Antonio Gaudí's Building in Barcelona Spain
When the construction curtain was finally raised in 1910, the apartment block was quickly nicknamed La Pedrera or the quarry, because it looked like a hill. Its official name is Casa Mila that comes from the person who commissioned Gaudí to build it in 1906. One’s first glance does make one think of a hill as the balconies could be bushes, and the attics as clouds. There were quite a few bureaucratic battles to overcome, such as the claims that building was said to have exceeded city height limits, and the columns and cornices were said to have impeded on public sidewalks. His artistic vision always carried the day except on one occasion, which almost made Gaudí quit the project: the original design included a statue of the Virgin and Child, but the Mila’s turned it down as they disliked the original model. Upon Gaudi’s death in 1926, the Mila’s redesigned some of the rooms in the style of Louis XV.
Gaudí wanted a building that felt and looked alive; the undulating walls were to that effect. Moving your hand across the walls and around the building would make you feel as if you were on the sea. You would be hard-pressed to find a straight line. Every piece of stone was cut and shaped before being laid, thus forcing the materials to match the vision. The structure itself with its two large interior patios, one circular and the other elliptical, spread the whole space out making each room of a different size, which could be altered as the partitions were displaceable. From each of these patios, a spiral staircase descended and connected to the lower floors. The ceilings of each room and corridor have been painted full of colour and wavery shapes.
Everything curves, spins and twirls, especially on the roof, as if the stone was water in Gaudi’s hands. The roofs is not flat, but staggered so that each stairwell column is on a different level from the rest and you are always walking a few steps up and down as you walk around it. The chimneys make one think of human faces, while the stairwells and ventilators can take on any shape that fits the viewer’s imagination. Each loft has catenary arches of varying height. No two things are alike.
Gaudi’s professionalism extended to everything he designed. He was deeply involved in all of the building’s elements, although he willingly gave free rein to close artistic and architectural associates and friends to do specific parts of it; for instance, Josep Mario Jujol did the handrails and ceilings, while Gaudí handled the wrought-iron doors.
La Pedrera was declared to be a World Heritage Site in 1984. Each of Gaudi’s designs was unique and stood apart from all neighbouring structures. The current owners of the Pedrera have opened the roof and attic to the public. Go up there and you will be on a ‘hill’ of unparalleled beauty.
Kurtis Lancaster rated this 10 / 10 and said it was amazing!