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Architecture Work

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Episcopal Palace in Astorga
Plaça d’Eduardo Castro. Astorga (Castile-Leon)

After the old Episcopal Palace of Astorga burned down in December 1886, the bishop, Joan Baptista Grau, suggested to the ecclesiastical and ministerial authorities that his friend Antoni Gaudí should be asked to build the new palace. He presented his project in August 1887, but the works did not start until June 1889, after some objections and many bureaucratic obstacles. Gaudí visited Astorga a dozen times to supervise the work but basically directed it from Barcelona, where he was occupied on other projects. Annoyed by the constant obstacles raised by the authorities, the architect abandoned the work in November 1893, some weeks after the death of his friend Grau. The building was already almost complete apart from the roof, which was finished between 1907 and 1915 by another architect using a very different solution to Gaudí’s original plan.

The Neo Gothic style Episcopal Palace is built using granite from Bierzo to integrate it into its environment and not overshadow the nearby Astorga Cathedral. Its structure is highly conventional, built to a Greek cross floor plan with the ogival arches and cross vaults typical of Gothic architecture. In spite of this, some of its features reveal Gaudí's originality: the arches in the entrance porch, the elongated chimneys in the shape of minarets, the pit which brings more light into the basement, and the treatment of the interior, recalling the Palau Güell. 

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