Casa Milà in Barcelona, Spain

One of the highlights of Barcelona is to visit the seven Unesco designated works of Antoni Gaudí i Cornet ( June 25, 1852 – June 10, 1926)  The word “gaudy” to me means: a bit over the top, way more is better and do you really like that? And that describes Gaudí’s works too: highly individualized with a one-of-a-kind style. His works are like no one else’s and considering most were done in the early 1900’s his style would have been quite shocking! Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. He considered every detail of his creations, integrating into his architecture such crafts as waste ceramic pieces,  stained glass,  wrought ironwork, and carpentry.  It is said that the evening the Casa Milá was complete, a party was held, and he used the smashed champagne bottles to add more detail to one of the roof-top structures.  Gaudí’s  Roman Catholic faith intensified during his life and religious images appear in many of his works, culminating with his masterpiece, the still-incomplete Sagrada Família, the most-visited monument in Spain. (More about that in another post)

Gaudí’s first projects were the lampposts he designed for the  Plaça Reial, in Barcelona. Aren’t these quite the lampposts?  Which one do you like best? I like the wrap around pole that provides the lighting on the street and on the sidewalk and also seating at the bottom!

 

Barcelona, Spain

So what is Casa Milà?

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Barcelona was buzzing with excitement. The World Fair had brought major design changes to the city, where other first-of-a-kind buildings were built. In 1906,  Roser Segimon, a rich widow, who owned coffee plantations in Guatemala and her new husband Pere Milà, commissioned Gaudí to build a building to be used as their residence in Barcelona.  Casa Milà was Gaudí’s last commissioned private residence and all the bells and whistles were put into this project. It was very controversial at the time, because of the stone facade, twisting wrought iron balconies, an open floor-plan, underground garage, and roof garden. The people of Barcelona nicknamed the building La Pedrera or “the stone quarry” due to it’s unconventional look and that was just the outside! Many neighbors saw it as an eyesore and did not approve. The building was finished and approved by 1912, but only after Gaudí had taken out some of the religious statues, provided a wall that did not curve so the Steinway piano could be placed, (Gaudí first suggested Mrs Milà give up the piano and play the violin instead) and  widened the ramp to allow Rolls-Royce cars to use it. Can you imagine?

Today Casa Milà is a museum…….so let’s take a look at this fabulous building……… Walking into the entry, it is bright and airy due to the use of sky lights, unheard of at the time.  A set of huge wrought iron gates leads to the elevators and the lower level garages. The Milà family residence was on the main floor and the other floors were rented out to other well-to-do families. However, Gaudí only placed an elevator opening to every other floor. He wanted all the families to meet and mingle.  A grand curved staircase led to the Milà’s apartment.  Now let’s go up to the rooftop and work our way down.

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

One of the most notable elements of the building is the roof, crowned with skylights, staircase exits, fans, and chimneys. All of these elements, constructed out of brick covered with lime, broken marble or glass, have a specific architectural function, but are also real sculptures integrated into the building.

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

This piece reminds me of a honey comb.

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

I think these pieces look like owls!

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

He designed the building as a constant curve, both outside and inside. Casa Milà is formed by two buildings, forming a figure eight, around two courtyards that provide light. There are nine stories: the basement, ground floor, mezzanine, main or noble floor, four upper floors ( which provided twenty apartments) and an attic, which was the laundry.

Now let’s go inside!

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

He made a smaller version of Casa Milà and used it as a model, as well as using drawings on paper. It gives you an idea of the total  look and the affect of the residence in the neighborhood.

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

Here is the attic that was used as a laundry. It was a big open tunnel.

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

The apartments feature plastered ceilings with dynamic reliefs, handcrafted wooden doors, windows, and furniture, as well as hydraulic tiles and various ornamental elements. He designed the furniture as well. The apartment we viewed was a series of rather small rooms I thought, but the average city dweller, (family of four in Barcelona today), live in approximately 1000 square foot apartments. All of these rooms would have seemed like a palace and the amenities too good to be true!  Mrs. Milà was not so crazy about some of the furnishings Gaudí designed for her. They didn’t look very comfortable to me either. Gaudí spent so much money on hand-made oak doors, she decided they would only be in her apartment.

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

And here are some of the rooms……. a bedroom……

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

a sewing room……

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

the living area……..I love the tile on the floor…….

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

The dining room………

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

a huge bath……..with curved closet doors………..

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

the kitchen……

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

You can see the rooms flowed into each other…..

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

and there was plenty of natural light…..

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

and interior windows with half doors……….

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

more interior doors and windows…….

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

and a telephone……..with a really long cord.

Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

There were many complaints about the building at the time it was being built. City Hall stopped work on the building because of a pillar which occupied part of the sidewalk, and the roof line and attic space were deemed higher than regulations permitted. It was really stop and go during all of the construction. Gaudí at one point decided to leave the project, but was convinced by a priest to keep on working and designing and after six years the building was completed and ready to move in. During construction there were many details left undone due to the rising costs of the project and fines for building infractions.

After Gaudí’s death Mrs Milà sold some of the furniture that she never liked.

The building did not respect any rules of conventional style, for which Gaudí received much criticism. But, I am so glad it is still here to see! Although it has taken on many changes over the years, ( it was sold after WWII  and modified) it was brought back to the original design and made into the museum that is a must see for anyone visiting Barcelona! Next let’s go to Park Güell, another famous Gaudí landmark! See you there!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    You are having a fabulous time in one of my favourite cities and I love Gaudi’s buildings. I didn’t get to see inside Casa Mila, so it’s very interesting to see your photos.

    Like

  2. I visited Casa Mila several years ago during a long weekend in Barcelona. What a fabulous building. I love the curves of Gaudi’s architecture. Your photos and text show so clearly how interesting the building is.

    Like

  3. Thanks for the tour & history! I’ve only ever seen photos of the outside

    Like

  4. I love Gaudi’s work. We didn’t manage to see this on our trip but hopefully next time. 😊

    Like

  5. Joanne Sisco says:

    This is the most detailed look at this famous building that I’ve ever seen. So cool!! I think the jury is still out on whether he was a genius or eccentric, but there is no denying the impact he’s had on Barcelona!

    Liked by 1 person

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