Photo by our friend, French carpenter yogan, of The Church of Colònia Güell, an unfinished work by Antoni Gaudí. It was built as a place of worship for the people in a manufacturing suburb in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, near Barcelona.
See yogan’s blog for many more photos of Gaudi’s work, as well as of other unique buildings in different parts of the world:
Note: Check out the comments for more on Gaudi
About Lloyd Kahn
started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog
with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter
, Shelter II
(1978), Home Work
(2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast
(2008), Tiny Homes
(2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move
(2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:
some more pics here
have you seen pics of how gaudi designed?
he used string to hang weights, which revealed design up side down
long before computers
that is how he designed towers of sagrada familia
check it out, amazing
It is known that Gaudí hated drawing and preferred to use models as design tools; especially ones made of chains hung from a ceiling, or strings with small weights attached. Through experimentation with such models, he discovered a way to use traditional Catalan masonry techniques in new, more complex ways. A chain suspended simply from both its ends results in a catenary curve that naturally distributes the static load — in this case tension — evenly between the links of the chain. When this shape is flipped vertically and the materials become brick or stone, then the static load — now compressive — is similarly evenly distributed, resulting in an optimally efficient arch. This was already known for centuries. What Gaudí did was to apply this tension-compression analogy to chains hanging from chains (or arches superimposed on arches) asymmetrically, permitting him to design a much more fluid architecture.
Gaudí made the models of his buildings upside-down, then, using mirrors on the floor, visualized his designs downside-up. He also took photographs of these “wire-frame” models of sorts and “filled” them in with color to generate “solid model renderings”, so to speak. All this has been well-documented in publications and exhibitions.
What is interesting is how, in the process, Gaudí effectively invented a kind of “parametric” design process long before the invention of the computer (let alone the development of software such as Maya or the Grasshopper plug-in for Rhino). One feature of so-called parametric design software is that it updates a complete three-dimensional digital model of a building every time any parameters are altered, allowing alternatives to be studied and compared in the search for a design that performs optimally (although to many architects who use this software it seems that the most important parameter is aesthetic form). Gaudí’s hanging chains do exactly that: if a chain end-point is moved so as to enlarge or reduce, say, the floor plan in one corner, then the shape of the entire hanging chain model shifts and settles into a newly optimized catenary geometry. Of course, parametric design software does a great deal more, but at their conceptual root both of these modeling tools — one physical and the other digital — are analogous.
This is amazing! We have gotten so used to having computer-aided design tools that we forget how it was done in the past.
The magnificent medieval cathedrals in Europe were designed and built by master masons from wooden models – essentially sales aids – using only squares, mason's lines, plumb bobs and measuring sticks as their layout tools. I am totally unable to understand how they did this.
OK, so some cathedrals are not quite square and a few fell down during construction or soon after, but it is still a magnificent achievement