Buscando Barcelona

One of Gaudi’s Greatest: Casa Mila

Posted on: December 15, 2009

My  visit to one of Gaudi’s most famous buildings was incredibly interesting. The rooftop terrace, attic, stairwells, and overall design of the building are a perfect showcase of his revolutionary Modernist ideas for architecture. I also found it incredibly interesting how his devotion to his faith played a role in his design.

            For example, on each side of the roof top terraces are arches that serve as frames for 2 of the cathedrals in the city of Barcelona, one being another of his own works, La Sagrada Familia. He also attempted to add a sculpture of the Virgin Mary flanked by two angels to the façade of the building. However, due to political and religious unrest during the time of construction, the commissioner forbid this addition. In the end, I think that this was a good decision. The façade of the building is already so interesting that anything more would be too much. The stone and iron are a stark contrast to his other works such as Casa Batllo and Parc Guell, but it is the beauty in the simplicity of the building’s exterior that makes it such a work of art.

            Its important to note that Gaudi does not completely forego his love for embellishment in this building. On the rooftop terrace, his signature trencadis covers the two large air vents that are visible from the street. This shows both his attention to detail and his practicality. It would have been a waste of money to cover all of the vents because half cannot be seen from the street. Another interesting way of saving money while still adding decoration is using broken bottles of Cava, a popular Catalan wine, for trencadis on one set of vents.

            Another incredible part of the building was the attic just below the terrace. His ability to create such an open, free flowing space was only possible through the use of the Catanary arch. This was also a frugal means of construction. It uses less bricks and creates more space. This was also a way to see how he was inspired by nature. The vault created by the rows of arches resembles the spine and ribs of a skeleton. Also, the façade of the building is inspired by nature in that it curves like the waves of the Mediterranean, and the wrought iron balconies are twisted and curved to resemble the surf as it crashes to shore.

            I really liked seeing in person all of Gaudi’s trademark techniques and inspirations. Its incredible how all the different styles come together to make one incredible work of art. Gaudi was truly ahead of his time and Casa Mila is one of the best testaments to his architectural genius. Gaudi will always be associated with Barcelona. He adored his city and gave back in one of the most immortal ways. His architecture has become the hallmark of Barcelona and is part of what makes it such a culturally and artistically progressive city.

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