this entry is written by ari, who’s helping me catching up with the Europe Travel entries.
we got up early to see Gaudi architecture today. The first one was the Casa Batlló, which was a couple of blocks away from our hostel. In fact, we passed by it on the way in to our hostel in Barcelona yesterday.
Each of us got a phone-like audio tour device to listen to the narrator talking about the building as we walked around. There were numbers to press, corresponding with the signs on the walls of significant rooms.
But as soon as we walked in to the foyer, we (except Aina) forgot all about the audio tour because the the interior of the building was just absolutely stunning.
The attention to detail and craftmanship almost suggested that the house was built by hand. Every corner and even the fixtures were all well thought out. Things that would normally be left out for the standard architectural application, such as the dead space under a spiral staircase or ventilation holes for example, were actually used to enhance the experience in an elegant manner.
The whole house was incredibly smart, beautiful and way ahead of its time in terms of its ergonomics.
We went to the back of the house and there was an incredible courtyard, decorated with elaborate ironworks and colorful tiles. The wall at the end of the courtyard was a rainbow of small turquoise, orange and green tiles forming an altar-like parabolic shape for planters.
The lightwell of the atrium in the center of the house is especially etheral. The sunlight that came in from the roof bounced across the chequered blue and white tiles of the curved cornered walls. In contrast, dark wrought iron weavings used as the balcony railings frame the organicly shaped wooden windows.
We went up the tiny staircase that wraps around the antique elevator at the atrium, all the way to the rooftop. Up there, there were signature Gaudi collumns with ornately colorful bulbous tops and we got a close-up look at the famous dragon back tileworks of the front facade of the roof. Each scale-shaped tile percisely placed to achieve the perfect glimmering color scheme from across the street.
Underneath the roof, the rooms had rib-like structures on the ceilings for support as well as insinuate the idea of being inside the belly of the dragon. Unlike the bottom part of the house, the attic area was painted all white so the shadow from the ribbing defines the look and feel of the attic.
According to our host Maddie, the block is called the Block of Discord on Passeig de Gràcia.
The reason being that these houses used to belong to wealthy people who would flaunt their riches by building elaborately ornate mansions and compete against their neighbors. There is the Wedding Cake House (Casa Lleó-Morera), the Step Roof House (Casa Amatller), and the Dragon House (Casa Batlló), all fine examples from three reknowned architects of the Modernist movement in Spain’s early 20th century.
Passeig de Gràcia, 43