Gaudí is best known as the architect of the famous “Sacred Family” cathedral in Barcelona. He had a highly individual style, with the capacity to imagine his creations without detailed plans and to improvise as he worked. He conceived his buildings in a global form in terms both of their structure and their functional and decorative features. Amongst his vast number of works are the famous Barcelona houses Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, along with the Parque Güell, named after his most important patron.
Antoni Gaudí was the son of a Catalan industrialist, the youngest of five siblings. He suffered from illness as a child which may account for his reserved character. He was a profoundly religious man, and a vegetarian who regularly fasted to the point of putting his life in danger. He graduated as an architect in 1878 and quickly became well-known for his unique style of work. In 1883 Gaudí took over charge of the works on the temple of the Sacred Family and after the death of several close friends and family members in 1915, he devoted all his time to this work until his death.
Gaudí was completed devoted to his work and remained single all his life. He is often portrayed as an anti-social and unfriendly character with brusque manners, but people who knew him well described him as a friendly, courteous person. Gaudí’s physical appearance changed radically with the passing on time, from a fashionable dandy figure who enjoyed high culture to the austere figure of his older years. His unkempt appearance led to him being mistaken for a tramp on more than one occasion.
In June 1926 Gaudí was on his way to church for his morning prayers and confession when he was run over by a tram and knocked unconscious. As he had no documentation with him and looked like a beggar he was ignored at first and only later taken to hospital in a taxi by a passing Guardia Civil. It was only the following day that he was recognized, but it was too late to help him. He died three days later at the age of 73 with his most famous project still incomplete.