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Case Studies 

Parc Guell



Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
January 7, 2002
December 14, 2017

A sprawling complex of towers, galleries, pavilions and decorative landscaping on a hill overlooking Barcelona. One of Antoni Gaudi's masterpieces.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

The extraordinary craftsmanship and unusual use of materials and plants throughout the park catch and delight the eye, making Parc Guell one of the great parks of the world. It is also a place which offers opportunities to engage in different activities, including strolling, people-watching, eating at the cafe and meeting friends.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities


How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

The park was built between 1900-1914, originally planned to be a garden city on the estate of Eusebi Guell. Only two houses were built out of the 60 originally envisioned; Gaudi himself lived in one of them from 1906 to 1926, which is now the Casa-Museu Gaudi. The museum has notable examples of furnishings designed by Gaudi and personal memorabilia.

The park remained the private garden of the Guell family until the 1920s, when the family handed it over to the municipality to use as a public park. It is one of Gaudi's most colorful and playful works, even though it was never fully completed.

Two stone pavilions at the main entrance complete the wall surrounding the park. Intended as a porter's lodge and administrative building, their stone roofs have Catalan vaults of flat-laid brick finished with pieces of broken ceramic, called trencadis. The ceramic trencadis follow the sinuous geometric surfaces, a device which gives all of the park's ornamentation a unique beauty. Each roof is crowned by a small dome and above all stands a tall, spiral-shaped tower adorned with colorful tile and topped with Gaudi's characteristic four-branched cross. A grand stairway divided by a mythological dragon or lizard (which also serves as an overflow for the cistern) leads to the large hypostyle. Parc Guell was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1984.

Related Links & Sources

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*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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