Teresian College of Barcelona

The Colegio Teresiano or Colegio de las Teresianas is a work of the modernist architect Antoni Gaudí . Located in the old town of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles (now an integral part of Barcelona , ​​District of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi), c/ Ganduxer, 85, it was conceived by Enrique de Ossó y Cervelló to house a school and the convent of the Congregation of Religious Teresianas, which he himself had founded.

History and description

Construction began in 1887 under the direction of the architect Joan Baptista Pons i Trabal, but in 1888 Ossó commissioned the project from Gaudí, who had already acquired a reputation both as an architect and as a devout person, which is why Ossó opted for him. The works lasted from 1888 to 1889 .

Of the initial Pons i Trabal project, only the foundations had been laid. Gaudí complied with the will of the order to reflect austerity in the building, in compliance with the vow of poverty; Following the instructions of the nuns, he designed a sober building, made of brick on the outside, and with some brick elements on the inside. The anecdote is told that at Father Ossó’s insistence on sticking to the budget, Gaudí answered him one day: “Each one to his own, Mosén Enrique; I, to build houses, you to do masses”.

Using the argument that brick was not expensive, and that there was no great difference in costs in placing the pieces in one way or another, he created decorative elements wherever possible, both outside and inside. He also incorporated wrought iron bars, one of his favorite materials, into the façade and crowned it with a set of battlements that suggest a castle, a possible allusion to Saint Teresa’s work The Interior Castle .

At the angles of the façade there are brick pinnacles with a helicoidal column culminating in a four-armed cross, typical of Gaudí’s works, and with ceramic coats of arms with various defining symbols of the Teresian order: Mount Carmel crowned by the cross, the heart of the Virgin crowned with thorns and that of Saint Teresa pierced by an arrow. Originally, the battlements were topped by some red ceramic doctoral caps in allusion to the Doctorate of the Church of Santa Teresa, but they were destroyed in 1936 during the course of the Civil War . There are also anagrams of Jesus (JHS) and Santa Teresa (T).

Inside there is a corridor that is famous for the succession of catenary arches it contains. These arches with elegant lines are not merely decorative, but have the function of supporting the ceiling and the upper floor. Gaudí used the parabolic arch as the ideal constructive element, capable of supporting high weights through thin profiles.

During the construction, imbued with the air of recollection and meditation that the College should have, Gaudí made two curious construction elements: in the colonnade of the first floor he left a meter-high pillar in the middle of the columns, without any finial or decoration; on being asked, he said that it represented God, so he did not need any adornment. Next, he left the staircase that at that point went up to the second floor interrupted, placing the access to the upper floor on another side; since then there is a ladder of fourteen steps that leads nowhere. In 1908 Gaudí designed a chapel that he did not build due to disagreements with the superior of the convent; the current one, in neo-gothic style, is the work of Gabriel Borrell i Cardona. in 1969It was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument of National Interest.


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