Extremely unusual, as everything Gaudi created, apartment building on Passeig de Gracia the size of entire block built for Mila family in 1906-1910 was the last residential work of Antoni Gaudi. After it was finished the architect committed himself completely to the most important project of his life Sagrada Familia cathedral.
Casa Mila was instantly dubbed as La Pedrera – The Quarry for some similarity and wasn’t accepted unanimously. In fact it was ridiculed for the futuristic wavy façade and balconies called seaweed mounds.
Notice the beautiful wrought iron lamp posts.
It looks fantastic a hundred years later no doubt it’s undulating free shaped facade was a rather controversial creation at the time. The same happened a bit earlier with Eiffel Tower. The general public simply wasn’t ready to accept anything that much unconventional.
And though the architect made many alterations to comply with regulations even within the rules he was able to built an extraordinary edifice. With all it’s architectural and structural innovations, floating form, arches, steel and pillars it was so ahead of time. It had even an underground parking garage, an unheard of a luxury at the early 20-th century Barcelona.
Only a few apartments are open for visitors. Filled with occasional period pieces without any interior design concept they are now far cry from what was envisioned by the architect who designed a whole collection of furniture, lighting and accessories including door knobs and hinges for unique rooms without straight walls. Just enough to give the slightest idea what it was like.
The inner light court, gothic attic and multileveled rooftop terrace with decorative chimneys are also open to the public.
An entire book could be filled just with the images of wrought iron elements, gates, screens, balconies and many small details created with
unprecedented artistry by Badia brothers whom Gaudi trained since they were young.
The inner court with asymmetrical windows and in pastel colors let light in every apartment.
Gothic attic of La Pedrera the place for promenade in bad weather were now is a small expo of Gaudi's scaled models and furniture. The arches are fascinating and the light plays magic.
Hard to imagine but by 1960-s Casa Mila light and beautiful today was painted for decades in gloomy brown color fell in a prolonged disrepair and an extensive renovation was undertaken. Unfortunately it was more harmful than restorative. Much of unique ceiling woodwork, decorative plaster, sculpting and cast iron of the main floor was removed and lost. Irreplaceable loss to much of our chagrin.
The chimneys on the steep rooftop terrace. Who are these futuristic creatures?
View from the top on Passeig de Gracia.
By 1984 it was finally added to UNESCO Catalogue of World Heritage, an honorable status it certainly deserves.
La Pedrera today is one the main highlights of Barcelona beside Sagrada Familia where I’d be happy to invite you next time.
See you soon and have a wonderful weekend. It looks like spring is coming at last.
* All images copyright by Natalie Rapoport