Gaudi used psychiatric hospital and its patients as his test bed, claim researchers
Designs in hospital grounds ’predate his more famous works’
Gaudi may have used psychiatric patients to test out his ideas before going on to create some of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks, researchers are claiming.
Architect David Agulló and geologist Daniél Barb have discovered that Gaudi-style structures in the grounds of a hospital at Sant Boi, south of Barcelona, pre-date the Sagrada Familia and his constructions in Park Güell.
Covered in broken tiles, the benches and follies in the garden were thought to have been later copies of the famous Catalan architect’s work, partly because of their poor quality.
But Agullo and Barb believe the explanation for this is that they were built by psychiatric patients under Gaudi’s instructions as prototypes for the famous buildings Gaudi was working on at the time.
Writing in the magazine Sapiens they said a bench at the hospital dated from 1912, while that at Park Güell was made in 1914.
Gaudi’s patron, Eusebi Güell, had strong links with the hospital, which was the first in Spain to treat mental illness with modern medical techniques, according to the Guardian.