In 1869 Antoni Gaudí moved to Barcelona and enrolled as a free student at the Middle School to follow the elements of physics and natural history courses. He went on to the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Barcelona and, from 1873, prepared the entrance exam for the Barcelona Province School of Architecture, at the Llotja in Barcelona, where he obtained the official architect's diploma in 1878.
He did a number of jobs for La Obrera Mataronense,
, the first workers cooperative company in Spain. At the same time, to pay for his studies he worked as a draughtsman for the master builder Josep Fontserè, who was landscaping Ciutadella Park
at the time. He also wrote a set of notes known as El manuscrit de Reus.
From 1876 Gaudí worked as a draughtsman for his teacher Leandre Serrallach and, shortly afterwards, with the architect Francesc de Paula del Villar on sketches for the apse and the altar niche at La Mare de Déu de Montserrat, a work which began in 1887.