Gaudi Focus – Casa Mila in Barcelona

Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona is a tree-lined route in the middle of Barcelona and probably the most exclusive address in town, with some wonderful restaurants, exclusive shops and boutiques and some of the most well-known architectural masterpieces in the city. Casa Mila, at number 92 is no exception and is one of two buildings on the famous Catalan avenue to have been bestowed UNESCO World Heritage status, along with nearby Casa Batlló – just a few blocks off and designed by Gaudi himself.

The era of Modernism in Barcelona saw the rich industrialists compete for the greatest and the best building in downtown Barcelona. Casa Batlló, Palau Güell, and Casa Mila are magnificent examples of this movement, but there is something a bit more special about Casa Mila.

Gaudi was a massive fan of pure kinds, and representations of character can be seen in all of his works – with typically rigid materials like marble stone and wrought iron to create gentle traces, repetitions of water and nature and it is really this feature that places Casa Mila apart from the remainder of its neighbors. Apart from the fact that it is located on a corner, Casa Mila is a building bereft of lines or right angles! The building was built entirely out of sandy-colored stone, and the natives at the time of its structure mocked this move by Gaudi, nicknaming the Casa Mila”La Pedrera” or”that the Stone quarry”.

Gaudi’s father was an ironmonger, and almost all of his functions possess considerable usage of iron with La Pedrera no exception. The balconies of the building have been cast in iron, and the waving curves of the building combined with all the iron balconies give the eyesight of seaweed strewn along the coast.

Nowadays, Casa Mila is a building made up of private apartments and is a central division of bank Caixa Catalunya. On the other hand, the general public can visit the building and its well worth adding this into your itinerary. The visit includes of three chief areas. The penultimate floor of the building has been restored as a span 19th Century apartment that shows off Gaudi’s innovative use of natural light throughout the patio wells from the building. This floor is also used in the summer for string quartets, and other classical musical events, which not sell out very quickly.

The loft of the apartment is a museum with patterns and sound visual info on Gaudi’s main projects, such as the first sketches of La Pedrera’s façade which look as though they were drawn using a purple crayon! There are a few scale models with real attention to detail of most of Gaudi’s works and an interesting model of how the idea came about to get Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, which is essentially an iron wheel with lots of small sandbags attached to it using series which almost reach the floor. On the floor is a mirror, and also the manifestation shows the image of the Sagrada Familia and certainly will leave you breathless as to the vision of the Catalan genius.

Perhaps the most impressive element about the loft is the true construction. The arched bricks accompany a fundamental beam which curves around the entire loft and provides the feeling of a rib-cage – kind of like being indoors Moby Dick!

Ultimately the rooftop terrace is an impressive finale. Although at the time of construction of many of Gaudi’s buildings, the rooftops functioned as simply a location for the chimneys, so again it is possible to see exactly how far ahead of the time Gaudi was once you visit the rooftop of Casa Mila. The main chimney is dedicated to the St George cross – the patron saint of Catalunya – and broken tiles are used to decorate every one the chimneys to great effect, just as the benches in Park Güell. One has been embellished with divided cava bottles, and it is said that the Crucifixion façade of Sagrada Familia was created in homage to the rooftop of Casa Mila, following original plans were damaged by looters from the civil war. The rooftop is again on different levels with arches and measures flowing around and offering a fantastic view of the town streets beneath and through one arch an ideal view of the Sagrada Familia. The gaping wells in the building offer fantastic natural light and have been beautifully painted, too.

As a bonus for the visitors to Casa Mila, Caixa Catalunya also includes a gallery space on the Mezzanine floor, which is generally included for free with your own ticket to visit the rest of the building. Even in case you’ve got no interest whatsoever in architecture, I will highly recommend taking the opportunity to visit Casa Mila – you won’t be disappointed!

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