Gaudi’s organic inspiration

A few weeks ago I described the interior of Gaudi’s Basilica de la Sagrada Familia as ‘like being in an albino rainforest’, but I’m not sure if everyone would understand what that meant.

Gaudi’s supporting columns get to a certain height and then smaller branches fan out from there, ending in overlapping jagged umbrella shapes, creating an organic vault of a roof.  That reminded me, not so much of a conventional rainforest, with its normal sort of leaf foliage, but of a fan palm canopy, a particular kind of treescape common to many areas of tropical rainforest.

Here is a group of fan palms in a rainforest in the Licuala National Park in North Queensland, Australia.  In a rainforest, every plant competes for as much of the limited overhead sunlight it can get, which is why trees tend to grow so tall.  It’s also why the fan palm’s leaves have adapted their shape so they present as much of their surface area as possible to any sun coming down through a gap in the canopy.

Fan palm forest, Licuala Park, North Queensland, Australia

Fan palm forest, Licuala Park, North Queensland, Australia

And here is another shot looking up at the interior of Gaudi’s Basilica.  These great stone trunks and branches have the same sort of upward striving feel as rainforest fan palms, and the jagged panels of the roof seem to be jostling for their place in the light above.

Looking up at the roof over the nave of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Looking up at the roof over the nave of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

I don’t know whether Gaudi ever actually saw examples of those very tall palms somewhere, but they could easily have been his inspiration, don’t you think?

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: