Part of the allure that brings people to Barcelona apart from the food and football is the city’s rich history and culture. It comes to no surprise that Antoni Gaudi is one of the most celebrated architects the world has ever known and his refined, unique architectural style can be witnessed all over the city of Barcelona. In my previous visits to Barcelona, I have experienced Gaudi’s typical ‘Art Nouveau’ vision at La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Casa Milà ‘La Pedrera’. There was one Gaudi masterpiece I still hadn’t experienced and that was Casa Batlló.
Casa Batlló (pronounced Bayah) is located in the centre of Barcelona on Passeig de Gràcia, a few blocks up from Plaça de Catalunya. This private residence was commissioned to Gaudi in 1904 and still to this day remains privately owned and receives no financial benefits from the local council, relying solely on donations and ticket sales.
“There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature. Therefore buildings must have no straight lines or corners.” Antoni Gaudi
Prior to entering the absurd yet striking building, you’ll notice the colourful mosaic flowers on the exterior facing onto the busy street and freakish looking balconies resembling that of bones and a dragon. It’s no wonder that Casa Batlló is known as ‘Casa dels ossos’ by locals meaning, ‘House of Bones.‘ Glimpses of the rooftop can also be seen from the sidewalk but are much better experienced from the inside.
As you make your way inside, you are given an interactive audio guide with a small device with a screen (Ten points to the team at Casa Batlló, it’s fantastic) that shows you what the room and furniture used to look like back when it was built. Gaudi very rarely used straight lines in his work and Casa Batlló pays tribute to his outstanding attention to detail and characteristics with hints of a Mediterranean influence. Spectacular stained glass work, as seen below, is no better way to clarify Gaudi’s audacious skill and vision.
One of the unanticipated, yet most charming elements in Casa Batlló are the monochromatic walls of the hallway, stemming across all four floors of the building, leading up to a skylight. This skylight was the clever way Gaudi incorporated natural sunlight into the building.
One of my favourite places in Casa Batlló was the garden, in particular, the college of ceramics on either side as you made your way into the courtyard. I loved the pop of colour and use of various shapes that were arranged in mosaic patterns, worked so well with the blue Barcelona sky.
Just in case you thought the feeling of awe and fascination was over, Casa Batlló’s show stopper, in my opinion, was the roof terrace. But then again, I am obsessed with the quality skyline that Barcelona delivers rain, hail or sunshine.
The arched roof, resembling the spine of a dragon draws inspiration from shapes and colours found in marine life. Gaudi was often quoted saying, “Anything created by human beings is already in the great book of nature,” which is evident throughout his work and creativity. The roof terrace also features several chimneys continuing the stained mosaic feel, each piece, finely balanced and deliberately placed. A cross which has been plunged into the back of the ‘dragon’s spine’ representing Saint George, Patron Saint of Catalonia.
With a legacy as iconic and impressive as Antoni Gaudi’s, it’s no surprise that Casa Batlló is another extension and narrative of a genius nicknamed, The Artist of God.
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Opening Hours: 9 am – 9 pm
Buy Your Tickets Online HERE.
** My visit to Casa Batllo was complimentary on behalf of the PR & Marketing team. This post was first published on my blog in May 2017 and has been updated and revised since.**