“There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature.” // Antoni Gaudi
Visitors planning to go or have visited Barcelona will be familiar with Antoni Gaudi’s name. Gaudi, the key architect behind the iconic Sagrada Familia, is also the designer of other famous works in Barcelona including Park Güell and Casa Milà.
When I was in Barcelona for 3 days (too short!), due to lack of time, my travel companion and I decided on Casa Batlló over Casa Milà. On the first two days that we tried to visit, Casa Batlló was unexpectedly closed from 2pm onwards. Finally, we got in on the 3rd morning.
The strange, fascinating house with plenty of curves, wavy lines, and much thought put in
Casa Batlló was built between 1904-1906 by Gaudi, for a wealthy aristocrat, Josep Batlló. Batlló lived in the lower two storeys with his family and rented out the upper levels as apartments. Gaudi’s work of art brings together design, space, colour, shape and light into one beautiful building.
The local name of Casa Batlló is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), aptly named because the front of the building is a strange facade, with protruding balconies in the shape of skulls. A mosaic of colored glass fragments and ceramic discs were plastered on the wall. Colors used on this facade were inspired by colors found in coral.
Entrance tickets include an audio guide that comes in the form of a nifty gadget (smartphone?) and headphones. Highly interactive, you can hold the gadget up against certain areas and it animates on the screen or shows how the house was like in the past, complete with furniture and fixtures.
The Noble Floor – designed to see and be seen
Ergonomics was embraced by Gaudi, as seen from these window and door handles.
The temperature indoors can be regulated by moving these panels accordingly (when winter arrives). Ingenious!
The tiles have been arranged in a gradual blue from the lightest at the bottom to the darkest at the top, so that the tone will be evened out when natural light shines in from the top. This attention to detail represents Gaudi’s dedication to his art.
Professor Bassegoda, Curator of the Cátedra de Gaudí, explained that Casa Batlló is a bright and cheerful project, representing the artistic expression of an elated architect, working without any of the symbolic and moralistic complications of other religious projects, and removed from the prevailing academicism of the schools of architecture of the period. “This is an architectural smile, an outpouring of the composite pleasure of a man who was in full command of his own very personal style. According to Leonardo da Vinci, Nature is full of latent causes which have never been liberated. The enchanting architecture of Casa Batlló is the liberation of one of those natural mysteries through the endeavour and grace of Gaudí’s imagination and creative power.” (source)