I loved Casa Batlló as soon as I saw it. All those lovely mauves and blues and pinks on the façade. I’m a romantic at heart and my favourite painters are the impressionists and art deco artists such as Mucha and the Nancy school. The inside has soft curves and beautifully coloured ceramics. This is Gaudi without being gaudy. To get a really good idea of the façade, click on the official website.
I loved the lovely wooden doors with their curved shapes and lead lights.
Top of double doors
Like Guell Palace, Casa Batlló also has a gallery overlooking the street below.
Front gallery overlooking the street
This wood stove and benches must have been a favourite sitting area.
The lovely wood stove in its alcove
The Battló’s had five children and I’m sure they all loved the appartment, particularly the cobalt-blue tiled inside stairwell which can be seen from the different rooms built around it.
Gaudi extended the inner courtyard to add more light and ventilate the rooms. It is big enough to take a lift. The azulejos tiling consists of 5 different shades that get darker as you go up the stairs to achieve a uniform colour. The darker tiles, which are closer to the roof, reflect less light, while the white tiles reflect more.
The elevated terrace at the back, with its ceramics and mosaics, is much more attractive than that of Guell Palace. I love the details up the top.
The house is no longer furnished but this wash basin looks extremely modern, doesn’t it?
Don’t you love the wavy walls?
When you keep going up the stairs, of course, you get to the roof with its wonderful chimneys that I described in a previous post.
I hope you’re not sick of Gaudi yet because I still want to tell you about Guell Palace, Casa Batlló and Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, all three of which are on the Unesco World Heritage list. You’ve already seen the chimneys which I think are probably the most exciting part, but there are lots of other very interesting features as well. We visited the houses in the order in which they were built, as I thought it would be interesting to see the progression.
Personally, if I didn’t have time to see all the houses, I would give perference to Casa Batlló, then Guell Palace but I have friends who liked La Pedrera best. The entrance fees range from 12 euro per person including a very good audioguide for Guell Palace, 20.35 euro each with a good audioguide for Casa Batlló and 16.50 euro each with a terrible audioguide for La Pedrera.
I thought I’d start with a comparison of the façades and describes the interiors in a subsquent post. Guell palace was built between 1885 and 1890. When construction began, Eusebi Guell, a rich textile manufacturer with a solid background in economics, law, science and the humanities, was 39 and Gaudi was only 34 and keen to break with tradition, with the unmitigated support of Guell. You may remember that Gaudi took on the Sagrada Familia in 1883 at the age of 31.
The façade is quite austere compared with the other houses. It has unusal parabolic arches with intricate wrought-iron work in the middle topped by a Venetian style tribune with leadlight windows. The rest of the façade is made of stone.
Nothing could be more different than the façade of Casa Batlló. It is located on Passeig de Gracia, a favourite promenade with the local bourgeois families. The house was 20 years old when Josep Battló bought it in 1903. He thought it looked somewhat dull next to its neighbour, Amatller, so he decided to call in Gaudi who, at 52, was at the height of his popularity, having started work on Guell Park in 1900.
Gaudi kept the original structure and added two additional levels; the façade was a complete remake and is covered in the most wonderful mosaic work, along with other highly original details such as wavy walls, mask-shaped balconies, bone-like pillars, giving it the nickname of “Casa dels ossos” or the “House of Bones” and enlarged windows, for which it was dubbed “Casa Dels badall”s or the” House of Yawns”. The roof is shaped like the back of a dragon.
In 1905, Père Milà and Roser Segimon, a rich widow, decided to invest her fortune in a large piece of land further down the same street and commissioned Gaudi to build a six-storey apartment building of which they would occupy the 1,300 sq.m. main floor. There was a lot of friction between the architect and the promoters who didn’t appreciate having to pay out more and more money for bold decorative effects and construction principles that were strongly criticised by the press.
Its nickname of La Pedrera, which means “quarry” in Catalan, is due to its three cream-coloured stone façades which change colour as the light waxes and wanes. With their wavy lines, extravagant wrought-iron balconies and 150 windows, the overall effect is like billowing waves.
Guell Palace: open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm in summer (April 1st to October 31st), 10 am to 5.40 pm in winter (November 1st to March 31st). Free on the first Sunday of every month, April 23, May 18th and September 24th. There are limited free tickets so check the website. Closed Mondays, except holidays, 25th and 26th December, 1st January and 6th to 13th January.
Casa Battlo: open Monday to Sunday, 9 am to 9 pm, all year round.
La Pedrera: open Monday to Sunday, 9 am to 8 pm in Summer (1st March to 4th November), 9 am to 6.30 pm in winter (5th November to 28th February), 11 am to 6.30 pm on 1st January. Closed 25th December and 7th to 13th January.