Walking down the street in Barcelona is like taking a trip into another world. Balconies fashioned like grinning skulls, roofs following the curve of a dragon's back, façades patterned with the undulating imprint of waves on sand—Antoni Gaudí's imaginative architectural creations continue to capture the minds of Barcelona residents and visitors alike. Gaudí and his contemporaries worked to create buildings that are at once innovative and seemingly magical, unlike anything that had ever been produced at the time and which continue to draw attention today. Our 2.5 hour Barcelona Architecture for Kids Tour, led by a family-friendly architect or art historian, will introduce children to their work and Catalan Modernisme in a digestible way, providing age-appropriate tools for understanding appreciating the art of modernista architecture and urban planning.
Designing a New City
We'll begin our exploration of modernista architecture by talking a bit about the new Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona, where most of the buildings are concentrated. As the city began to outgrow the already cramped Gothic Quarter, Barcelona city planners sought to create a new neighborhood marked by new avenues, and an innovative architectural style which would set Barcelona apart from the rest of Spain. Why might the people of Barcelona have wanted to build this new district? And why in this innovative fashion? We'll find the answers to these questions through interactive activities facilitated by our docent. Comparing plans of the medieval Gothic Quarter with those of the Eixample, we'll consider the differences between the narrow, twisted streets of the former and the wide, straight boulevards of the latter.
La Pedrera's Curves and Waves
Moving on to Casa Milà (La Pedrera), we will have an opportunity to see a shining example of modernista architecture. Commissioned in 1906 by one of Barcelona's wealthy families, the Casa Milà served as Gaudí's playground for the next six years. From conflicts with the city over the building to the Milà family's doubts about the bold design, the building was one of Gaudí's more controversial projects. As our eyes explore the exterior, we will learn the the facets of Modernisme, doing some close-looking at the materials used, the curved, wavy shapes and natural motifs found.
Casa Batlló—A House? Or a Dragon?
Arriving at the Block of Discord, a rare instance of adjacent modernista buildings, we'll identify again this movement's special motifs, pondering how they appear different from architect to architect. Can we spot what Gaudí liked, versus his friend Lluís Domènech i Montaner? Entering Gaudí's Casa Batlló, we'll experience first-hand what it's like to be inside one of these magnificent buildings! In the attic, we'll stare up at the rafters—modeled after a rib cage—and wonder if we've been swallowed whole by a giant snake—or a dragon! In fact, the building was built to resemble a dragon, and we'll certainly introduce the legend that inspired Gaudí to build this way. Throughout our visit, which includes time on the roof and an opportunity to see the whole of Barcelona, we'll imagine what it might have been like to live in such a strange apartment, comparing and contrasting Gaudí's vision with our own homes.
As our walk comes to a close, we'll allow our imaginations to run wild by reflecting on our own modernista visions. How would you build your modernista house? We'll come away with a greater understanding of Modernisme and a newfound appreciation for avant-garde architectural risks.
Please note that this walk does not
include Gaudí's Parc Güell or Sagrada Familia. If you are interested in viewing the latter site with us, you may enjoy our Sagrada Familia Tour
, intended for adults.
In addition to our family program
tours, we may be able to adapt certain other tours to the needs of families, though please note such adaptations would not incorporate special activities. Please contact us for more details.