Barcelona’s curvaceous Casa Milà turns 100

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Rooftop chimneys, Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
“…each convex element is countered by a concave one, to each part of light, a shaded one.”
Antoni Gaudí

One hundred years ago this week, the doors of Casa Milà, one of Antoni Gaudí’s most audacious works, opened on Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona. Commissioned by one of Barcelona’s wealthiest families as a family home, the house was nicknamed ‘La Pedrera’ (quarry) for the texture of stone that is everywhere. Any Gaudí building is freighted with myth and meaning—such as this chimney group in a startling terrace roof garden.

I found La Pedrera to be a lot of fun to visit, and highly recommend a stop here on any Barcelona itinerary.

Waves of stone

Undulating facade, Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
The building’s undulating façade flows in all directions—top to bottom, side to side, front to back.

 

Undulating facade, Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
The house was conceived by Gaudí as the body of an animal, with columns as bones and the stone façades, the skin.

 

Interior, Casa Mila, Barcelona, Spain
In the vestibule, tapestries and mural paintings tell stories of legend: the destruction of Troy, the founding of Rome, and more, symbolism is everywhere. Here, a painted column is positioned opposite a real one, in a painting that curves up stairs and around corners.

 

Roof and attic, Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
The flat roof appears to ‘melt’ over the edge into an interior courtyard, a walkway around the perimeter undulating above the arches of the attic. Beneath, brickwork arches in the attic soar above the Espai Gaudí, providing perfect load distribution.

Monumental figures

On the Roof
Monumental figures on the rooftop terrace are allegorical characters, brought to life by the play of light and shadow.
Cast-iron stair railing, Casa Mila, Barcelona, Spain
The cast-iron rail of a stairway, like the grill work of the vestibule doors, gives an effect of hand-molding with its markings.

Today, La Pedrera is headquarters to the Fundació Caixa Catalunya. It serves as a culture center and provides a dramatic backdrop to exhibitions and other public events.  The building was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

Happy birthday, Casa Milà!

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La Pedrera is my favorite Gaudí building. What is yours?

 

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2 COMMENTS

    • Thanks Nicole. It was hard to choose photos for this post, we had so many good ones from our visit to La Pedrera. You and your camera would be happy there.

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