nonfiction nuggets…an architect inspired by nature

Building on Nature: The Life of Antoni Gaudi, by Rachel Rodriguez, illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Hallways like underwater caverns.
Peepholes like honeycombs.
Balconies like waves.
Lizards and dragons and vines. 
Sparkles and arches and curves.
All these are elements of the architectural creations of Antoni Gaudi.

Gaudi was a Spanish architect who lived from 1852-1926, at a time when Art Nouveau flourished bringing beauty into the ordinary details of life.  Gaudi reveled in transposing the forms of nature — vines and bones and waves and creatures– into the ramps and balconies, spires and decorative details of his structures.

He gloried in color, making prolific use of bright bits of tile and glass to create mosaics, spreading gorgeous tiles across vast expanses of buildings, setting glass into sparkling towers to glint in the Spanish sunlight.

An often controversial architect, Gaudi is now recognized as an important artisan, with seven of his buildings set apart as UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Wouldn’t you love to travel to Spain and see them?!

Rachel Rodriguez has written this brief biography with delightful language and styling, nicely reflecting the sensory, innovative, whimsy of Gaudi.  It is a tantalizing introduction to this unusual man for young elementary-age children.  Paschkis’ illustrations are brilliant, incorporating the shapes and patterns of Gaudi ,besides providing colorful, child-friendly glimpses of his massive buildings and clever design details. 

An Author’s Note provides further biographical detail on Gaudi, and websites are listed where you can see photos of the buildings, which you will certainly want to do immediately after reading this book!  Recommended!

Here’s the Amazon link:  Building on Nature: The Life of Antoni Gaudí