Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 207 - CCCB and Gaudi's La Pedrera

My last full day in Barcelona, and I just had a couple more places I wanted to check out, so I went in search of them. First, I finished the 2nd volume of the Hunger Games series of books and really needed to get the final book, so I headed to a used English bookstore, but got lost on the way in the Gracia district of Barcelona...big fail, since I clearly saw a map on the internet and also had the address with me...

Afterwards, I headed to the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona), which held a couple exhibitions, one being the World Press 11 photojournalism exhibition, and the other being some sort of video exhibition where two filmmakers paired up to create video "letters" to each other. The World Press exhibition was fascinating, and sometimes a little hard to view given the explicit nature of some of the stories being told through the photos. I'd seen many of the photos already when I glanced at the book sometime earlier this year, but it was still a shock to see some of them. One of them showed various Kenyan abortion pictures, where it is illegal, yet people go to doctors who perform them for 60-80 Euros in unsafe and unsanitary conditions...Another one showed some of the dead bodies from the Haiti Earthquake, and another showed the murders of Mexicans near Juarez... Not all of them were dark, but I think the more dramatic and emotional, the more likely you will win a prize...sort of like how Drama films usually win Oscars over Comedies... There was one picture that showed Couchsurfers surfing at a NYC host's place! The conditions looked a little undesirable in that picture, but it was nice to see the organization getting some good awareness in the world.

The second exhibition, called the Complete Letters, showcased about 7 different films of correspondence between 2 famous directors each (none of which I had ever heard of) through their own styles of filming. I didn't stay to watch any of them since they were so long and just appeared too random for me to understand. Maybe I would have stayed if I knew a little bit more about each of these filmmakers...

The last place on my Barcelona itinerary was to visit Gaudi's La Pedrera (or more formally called Casa Mila), which was an apartment complex that Gaudi was commissioned to build in 1906. The tour started on the rooftop terrace, where there were plenty of artistic chimney heads, stairwells, and ventilation towers. The floor was sinuous throughout the rooftop, similar to the facade of the building itself. In fact, much of the building itself was curved where we would expect rough edges.

The next part of the tour was in the attic, where there was a lot of explanation of Gaudi's life, his works throughout Barcelona, and the methods he used to create the architecture. It was noted that he graduate from the Barcelona school of architecture when he was 26... Maybe now's a great time to really do something impressionable and lasting like Gaudi. You could walk through the attic and notice the ways he used catenary arches to easily hold up the floor. It almost looked like we were walking through the skeleton of a snake. It's amazing how he used a lot of geometry in his work to figure out how to create space while also supporting the structure itself. He also was influenced a great deal by nature, fusing it into his designs. He was said to be one of the first designers to create ergonomic furniture, something that should feel natural and comfortable for humans to use. It seemed he was so far ahead of his time!

The last stop on the tour was on one of the apartment floors, where we got a sense of the way the residents lived during those times. There was a lot of open space where light could easily come in, and much of the furniture in the homes were designed by Gaudi himself, since he didn't just want to design the structure itself, but even the living space inside. It makes me want to purchase one of his chair designs...except they go for around 1,200 Euro...

An excellent way to end my visit to Barcelona. Next stop...Madrid!

La Pedrera


World Press Photo Exhibit

La Pedrera

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