1899-1902 THE PARK GÜELL PROJECT
Towards the turn of the 20th century, the Catalan industrialist Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi
(1846-1918) promoted a private residential development, which he called Park Güell. He commissioned the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí to direct the project, and work began in 1900.
The project site was a rural estate in the city heights that Eusebi Güell had acquired in 1899. Known as Can Muntaner de Dalt, the estate was located in the area known as La Muntanya Pelada (“the bare mountain”) in La Salut, a neighbourhood in Gràcia, then an independent township. In 1902, Güell enlarged the property by adding an adjoining estate, Can Coll i Pujol.
The plan was to build some sixty houses on the development, along with common services for the residents: porter’s lodge, visitor reception, a large square, market, a chapel and a surveillance service. Nature was to play a prominent role, and the conditions established for building stipulated that each house could only occupy one-sixth of its plot; the garden would occupy the rest.
Park Güell was a failure as a real estate venture, and only two of the sixty houses planned were actually built. Work stopped in 1914 and the residential area was never completed.