Barcelona has a certain kind of magic to it! Taking a few wrong turns before we found the street where Casa Batlló stood, made it that much more exciting. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. This was technically an apartment building, yet I saw no hard lines, no squares, barely a rectangle. The fluidity of the wood details decorating windows, the undulating walls of mosaic tiles made it look like a living, breathing work of art. Pay admission to this fairytale place, which includes the audio guide, to learn more about Gaudi’s functional yet beautiful designs.
13 Things you didn’t know about Gaudi’s Casa Batlló:
1. The locals call it “Casa dels ossos” which means house of bones after it’s skeletal looking balconies and bone-like columns.
2. The house was originally built in the 1870s by Gaudi’s former professor, Emili Salas Corés.
3. When Josep Batlló bought it in the early 20th century, he intended to tear it down until Gaudi convinced him to keep the old structure and simply remodel it.
4. It is one of three competing modernist buildings on the block, called “Manzana de la Discordia,” meaning block of discord.
5. The roof’s tiles replicate scales, which many agree alludes to the dragon killed by St. George (the patron saint of Catalan).
6. Gaudi’s cross in the roof represents the sword of Saint George slaying the dragon, which has four arms pointing north, south, east and west.
7. The roof’s tower also has the gilded initials JHS (Jesus), JHP (Joseph) and M (Mary).
8. Gaudi used central heating, rare at the time, requiring chimneys and air vents on the roof, which he decorated with colorful tiles inspired by shapes from nature, like mushrooms growing in groups.
9. The attic uses Gaudi’s hyperboloid arches, reminiscent of ribs.
10. The blue tiles in the internal courtyard are darker colored at the top and lighter colored blue at the bottom, and even the windows are smaller higher up to evenly distribute the light throughout the building.
11. The carved hardwood banister represents the spine of an animal, meant to fit ergonomically beneath your hand.
12. The ceiling is not flat, but wavy like the sea, with an ingenious whirlpool effect, achieved using an esparto plaster filling around a sun lighting fixture.
13. The wood-framed windows in the long gallery open and close without jambs or mullions, but instead using counterweights. When the windows are open there’s a continuous panoramic view.