914 due to disagreements with the Cathedral chapter.
- Chalet de Catllaràs - in 1904 he built the Chalet de Catllaràs, in La Pobla de Lillet, for the Asland cement factory, owned by Eusebi Güell. It has a simple structure though very original, in the shape of a pointed arch, with two semi-circular flights of stairs leading to the top two floors. This building fell into ruin when the cement works closed, and when it was eventually restored its appearance was radically altered, the ingenious original staircase being replaced with a simpler metal one.
- Commissions from the painter Lluís Graner - In 1904, commissioned by the painter Lluís Graner, he designed the decoration of the Sala Mercè, in the Rambla dels Estudis, one of the first cinemas in Barcelona; the theatre imitated a cave, inspired by the Coves del Drac (Dragon's Caves) in Mallorca. Also for Graner he designed a detached house in the Bonanova district of Barcelona, of which only the foundations and the main gate were built, with three openings: for people, vehicles and birds; the building would have had a structure similar to the Casa Batlló or the porter's lodge of the Park Güell.
- Bridge over the Torrent de Pomeret - In 1906, he designed a bridge over the Torrent de Pomeret, between Sarrià and Sant Gervasi. This river flowed directly between two of Gaudí's works, Bellesguard and the Chalet Graner, and so he was asked to bridge the divide. Gaudí designed an interesting structure composed of juxtaposed triangles that would support the bridge's framework, following the style of the viaducts that he made for the Park Güell. It would have been built with cement, and would have had a length of 154 metres (505 ft) and a height of 15 metres (49 ft); the balustrade would have been covered with glazed tiles, with an inscription dedicated to Santa Eulàlia. The project was not approved by the Town Council of Sarrià.
- Torre Damià Mateu - In 1906, Gaudí took part in the construction of the Torre Damià Mateu, in Llinars del Vallès [es], in collaboration with his disciple Francesc Berenguer, though the project's authorship is not clear or to what extent they each contributed to it. The style of the building evokes Gaudí's early work, such as the Casa Vicens or the Güell Pavilions; it had an entrance gate in the shape of a fishing net, currently installed in the Park Güell. The building was demolished in 1939.
- Banner - Also in 1906 he designed a new banner, this time for the Guild of metalworkers and blacksmiths for the Corpus Christi procession of 1910, in Barcelona Cathedral. It was dark green in colour, with Barcelona's coat of arms in the upper left corner, and an image of Saint Eligius, patron of the guild, with typical tools of the trade. The banner was burned in July 1936.
- The King James I monument - In 1907, to mark the seventh centenary of the birth of King James I, Gaudí designed a monument in his memory. It would have been situated in the Plaça del Rei, and would have also meant the renovation of the adjacent buildings: new roof for the cathedral, as well as the completion of its towers and cupola; placement of three vases above the buttresses of the Chapel of Santa Àgada, dedicated to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the figure of an angel on top of the chapel's tower; finally, the opening of a large square next to the walls (now the Plaça Ramon Berenguer el Grand). The project was not executed because the city council disliked it.
- The Hotel Attraction - In 1908 Gaudí devised a project for a skyscraper hotel in New York, the Hotel Attraction, commissioned by two American entrepreneurs whose names are unknown. It would have been 360 metres (1,180 ft) high (taller than the Empire State Building), with a taller parabolic central section, topped with a star, and flanked by four volumes containing museums, art galleries and concert halls, with shapes similar to the Casa Milà. Inside it would have had five large rooms, one dedicated to every continent. Needless to say, it was not built.
- Vic Plaça Major - In May 1910 Gaudí paid a short visit to Vic, where he was tasked to design the lampposts for the city's Plaça Major, in commemoration of the first centenary of the birth of Jaume Balmes. They were obelisk-shaped lamps, with basalt rock bases from Castellfollit de la Roca and wrought iron arms, topped with the four-armed cross; they were decorated with vegetable themes and included the birth and death dates of Balmes. They were demolished in 1924 due to poor maintenance.
- Santa Maria in Blanes - In 1912 he built two pulpits for the church of Santa Maria in Blanes: the pulpit on the Gospel side had a hexagonal base, decorated with the dove of the Holy Spirit and the names in Latin of the four evangelists and the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit; the pulpit of the Epistle side had the names of the apostles who wrote epistles (Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Judas Thadeus and Saint James the Great), with the three theological virtues and the flames of Pentecost. These pulpits were burned in July 1936
- Monument to Josep Torras i Bages - During the last years of his life, apart from his devotion to the Sagrada Família, Gaudí participated only in minor projects, which were not completed: in 1916, on the death of his friend bishop Josep Torras i Bages, he designed a monument in his honour, which he wanted to place in front of the Passion facade of the Sagrada Família. He made a sketch of the project, which ultimately was not carried out, and made a plaster bust of the bishop, the work of Joan Matamala under the instruction of Gaudí. It was put in the Sagrada Família, where it would have formed part of the church, but it was destroyed in 1936.
- Monument to Enric Prat de la Riba - Another commemorative monument project, also not carried out, was dedicated to Enric Prat de la Riba, which would have been situated in Castellterçol, birthplace of this Catalan politician. The project dates from 1918, and would have consisted of a tall tower with two porticos and a spire topped with an iron structure flying the Catalan flag. The sketch of the project was done by Lluís Bonet i Garí, Gaudí's assistant
- Assumption chapel in the Chilean city of Rancagua - In 1922 Gaudí was commissioned, by the Franciscan Padre Angélico Aranda, to construct a church dedicated to the Assumption in the Chilean city of Rancagua. Gaudí apologised and said that he was occupied exclusively with the Sagrada Família, but sent some sketches of the Assumption chapel which he had designed for the apse of the Sagrada Família, which more or less coincided with what Padre Aranda had asked for. Nothing happened. Then in a great wave of publicity, the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, announced that the building would begin in 2015, with an expected completion in 2017 and at a cost of $7 million. The announcement said that once completed it will become the first of Gaudí's works to be constructed in the Americas. Since then – nothing.
- Barcelona train station - Gaudí was consulted about the construction of a monumental train station for Barcelona (the future Estació de França). Gaudí suggested an iron structure in the form of a large suspended awning, a solution quite ahead of its time; perhaps for this reason, it put the head engineers off, and they declined Gaudí's offer.
Probably exhausted by all these request for work that never saw the light of day and from then on, Gaudí worked exclusively on the Sagrada Família until his death.