Gaudí Mania

RAMONT MANENT-INTERNATIONAL GAUDI YEAR ©

Barcelona's Casa Milà, nicknamed The Quarry

Traced to its Greek foundations, the word architect comes from archi (chief) and tekton (builder). In the case of Catalan "chief builder" Antoni Gaudí, the derivation seems prosaic. For Gaudí, the word breaks easily into the three trademarks of his architecture: arches, technical brilliance and sureness, this last quality sometimes degenerating into rudeness and arrogance.

Like many artists, Gaudí began with more detractors than fans. One critic in the early 1950s described his famous façades as "tortures of the imagination, fetuses in stone, bulbous obscenities." But today, many hail him as a genius, some are calling on the Pope to...