Gaudi and a Whimsical Barcelona: Casa Batlló

“Color in certain places has the great value of making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic,” said Antoni Gaudi.

One of the products from Gaudi’s imaginative mind, Casa Batlló, can easily be distinguished as you walk along Passeig de Gracia. Yes, there is a queue and groups of tourists taking photograph of the magnificent building but it is the spectacular design of structure that will stop you to your tracks.

The house was bought by textile industrialist Josep Batlló despite its rundown form.  Batlló commissioned Gaudi to recreate this building and turn it to a unique house that does not resemble any houses of the Batlló family. He originally wanted to destroy the building and create a new one but Gaudi convinced him that he could refurbished the existing building. The architect was able to remodel the roof, façade and interior.

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The facade is made entirely in sandstone and decorated with a mosaic made of trencadís or shards of ceramic tiles in warm hues of orange and shades of blue and green. The windows are decorated with multicolored stained glass and sculpted stonework supported with columns of which shape resemble that of the curves of a mouth, garnering Casa Batlló the moniker “House of yawns”. The balconies in the lower floor have limb-like pillars while those in the upper floors are similar to skulls, giving the house another nickname “House of Bones”.

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Gaudí’s distinctive style is once again seen in the interior of the house. Windows, doors and the staircase are designed with organic elements derive from nature and curved lines.

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From the main part of the house or the noble floor, one can view the surrounding walls and the skylight of whose design resembles that of tortoise shells.

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The walls are made with glazed tiles in shades of blue, which are lighter at the bottom and darker at the top. The central skylight allows a cascade of sunlight to enter, illuminating the building.

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The roof terrace is famous for its design which resembles that of a dragon’s spine. The ‘dragon’ features colorful tiles as scales, wherein the colors change as you move along the roof from one end to the other and a small triangular window represents the eye. There are also four chimney stacks to prevent backdraughts.

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Casa Batlló is my favorite creation of Gaudi, I appreciated the play of shapes and color in the building as well as how Gaudi utilize the space. If I’m also a rich character, I would actually prefer my home to be designed  like this.

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