Seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) in or near Barcelona testify to Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These monuments represent an eclectic, as well as a very personal, style which was given free reign in the design of gardens, sculpture and all decorative arts, as well as architecture. The seven buildings are: Casa Vicens; Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; Crypt in Colonia Güell.
Antoni Gaudí was born in 1852 in Reus, a small town south of Barcelona, and he died in a street accident in 1926. The intellectual context towards the end of the 19th century in Catalonia was marked by the so-called ‘Modernisme', a movement that extended from ca 1880 to the First World War, parallel to currents such as Naturalism, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau. It was motivated by return to traditions as an expression of national identity, as well as by the introduction of modern techniques and materials as part of progress. Modernisme in Catalonia differed from the other movements becoming particularly important for popular cultural identity. It found expression in literature and music, as well as in painting, sculpture, decorative arts and architecture. Catalonians were well aware of the ideas of Viollet-le- Duc, John Ruskin, Macintosh, and others. The best known architects include, apart from Gaudí, who is difficult to classify, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, whose principal designs in Barcelona are on the World Heritage List.