Ajuntament de Barcelona Institut del Paisatje Urbà
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Barcelona Modernisme Route
Ruta 3, MNAC (34) – Casa Batlló (45)
Pag >> 1 , 2 , 3 ,4 , 5 , 6

The rise ends right in front of the majestic PALAU NACIONAL, (NATIONAL PALACE), which was the main hall of the International Exhibition. Built between 1927 and 1929 to the design by Eugeni P. Cendoya and Enric Catà, with the collaboration of Pere Domènech i Roura, this edifice falls within the style known as Eclectic Monumentalism
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya MNAC

Address
Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, 08038 Barcelona.
Open
Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm. Sundays and holidays, 10am to 2.30pm.
Closed on Mondays (except holidays) and on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.

Information
Tel.: 902 076 621. info@mnac.es; www.museunacional.cat

Restaurant with a view.

Rooftop terraces with a view over Barcelona.
Further details
Tiquet booths close at 6.30pm; 2pm on Sundays and holidays.
Timetables may vary.

Prices and discounts
Prices.

Adults: €8.50.

Students: €5,95.

Pensioners and children under 14 years of age: free.

Discount of the Modernisme Route: 30% off the adult price (price including discount €5,95).
Description
The rise ends right in front of the majestic PALAU NACIONAL, (NATIONAL PALACE), which was the main hall of the International Exhibition. Built between 1927 and 1929 to the design by Eugeni P. Cendoya and Enric Catà, with the collaboration of Pere Domènech i Roura, this edifice falls within the style known as Eclectic Monumentalism. It currently houses the MNAC MUSEU NACIONAL D’ART DE CATALUNYA,(33) CATALUNYA (NATIONAL ART MUSEUM OF CATALONIA.), which since 2004, on completion of the rehabilitation work on the building, has finally regrouped all its collections. These collections embrace over a thousand years of Catalan art: painting, sculpture, arts of the object, drawing and engraving, photography, numismatics and medals. Naturally, this includes a good exhibition of Catalan art from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. The collection of the MNAC is the most representative of the Modernista movement in Barcelona, displaying the most salient works of this artistic style in all their diversity: painting, sculpture and decorative arts.
.
A visit to the Museum is also essential in order to place the work of the Modernista architects in the artistic context of their time. For example, though Gaudí did not frequent the Modernista coteries, he was friendly -and there were mutual artistic influences- with several artists who belonged to the movement, such as the sculptors Josep Llimona and Carles Mani and the painters Joaquim Mir, Anglada i Camarasa, Francesc Gimeno and Darío de Regoyos, all of whom are represented in the collections of the Museum. Many of the works on display refer to sites on the Barcelona Modernisme Route. Here one can see, for example, the original work Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a tandem (1897) by the painter Ramon Casas (1866-1932), which decorated Els Quatre Gats (23), where you have seen a copy. The rich collection of decorative arts of the Museum shows us the interior decor of the main floors of some of the most emblematic houses of Modernista architecture, such as those that form the famous “Mansana de la Discòrdia” on Passeig de Gràcia. The Museum shows several elements of the furniture from Casa Amatller (44), by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, such as a bench, a glass cabinet and a ceiling light designed by the architect himself. It exhibits several designs by Antoni Gaudí from Casa Batlló (45), such as a sliding door, a chair and a sofa that is very characteristic of his style. The architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, who designed the Casa Lleó Morera (43), commissioned the interior decoration of the main floor of the building to the Majorcan cabinetmaker Gaspar Homar (1870-1953), one of the main figures of Modernista decorative arts. His designs won prizes in Barcelona, Madrid, London (1907) and Paris (1909). Of this decoration, the Museum exhibits almost the complete living room, as well as other elements from the rest of the dwelling, such as a sofa with glass cabinets and inlaid panelling at the sides. To complete the vision of modern art in Catalonia, visitors should not neglect the work of other artists and movements from before -Marià Fortuny and the followers of the Rome School- and after Modernisme. The second generation of Modernista artists such as Joaquim Mir; the artists of the Noucentista period such as Joaquim Sunyer, Joaquim Torres Garcia and Manolo Hugué; and the avant-garde sculptures of Gargallo and Juli González are especially interesting.


It currently houses the MNAC MUSEU NACIONAL D’ART DE CATALUNYA,(34) CATALUNYA (NATIONAL ART MUSEUM OF CATALONIA.), which since 2004, on completion of the rehabilitation work on the building, has finally regrouped all its collections. These collections embrace over a thousand years of Catalan art: painting, sculpture, arts of the object, drawing and engraving, photography, numismatics and medals. Naturally, this includes a good exhibition of Catalan art from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. The collection of the MNAC is the most representative of the Modernista movement in Barcelona, displaying the most salient works of this artistic style in all their diversity: painting, sculpture and decorative arts.

A visit to the Museum is also essential in order to place the work of the Modernista architects in the artistic context of their time. For example, though Gaudí did not frequent the Modernista coteries, he was friendly -and there were mutual artistic influences- with several artists who belonged to the movement, such as the sculptors Josep Llimona and Carles Mani and the painters Joaquim Mir, Anglada i Camarasa, Francesc Gimeno and Darío de Regoyos, all of whom are represented in the collections of the Museum. Many of the works on display refer to sites on the Barcelona Modernisme Route. Here one can see, for example, the original work Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a tandem (1897) by the painter Ramon Casas (1866-1932), which decorated Els Quatre Gats (23), where you have seen a copy. The rich collection of decorative arts of the Museum shows us the interior decor of the main floors of some of the most emblematic houses of Modernista architecture, such as those that form the famous “Mansana de la Discòrdia” on Passeig de Gràcia. The Museum shows several elements of the furniture from Casa Amatller (44), by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, such as a bench, a glass cabinet and a ceiling light designed by the architect himself. It exhibits several designs by Antoni Gaudí from Casa Batlló (45), such as a sliding door, a chair and a sofa that is very characteristic of his style. The architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, who designed the Casa Lleó Morera (43), commissioned the interior decoration of the main floor of the building to the Majorcan cabinetmaker Gaspar Homar (1870-1953), one of the main figures of Modernista decorative arts. His designs won prizes in Barcelona, Madrid, London (1907) and Paris (1909). Of this decoration, the Museum exhibits almost the complete living room, as well as other elements from the rest of the dwelling, such as a sofa with glass cabinets and inlaid panelling at the sides. To complete the vision of modern art in Catalonia, visitors should not neglect the work of other artists and movements from before -Marià Fortuny and the followers of the Rome School- and after Modernisme. The second generation of Modernista artists such as Joaquim Mir; the artists of the Noucentista period such as Joaquim Sunyer, Joaquim Torres Garcia and Manolo Hugué; and the avant-garde sculptures of Gargallo and Juli González are especially interesting.

From MNAC, go down to Plaça de Carles Buïgas and take Avinguda del Marquès de Comillas to the CAIXAFORUM ANTIGA FÀBRICA CASARAMONA (35) (FORMER CASARAMONA FACTORY. Av. Marquès de Comillas, 6-8). The entrepreneur Casimir Casaramona decided to locate his textile factory on Montjuïc hill and contracted Josep Puig i Cadafalch to design it in 1912. The result was a typical complex of industrial architecture including Catalan vaults, ceramics and artificial stone. Puig i Cadafalch also gave the complex his characteristic Neo-Gothic style and highly personal details such as the pinnacles and the square towers. The factory, the largest building designed by Puig i Cadafalch, eventually fell into disuse and from 1940 it housed the stables of the National Police cavalry. Fortunately, in 1998 it was rehabilitated to house CaixaForum, the new headquarters and cultural centre of “la Caixa” savings bank’s Foundation. Exhibitions, workshops, lectures, courses and concerts are a few of the activities offered by CaixaForum, which organises guided visits to the exhibitions and to the Modernista building.

CaixaForum. Antiga Fàbrica Casaramona

Address
Avinguda Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8.
Open
Open daily.

Monday to Sunday and holidays, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Closed December 25 and January 1 and 6.

Information
Tel.: 934 768 600.

www.laCaixa.es/ObraSocial


Further details
Free entrance.
Description
The entrepreneur Casimir Casaramona decided to locate his textile factory on Montjuïc hill and contracted Josep Puig i Cadafalch to design it in 1912. The result was a typical complex of industrial architecture including Catalan vaults, ceramics and artificial stone. Puig i Cadafalch also gave the complex his characteristic Neo-Gothic style and highly personal details such as the pinnacles and the square towers. The factory, the largest building designed by Puig i Cadafalch, eventually fell into disuse and from 1940 it housed the stables of the National Police cavalry. Fortunately, in 1998 it was rehabilitated to house CaixaForum, the social and cultural headquarters of ”la Caixa” Community Projects in Barcelona. Exhibitions, workshops, lectures, courses and concerts are a few of the activities offered by CaixaForum, which organises guided visits to the exhibitions and to the Modernista building.



Prices and discounts
25% discount on the price of tickets for exhibitions at CaixaForum.

Continuing along Gran Via towards Hospitalet de Llobregat, you will come to the ESTACIÓ DE LA MAGÒRIA (36) (MAGÒRIA STATION. Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 181-247 / Moianès, 1-17), built by Josep Domènech i Estapà in 1912 for the goods trains travelling to the port and linking with the FGC railway line that runs under Gran Via. The station and the adjoining land have been converted into a sports complex. Not far away, at the end of Carrer Moianès, we come to Carrer de la Creu Coberta, where you may see two fine examples of early Modernisme. On the right you will find the MERCAT D’HOSTAFRANCS (37) (HOSTAFRANCS MARKET. Creu Coberta, 93), built in 1888 by Antoni Rovira i Trías and featuring an attractive iron structure like that of the Sant Antoni Market by the same engineer. Across the street, the Former Deputy Mayor’s Office of Hostafrancs, currently the SEU DEL DISTRICTE DE SANTS-MONTJUÏC (38) (SANTS-MONTJUÏC DISTRICT HALL. Creu Coberta, 106), completed in two stages by Jaume Gustà i Bondia (1895) and Ubald Iranzo i Eiras (1908-1915). Partially Modernista and partially eclectic in style, the main features of this town hall are the stained glass windows by Francesc Labarta.

De nuevo en el cruce de la Gran Via con el paseo de Gràcia y un poco más adelante, en la acera de la izquierda, se encuentra la CASA MALAGRIDA (39) (paseo de Gràcia, 27), obra de Joaquim Codina i Matalí, realizada entre 1905 y 1908. Como otros edificios de la época situados en la mejor zona del Eixample, la Casa Malagrida tiene una apariencia exterior de palacete urbano que huye de la tipología habitual de la casa de vecinos del Eixample. Pese a tener este aspecto, el edificio estuvo destinado desde su origen a ser una vivienda plurifamiliar. Lo más destacado del inmueble es su espectacular coronación en forma de cúpula y los faroles de hierro forjado de un vestíbulo en el que también merece la pena contemplar los elegantes frescos y artesonados del techo.

Back on Passeig de Gràcia, a little further up, on the left side is the CASA MALAGRIDA (39) (MALAGRIDA HOUSE. Passeig de Gràcia, 27) built in 1908 by Joaquim Codina i Matalí. Like other buildings of the time located in the best area of the Eixample, Casa Malagrida has the exterior appearance of an urban mansion that avoids the usual style of residential buildings in the Eixample. Nevertheless, it was originally designed as a dwelling for several families. The most outstanding features of the building are the spectacular dome and the wrought iron lamp-posts in a foyer in which the elegant frescos and the coffered ceiling are also worth seeing.

Continue up Passeig de Gràcia and turn right at Carrer Consell de Cent, following the direction of the traffic. After walking two blocks you will come to the origin of the Eixample itself: the first houses that were built in the district. The CASES CERDÀ(CERDÀ HOUSES) were built in 1864 by Antoni Valls on the corners of Carrer Consell de Cent and Carrer Roger de Llúria. They have been restored and are identified by a plate on the façade. Some distance on, we will see the CONFITERIA J. REÑÉ (J. REÑÉ’S CONFECTIONERY, Consell de Cent, 362), an old Modernista bakers’ which is currently a cafe-restaurant.

A little further along, at Carrer Girona, there is an 1898 Modernista bakery, FORN SARRET (40) (SARRET BAKERY. Girona, 73), with delightful marquetry doors and a coat of arms above the door depicting an allegory of the wheat harvest. On the opposite corner is the 1900 bakery FORN DE LA CONCEPCIÓ (41) (Girona, 74), by Josep Suñer.

Going a little further up Carrer Girona, you will come to CASA POMAR (42) (POMAR HOUSE. Girona, 86), an original 1904-1906 design by Rubió i Bellvé, with a façade that gives it the appearance of a church (don’t miss the green ceramics in the shape of a ship’s keel over the main door). Going back along Carrer Consell de Cent, not far away on Carrer Roger de Llúria between Carrer Consell de Cent and Carrer Diputació is the TORRE DE LES AIGÜES (WATER TOWER. Roger de Llúria, 56), built in 1867 by Josep Oriol Mestres. In 1987 it became the first inner court to be recovered by the City Council according to Cerdà’s initial design. In summer this place becomes an urban beach for the neighbours. Opposite is Passatge Permanyer, a charming lane of small houses that recalls Victorian London.

The Route now returns to Passeig de Gràcia. The following stage on the tour of the Modernista buildings of Barcelona is the MANSANA DE LA DISCÒRDIA, (Block of Discord), the 100 metres of Barcelona street that contain three masterpieces by the three main Modernista arquitects: Lluís Domènech i Montaner (Casa Lleó Morera), Josep Puig i Cadafalch (Casa Amatller) and Antoni Gaudí (Casa Batlló). The block was given this name because of the presumed visual incompatibility of the three large buildings that share this section of Passeig de Gràcia between Carrer Consell de Cent and Carrer Aragó, which-curiously enough-are conversions of previously existing buildings.

The first building of interest in this unique Mansana de la Discòrdia is the CASA LLEÓ MORERA (43) (LLEÓ MORERA HOUSE. Passeig de Gràcia, 35), which unfortunately cannot be visited inside. In 1905, Lluís Domènech i Montaner converted this house built in 1864 by the Sociedad Fomento del Ensanche in order to improve it and redecorate it for its new owners, the Lleo Morera family. The most Renaissance-influenced architect of Modernisme in Barcelona combined in Casa Lleó Morera -a small and even modest work- the creative effort of a considerable number of artists and craftsmen who worked in close collaboration to achieve a surprising, almost miraculous result in the purest Domènech i Montaner floral style. From the foyer to the staircase, the lift and the piano nobile, the Casa Lleó Morera is one of the richest and best preserved examples of applied arts in the Modernista style, featuring mosaics, stained glass, marquetry, paving and sculptures. The main feature of the house is precisely one of the great surprises of Modernisme in Barcelona: a monumental stained glass window by Antoni Rigalt that occupies the former main dining room of the house and represents a bucolic rural scene (see photo on page 25). The same room has eight panels of ceramic work with porcelain figures in relief and lintels in which Eusebi Arnau sculpted a Provençal legend, La dida de l’Infant Rei (The Child King’s Nanny).

Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867-1956)
Josep Puig i Cadafalch was born in 1867 in a well-to-do family of Mataró, a thriving industrial city north of Barcelona. He soon stood out for his intelligence and precocity: at the age of sixteen he was already giving lectures and publishing articles, particularly on Romanesque art, the great passion of his life. He was eventually to be considered a world authority on the subject, to which he contributed his massive trilogy L’arquitectura romànica de Catalunya (1909-1918), and was awarded five honorary doctorates in Europe and the United States.

At the age of 25, shortly after graduation at the School of Architecture of Barcelona (one of his professors was Domènech i Montaner), Puig was already the municipal architect of Mataró, where he built a new market (1892) and designed a modern sewage system (1895). Meanwhile, he undertook private commissions, some of them major mansions such as the Casa Coll i Regàs in Mataró and the Casa Garí “el Cros” in Argentona, both in 1898. He was soon in demand in Barcelona, where in 1895 he began to work on the Casa Martí, and proceeded to plan Casa Amatller and Casa Macaya. Also in this period he began to promote and participate in a series of archaeological projects (like the Greek-Roman site of Empúries, the Romanesque remains of Sant Pere de Rodes, or the Visigothic churches of Sant Pere in Terrassa) and museum projects (in particular the collection of Romanesque painting of the present-day MNAC), which are today fundamental works of the art history of Catalonia.

The early involvement of Puig with the city of Barcelona led him to become a city councillor in 1901. This marked the start of a long political career, during which he was member of the Spanish Congress and for many years deputy of the provincial council. In 1917 he succeeded Prat de la Riba as president of the Mancomunitat (“Commonwealth”) of Catalonia, a first attempt at autonomous regional government that had been set up three years earlier. As could not be otherwise, Puig i Cadafalch was a prolific and versatile president, despite the lack of real power and the shortage of resources. Thus, as a good Modernista, he worked to develop the country by providing it with the infrastructures proper to a modern state, through projects involving the creation of public technical and professional schools such as the School of Nursing, the School of Commerce and the School of Textile Industries; the systematic extension of the telephone network to the country; the promotion of social welfare organisations such as the first organisation of the blind and the Maternity Hospital; and the foundation of Catalan scientific institutions such as the IEC (the Catalan scientific academy), the future MNAC and the Library of Catalonia. Occupying the Presidency, however, did not prevent him from continuing with his work as an architect and town planner: the fact that the president was commissioned to direct public municipal works such as the development of Via Laietana and the planning of the enclosure for the International Exhibition of 1929, clearly illustrates what the Catalan bourgeois of the period were able to do for themselves.

The coup d’état by General Primo de Rivera in 1923, which the conservative Puig met with reserved optimism, led a year later to the abolition of the Mancomunitat and the prohibition of all Catalan political and cultural activities. In addition to losing his post, Puig i Cadafalch was condemned to a professional and public ostracism that, one way or another, was to accompany him for the rest of his life. In 1936, at the outbreak of the Civil War, the Puig family went into exile in France and did not return until 1942. In the new Spanish fascist regime, the old Catalan nationalist still carried out a few architectural projects, though they often had to be signed by other architects in order to receive approval. He died in Barcelona in 1956.

On the façade his sculptural work was also spectacular, but the female figures on the arches of the ground floor were mutilated in the 1940s when the sculptures and the remaining ornamental details were destroyed to allow new shop windows to be fitted. This was partially restored in 1992 thanks to photographs and documents. In the MNAC (34) you can see elements of interior decor of the main floor such as furniture, lamps and carpets designed by Gaspar Homar. One of the outstanding exhibits is a huge sofa-cupboard of marquetry work.

Adjoining Casa Lleó Morera are two buildings that provide a perfect yet discreet counterpoint, contemporary to the large works of the Mansana de la Discòrdia. The first of these is the CASA MULLERAS (MULLERAS HOUSE. Passeig de Gràcia, 37), a sober 1911 architectural work by Enric Sagnier that was also the conversion of a previous building, dating from 1868, which included the complete replacement of the façade. The second is CASA BONET (BONET HOUSE. Passeig de Gràcia, 39), a rather undistinguished Classicist work by Jaume Brossa (1901), which nevertheless houses a delightful little Perfume Museum on the ground floor. Opened in 1961, it shows a collection of almost 5,000 perfume bottles and phials from different cultures and civilisations, ranging from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Carthaginian, Arabic and Oriental bottles of pottery and glass to an interesting collection of phials from the 17th to the 19th century in porcelain, crystal glass and other noble materials.

The next essential stop on Mansana de la Discòrdia is CASA AMATLLER, (44) (AMATLLER HOUSE. Passeig de Gràcia, 41). The history of this building changed between 1898 and 1900, when the chocolate manufacturer Antoni Amatller, who was also a philanthropist, amateur photographer and glasswork collector, bought an uninteresting building erected in 1875 in Passeig de Gràcia to use as his main residence. The manufacturer commissioned the work to the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who decided to give it the appearance of an urban Gothic mansion, with a flat façade and a central court with a staircase leading to the piano nobile.

Puig i Cadafalch made a highly personal reading of the Neo-Gothic style in the Casa Amatller, through a design that allowed him to maintain the excellence of his work even at a time when the elements of Gothic language had been abandoned by most architects. The first outstanding feature in the building is its stepped Nordic façade, coated by a sgraffito membrane of ochre and white stucco and crowned by an extravagant Flemish-style gable adorned with red and gold vitrified Valencian tiles.

The façade, considered by some specialists to be “the apotheosis of the decorative arts” and in which some have seen influences of the town houses of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, has a bay window of Wagnerian inspiration that recalls the façade of the Sant Jordi Chapel in the Palau de la Generalitat (Plaça de Sant Jaume). Puig i Cadafalch sprinkled the house with his typical mediaeval details. The entrance, for example, is decorated with sculptures, capitals and stucco work such as the stone figure of Saint George killing the dragon by Eusebi Arnau. The figures on the windows of the main floor recall the fantastic and grotesque creatures that decorate Gothic mansions and churches. Also on the ground floor there is a jeweller’s shop that has respected the small original windows with floral ornamentation that are inspired by Catalan Gothic mansions.

The foyer is decorated with three bronze lamps and has an elegant staircase leading to the piano nobile, which houses the Amatller Institute of Hispanic Art, founded by the Amatller family, an academic institution dedicated to the study of Spanish art that currently owns the building. The main floor is one of the few interiors of Barcelona that still conserve not only much of the original wealth of ornamentation, but also the opulent gilded atmosphere enjoyed by the bourgeoisie of the Modernista Eixample, thanks to the sculptures that adapt to the spaces, the floors of Roman-style mosaic and white marble, and the ceilings that offer a rich combination of polychrome beams and sgraffito work. The fireplace is one of the most outstanding features, though many consider that the masterpiece of this floor is the pink marble column located right in the middle of the bay window, which can be seen from the street -it plays no structural role, but is merely a hedonistic feature, only intended to offer the pure pleasure of contemplation. Unfortunately, this house is not open to visitors, but you can see several pieces of the original furniture at the MNAC (34).

The third great work of the Mansana de la Discòrdia is CASA BATLLÓ. (45) (BATLLÓ HOUSE.) Josep Batlló was an ostentatious textile tycoon who owned several factories, one of them the old Vapor Batlló on Carrer Urgell, which is now the Industrial School of Barcelona. In 1904 he commissioned Antoni Gaudí to remodel an original building dating from 1870, and his fabulous riches allowed the architect to set his imagination free -indeed, Gaudí reportedly declared his intention to create “a paradise on earth”.
Casa Batlló

Address
Passeig de Gràcia, 43

08007 Barcelona

Open
Daily 9am to 8pm. 

On January 1st and December 25th open from 9am to 8pm.

Closing at 2pm on dates reserved for Events.

Information
Tel.: 934 880 666 or 932 160 306. Fax: 934 883 090. infovisites@casabatllo.cat www.casabatllo.cat
Further details
Includes audio guide in English, Catalan, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, French, Japanese and Xinese.

We ensure the accessibility of the house.

Timetables may change.
Prices and discounts
Prix.

Complete tour: Piano nobile+attic+roof terrace.

Adults: €20,35.

Students and pensioners: €16,30.

Groups (over 20 persons): €17,30.

From 0 to 6 years-old: free entrance.

Includes audio guide.

Discount of the Modernisme Route:  €2,00 off the adult price.
Description
Josep Batlló was an ostentatious textile tycoon who owned several factories, one of them the old Vapor Batlló on Carrer Urgell, which is now the Industrial School of Barcelona. In 1904 he commissioned Antoni Gaudí to remodel an original building dating from 1870, and his fabulous riches allowed the architect to set his imagination free -indeed, Gaudí reportedly declared his intention to create “a paradise on earth”. He added a fifth floor, built the basement, extended the foyer, rebuilt the staircase and interior walls, and used wide curves in all the rooms. In fact, the building has no right angles. But the most singular element of the house is the façade, which combines stone on the ground floor and the piano nobile with a mosaic facing on the higher floors, and is crowned with a scaly tiled roof that recalls a reptile’s back. The interpretation of the façade has long been a source of dispute. For some, Gaudí’s aim was to build a symbolic hymn of the legend of Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia, in his mythological victory over the dragon. If the roof is the dragon’s back and the circular tower symbolises Saint George’s lance, the iron balconies of the intermediate floors represent the skulls of the dragon’s victims, and the bay window on the first floor simulates the bones and tendons left over after the dragon’s feasts. However, another interpretation of Casa Batlló is that the whole façade is an allegory of Carnival. Then the roof would be a harlequin’s hat, the balconies would clearly represent ball masks, and the multicolour trencadís ceramic which “cascades” down the façade -the work of a young Josep Maria Jujol- would be the confetti of the feast.
The inside is even more spectacular than the façade. The light well of the Casa Batlló is a true marvel. Always obsessed by lighting, Gaudí gave it an irregular facing of tiles that become darker, going from pearl grey to cobalt blue, as they go up toward the skylight. The result of this almost subliminal architectural device is an equal distribution of natural lighting on all floors. To complete the effect, the balconies and windows of the lower floors are larger than those on the upper floors. The staircase leading to the main floor is wrung like the skeleton of a fossilised dinosaur and the sinuous walls, painted to resemble a mosaic, have a surface and reflections resembling a cave eroded by the sea. The main floor is exceptionally well-preserved. The counterweights that are used to raise the stained glass windows giving onto Passeig de Gràcia are still fully operative, as are the grilles that provide air from the street -a brilliant natural ventilation system- and the precise hand-made window and door fastenings.
On this floor, however, there are only two original pieces of furniture designed by Gaudí, a desk and a bench, but other designs by Gaudí for Casa Batlló may be seen at the MNAC (34).



He added a fifth floor, built the basement, extended the foyer, rebuilt the staircase and interior walls, and used wide curves in all the rooms. In fact, the building has no right angles. But the most singular element of the house is the façade, which combines stone on the ground floor and the piano nobile with a mosaic facing on the higher floors, and is crowned with a scaly tiled roof that recalls a reptile’s back. The interpretation of the façade has long been a source of dispute. For some, Gaudí’s aim was to build a symbolic hymn of the legend of Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia, in his mythological victory over the dragon. If the roof is the dragon’s back and the circular tower symbolises Saint George’s lance, the iron balconies of the intermediate floors represent the skulls of the dragon’s victims, and the bay window on the first floor simulates the bones and tendons left over after the dragon’s feasts. However, another interpretation of Casa Batlló is that the whole façade is an allegory of Carnival. Then the roof would be a harlequin’s hat, the balconies would clearly represent ball masks, and the multicolour trencadís ceramic which “cascades” down the façade -the work of a young Josep Maria Jujol- would be the confetti of the feast.

The inside is even more spectacular than the façade. The light well of the Casa Batlló is a true marvel. Always obsessed by lighting, Gaudí gave it an irregular facing of tiles that become darker, going from pearl grey to cobalt blue, as they go up toward the skylight. The result of this almost subliminal architectural device is an equal distribution of natural lighting on all floors. To complete the effect, the balconies and windows of the lower floors are larger than those on the upper floors. The staircase leading to the main floor is wrung like the skeleton of a fossilised dinosaur and the sinuous walls, painted to resemble a mosaic, have a surface and reflections resembling a cave eroded by the sea. The main floor is exceptionally well-preserved. The counterweights that are used to raise the stained glass windows giving onto Passeig de Gràcia are still fully operative, as are the grilles that provide air from the street -a brilliant natural ventilation system- and the precise hand-made window and door fastenings.

On this floor, however, there are only two original pieces of furniture designed by Gaudí, a desk and a bench, but other designs by Gaudí for Casa Batlló may be seen at the MNAC (34).

www.pi2.com