Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Casa Batlló, Barcelona

When one thinks of the architecture of Barcelona, one architect always comes to mind, Antoni Gaudí. Much of Gaudí's work was inspired by several of his key interests,  architecture, nature and religion and many of his famous buildings tie these interests together.  Gaudí planned every detail of his designs, integrating into his architecture a series of crafts and techniques in which he was skilled: ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry.  Barcelona is home to several of his famous works and one of these is Casa Batlló, which is situated on Passeig de Gracia, a grand boulevard home to many stunning buildings and designer shops.

Casa Batlló, Barcelona
As you enter the house the staircase has a uniquely organic feel almost like the spine of some ancient dinosaur. 


Looking up and the lobby is illuminated behind leaded glass resembling the eye of a fly. 


The apartment of the Batlló family has an initial entrance lobby on the first floor, and everything is rounded, no straight lines can be found. It is said Gaudi avoided straight lines as they do not appear naturally in nature. This fire place was designed to be used by young lovers and a chaperone. One side has a seat big enough for two, and the other a smaller space for one.


After entering the main room the ornate doors are a stunning sculpture in wood and glass.

Like the rest of the house there are no straight lines here, and the curves on the wall lead up onto the ceiling and the dramatic light.

This room was designed to maximise the views out onto the street below, and also to allow the family to be seen. The organic feel to the wood and glass continues from the internal doors onto the windows.


Gaudi loved the use of natural light, and to try and ensure that the centre of the home was bathed in light there is a lightwell. Where in other buildings lightwells are often bland ugly spaces, but not at Casa Batlló, beautiful ceramics line the walls, and the reflective surfaces help bounce light around. This part of the house was actually my favourite, you expect the formal living spaces to look good but a functional part of the house like this is so often overlooked.

Casa Batlló, BarcelonaCasa Batlló, Barcelona 
Casa Batlló, Barcelona
Josep Batlló i Casanovas was a textile industrialist who owned several factories in the city. Batlló and his wife were open to innovation and unique design and they did not limit Gaudí’s creativity in any way they did not want his house to look anything like the houses of the rest of their family. The family lived in the house until the 1950's.



At the top of the house are a number of rooms and spaces for use of the maids of the house. Here were spaces for washing and drying laundry. The building was designed to be well ventilated and these interesting arches at the top form part of this ventilation system.

Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Once you get up onto the roof itself Gaudi runs riot with the colour. His buildings often feature ornate and tiled chimneys and those on Casa Batlló do not disappoint!


Behind the house is a small courtyard, botanically there was not much to see, however again the colours of the ceramics take centre stage!


Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Casa Batlló, Barcelona

All in all a stunning house, Gaudi at his best. Full of colour, and quirky design touches that are put together by fantastic craftsmen. We will see some more of Gaudi whilst here, as well as some of the fine gardens Barcelona has to offer.

Gaz 

25 comments:

  1. Oh! I´ve been to Barcelona two weeks ago. Gaudi was a genius! very nice pictures!

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    1. Two weeks, not too long ago then Lisa :) yes Gaudi is a genius!

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  2. I am massively jealous! Not only are you escaping these endless storms, but you are in beautiful Barcelona! It is a hugely inspiring place and I love this post with its wonderful photos. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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    1. The news of the storms and flooding there has made its way here. Will enjoy our break away from it all but anticipate we will come back to such conditions too. Hopefully you can visit this fab city sometime very soon :)

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  3. I've never seen such inspiring coverage of Gaudi's unique vision...reason enough for a visit to Barcelona. My favorite was the hallway with the ventilation system arches. He could even make a chain link fence look good.

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    1. The spirit of Gaudi and his work is present all over the city Ricky. His vision and work is simply amazing and very inspiring!

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  4. I love Gaudí. People say he didn't have any self control but who cares? This is unbridled imagination and creativity at its best. I'm forever grateful to Barcelona's wealthy who helped him bring his wild and crazy ideas to life.

    Are you familiar with the architecture of Friedensreich Hundertwasser? He created similar buildings in Austria and elsewhere.

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    1. We were just talking about Hundertwasser earlier Gerhard when we were sorting out the photos of this post as we visited a housing project he did on the outskirts of Vienna a few years ago. Him and Gaudi I believe were contemporaries in the Art Noveau era when so many modern ideas started to flourish in Europe. Their works are similar and yet unique to each own. We also tried to imagine Barcelona without Gaudi which we couldn't as the two are now synonymous :)

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  5. What a fabulous piece of art/architecture!

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    1. One of his many masterpieces that are fortunately well preserved Kris :)

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  6. Anyone who could make a chain link fence and gate look that good is truly an artist! The home, everything about it, is marvelous. Oh to be able to love in such an amazing structure...

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    1. Every aspect of the house seems to have been very well and carefully though about Loree. We can all just imagine the luxury and privilege the Battlo family must have had back then...

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  7. Unbelievable photos. Some incredibly talented people.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  8. Wow! Oh to have such imagination. Hope that you enjoy the remainder of your holiday. Light winter coats and temperatures in the mid - teens sounds a most satisfactory state of affairs :)

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    1. Thanks Anna and will do :) although also reminding ourselves of what the weather is more likely to be like when we get back home...

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  9. Hi Gaz and Mark

    One recommendation for you - the Palau de la musica Catalana, by one of Gaudi's modernista contemporaries Domenech. Utterly breathtaking building if you haven't been best seen in daylight to experience the stained glass at its best.
    Regards
    Tony

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    1. Thanks Tony! Free day tomorrow so will definitely check it out!

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  10. So interesting! Very unique because of his non-use of straight lines. It must have been difficult to put together, but quite stunning!

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    1. Not an easy feat and an excellent result Holley, especially as it's a remodelling of a building that already existed there before :)

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  11. Fabulous facade, I love all the organic curves, the whole place is quirky and yet designed to be liveable too. Couldn't really be more different to the bland McBuilder identikit houses with mean rooms and windows we inflict on our own landscape - and citizens.

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    1. Agree Janet! Gaudi's Modernista style is so refreshing compared to the more minimalistic creations of others belonging in the same movement and era.

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  12. That is really a very artistic house by an unusual creator, amazingly unusual. I can't imagine also the cost of building it. Thanks for sharing your finds with us!

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  13. Thank you for sharing this marvelous place! It is incredibly beautiful!

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