Being a war child of the applied and the fine arts, Art nouveau in architecture has always gathered way more attention than both of them combined. It didn’t always gain the critic’s favor but it sure did feast a lot of fantasy fanatics with its eclectic positioning of mythical creatures to free-flowing sinuous edges relieving the eyes of the hard boundaries of the ionic and Doric column tripartite structures.
Defining such a dynamic style of art would exhaust the dictionary of words nonetheless it can be narrowed down to certain keywords like Free Flowing, Eclectic, Unconventional, Organic, Natural and the list goes on.
1. La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Generally regarded as art nouveau, it is an offshoot of Modernism (Catalan art nouveau) that is regarded as the peak of this revolution. The down to earth design of the basilica has been a topic of controversy on various bases, be it design or the economy factor. Started under the guidance of architect Francesco de Paula de Villar the construction of the church is estimated to get over by 2026 at the earliest. The originally planned 18 spires representing the twelve apostles, the virgin mary, four evangelists, and Jesus being the tallest of them have not yet been built. Gaudi also did acoustical studies for the temple spires, placing tubular bells inside them that would chime when the wind flows although only one they have been fixed as of today. The basilica represents art nouveau in its most raw form which has been chided by many critiques but art being subjective, this place has always drawn more awe than ‘ew’.
2. Casa Battlò, Barcelona
Another masterpiece of Antonio Gaudi, this building screams art nouveau which makes it expressionist in a way, a building expressing its art nouveau in bizarre ways. Any passerby would be awestruck by merely looking at the giant columnar window extrusions that are embellished with slender brass columns. The building was a remodel of a structure that might have been a farmhouse deriving from the remains of a larder in the basement. The exterior and the interiors both have such extensive detailing that explaining the building would require a whole research paper. Some features that stand out would be the colorful mosaic exteriors with the spiny building top, the window is with no jambs or mullions giving a full panoramic view of the outside, the mask shaped balcony projections made of wrought iron. This building is an exaggeration of Modernism.
3. Casa Amatller, Barcelona
This building is a mix of Neo-gothic style and germanic elements. One of the important facade features is the ridged cornice that adorns its borders. Designed originally by Josep Puig I Cadafalch, the house was purchased by chocolatier AntoniAmatller costa who ordered for it to be redesigned and was worked upon by architect Antoni Robert. The facade is flush with ridges offset from the cornice, and so are the patterns on the facade. The central roof of the house is stained glass with of modernistic style. The building forms the trio of ‘Mansana De La Discord’ alongside Casa battlo and Casa lleoMorera. The trio I knew for their refurbished properties and their sharply contrasting styles.
4. Hotel Tassel, Brussels
Said to be the first one of its kind, Victor Horta created a statement by designing a residence with a completely art nouveau style. Some evident traces of this would be the slender columns rising to the top slimming further into tendrils and creepers and all kinds of foliage using sinuous curves and curvilinear surfaces. The hues of the walls inside reflect the bustling outer world and reverse it into a calm space using green, ochre, and yellow. The central stairwell is often cited as the eye-catcher in the building, with a winding handrail and bullnose stairs
5. Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
Reflecting influences of the oriental style of architecture, the edifice of this building towers the skyline of the locality grabbing the attention of travelers passing through the intersection.Ödönlechners design for this building reflects Hungarian art nouveau by incorporating local art and oriental influences as seen in the dome covered with Hungarian green and yellow tiles. The interiors defining the place would be the atrium which is adorned with eastern style railings and art nouveau curves. The building although primarily used as a museum is also used for conducting events like the Hungarian design week.
6. Hotel Saint Cyr, Brussels
Imagine the squeezed in house from Stuart little with an eclectic gothic front and little fern-like oxidized ironwork all over the facade. This residence belonged to the artist and decorator Leonard de Saint Cyr. The most important feature of this Brussels art nouveau structure is as already mentioned the ironwork that has an intricate design which according to some critics is a poor choice for the facade as the light green meshwork is disturbingly in contrast with the streetscape. Despite all the critiques this still stands as a prime example of how art nouveau can have different takes depending on the architect.
7. Secession Building, Vienna
Answering the question if art nouveau can be simplistic yet ornamental and display grandeur, the museum designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich exists as a manifesto for the Viennese secession breaking some of the stereotypical features of Byzantine and Assyrian architecture and molding it into yet another definition of art nouveau style. The ‘golden cabbage’ (the almost spherical dome called so) on top of the building is embellished with golden leaves that complement the white walls of the facade. The interior is also a simple plan of one rectangular entrance foyer and three exhibition spaces.
8. Casa Milà, Barcelona
This building is known for its structural innovations especially in an art nouveau building. The building has a free floor plan with no wall load-bearing walls where the load is completely taken by the curvilinear iron beams around the facade. The building was designed by Antoni Gaudi for the Milácouple. The building looks like it has been carved out of one rock.
9. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum for American Art History, US
With a very monochromatic exterior facade and simple long windows and cornices on top, this building is an art nouveau fabric turned inside out, as the interior spaces include various stained-glass ornaments and other artifacts representing American art and culture and other works of Louis Comfort Tiffany. The most central attraction of the museum is the semi apsidal,four-tiered, embellished altar known as the Tiffany grove that would be the perfect art nouveau article enhancing the ambiance. The museum was developed from an office and bank building using a simple tower of Mediterranean style that would blend in with the surrounding to connect the two buildings and now the building defines art nouveau in the US.
10. House of Chimaeras, Ukraine
WładyłovHorodecki, also known as the Gaudi of Kiev, created a building that resembled a mixture of the classical and grotesque style of architecture. The building was originally designed as an apartment for his private use but later sold it due to financial pressures. The Gaudi factor of this building would be the chimaeras and frogs and elephant heads. The house Is called a house of chimaeras no because of the figurines but the style of the building being chimaera or grotesque style. The levels of the building although not seen from the front can be visibly seen from the back facade.
11. Saint Jean De Montmartre, France
How simple curves can provide a new definition for art nouveau? This building stands as a prime example for the question at hand. Designed by Anatole De Baudot, a student of Viollet Le Duc, this church is the art nouveau for a simpleton, the way it does not adhere to any one style of architecture and still uses the amalgamation of all is a testament to the fact that art is subjective. The entrance uses a brick-red facade and contrasting green iron pillars. The arches adorning the building are nothing but mostly concentric arcs intersecting each other to form patterns in a nonlinear pattern.
12. Musical Instrument Building, Brussels
This one is more of a neoclassical building than an art nouveau but it is noted for its elaborate art nouveau facade. The art nouveau in architecture part was the front for the old England store and the neoclassical part in the back,spangen palace is now a part of the museum. The combination of both these contrasting buildings looks like a neoclassical building with an elaborately decorated art nouveau facade. The three floors of the museum house various historical and important musical instruments also conduct various conferences and other educational events.
13. Hotel Metropol, Moscow
Known for its extraordinary architect lineup (WilliamWalcot, Lev Kekushev, Vladimir Shukhov) and its pioneering in being the first largest extant hotel before the Russian revolution, this hotel has an almost flush and simple facade. Contradicting the exterior looks, the interior grandeur speaks exaggeration on various levels. The golden hue that covers the interiors gives it a royal look suiting its famous visitors. The hotel has carried a lot of stories and legacies now that it has survived the revolution without a scratch.
14. Jubilee Synagogue, Czech Republic
Also known as the Jerusalem synagogue is a mixture of Moorish revival structure along with art nouveau design elements. The building was renovated later but still serves religious purposes. The exterior is a red and white stone cladded facade with bright contrasting colors and the interior reflects the exterior and having the same contrast levels and adding on to the grandeur with golden embellishments and horseshoe arches. The Moorish elements inside are overlaid with art nouveau in architecture patterns making the transitions between two styles seamless.
15. La ChemiserieNiguet, Brussels
This building, that looks like a surreal painting especially at night was designed by Paul Hankar and server as a flower nursery in the 90s and had a complete tinted glass facade with wooden frames of art nouveau style with curvilinear lines that resemble tendrils and foliage complementing the plants in the storefront. The building facade reflects the building opposite during the day and lights up during the night.