Antoni Gaudí is one of the leading architects in modernism. He added his signature all over to Barcelona. The architect was born in Reus in 1952 and got his degree as an architect in 1978.
What makes Gaudi a distinguished architect is his viewpoint. Unlike his contemporaries, Gaudi always took nature as a source of inspiration. He was very skilled at giving his artworks an organic look. As you examine each masterpiece, you will observe curved construction stones, iron sculptures, and other forms that all give a prominent organic shape to the material.
Gaudi was a keen observer, and he was inspired by nature while forming his decisions. According to him, “originality is returning to the origin” that he understood the laws of mathematics by looking at nature. Gaudi was inspired by the structural elements from nature, as spiral stairways, conoid-shape roofs, and tree inspired columns. Thus, Gaudi successfully combined art and science in his designs. Click here to read more about Gaudi’s designs.
Casa Mila (La Pedrera)
La Pedrera is one of the prominent modernism style buildings that is located in Passeig de Gracia. The building is a UNESCO world heritage site, consisting of two blocks of apartments with its entrance, structure and ramps. The building is commissioned by the Pera Mila – Roser Seligman couple who held the first floor and rented out the other apartments. The building is called La Pedrera because it resembles a stone quarry. It is considered as Gaudi’s most iconic civic architectural work because of the innovations in terms of structure and function.
The facade is made up of 6,000 stones rather than a curtain wall. There are 32 balconies in La Pedrera that are made using iron sheet bars and chains. The entrance doors were made up large enough to pass humans and vehicles. The form is a combination of irregular shapes based on plants and animals. There were 29 grilles in the basement placed to protect the building from thieves however they were removed when converted into buildings. Today the removed grilles are exhibited in the MoMA (New York) and Gaudi House museum.
I visited Casa Mila on spring weekend with an audio tour guide. It was not crowded outside, so I quickly managed to get inside. The interior is fascinating. The tour starts by visiting one of the apartments which is part of the exhibition. The apartment gives an idea of how life of a wealthy family was at the beginning of 20’th century.
In the rooftop there is an attic which was created by using 270 catenary arches. The attic is called whale attic due to its resemblance to a whale’s ribcage. The attic was once used as a laundry room by the residents. Today there is an exhibition of Gaudi and his work. You can find models and methods that he used while forming his designs.
The Warrior Rooftop
A picturesque view with functional elements. The warriors protect the building. Gaudi’s imagination is unlimited, and you can clearly see it on this rooftop. This rooftop consists of ventilation towers, stairwell covers and chimneys. It reminded me of Cappadocia, which makes perfectly sense since Gaudi always took nature as the source of inspiration.
There is a fantastic panoramic view of Barcelona. The two spectacular spots are La Sagrada Família and Mount Tibidabo which is the highest point in Barcelona. I visited this terrace on a sunny spring day and sat for a while, enjoying the sunshine.
The last part of the tour is the courtyard. There are two of them, the Flower one connects to Passeig de Gracia and the Butterfly connects to Carrer Provence. Flower courtyard is open to visitors. The way Gaudi designed this courtyard is to enable light and ventilation to the apartments. Each wall and column is another masterpiece. They have floral motives and scenes from myths.
Casa Mila is a must to visit for Gaudi fans. Today Casa Mila is used for various purposes: tourism, cultural exhibitions, administrative, residential and commercial. There are shops on the ground floor, exhibition and conference spaces in the interior.
Casa Mila is open to visitors between 9:00 am to 11:00 pm. The address is La Pedrera, Passeig de Gracia, 92, 08008, Barcelona. There are various types of visit programs which are explained in detail on the official website. Click here for more information about La Pedrera.