Among the beautiful streets and squares of Barcelona in Spain lies the recently renovated building of Casa Batlló, by far one of the most interesting yet strangest buildings in Western Europe. Many of the gorgeous architectural designs throughout Barcelona can feel stuffy and old compared to the Casa Batlló. Its architectural design is as unique as its original local name, “House of Bones.”
In 1877, the original Casa Batlló was nothing more than a newly constructed residential building with a garden, basement, and four floors; nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn't until the new owner, Josep Batlló, bought the building in 1900 that new plans began to be developed for the redesign of the building. The Batlló family was very rich and well known throughout the community, which made their residence at Passeig de Gràcia street much more prominent. In 1904, Batlló hired Antoni Gaudí to redesign his home and gave him full rein to do as he wished with it. The original plan was to demolish the existing building and work from the ground up, but that idea was scraped and a renovation was undertaken instead. Gaudí had no limitations on his designs and completed the renovation of the building by 1906. Unfortunately, Batlló’s health took a turn for the worse and he died in 1934, leaving the home to his wife and children. Just 6 years later his wife passed away too, and his children became the sole owners and caretakers of Casa Batlló until 1954, when an insurance company took over the building. Since then, the Batlló home has had many different uses, including as office space, for function events, and as rented rooms, a museum, and a tourist attraction. Until 2002, Casa Batlló was closed to the public, but in 2005, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.
Design and Artwork
The designs chosen by Gaudí were eclectic and not subtle for the time. He was a modernist and used stone, metals, ceramic, and lots of color to make Casa Batlló stand out. From the ground floor to the roof, this building was designed with irregularity, passion, and artistry in mind. Mosaics of broken tiles and ceramics cover the outside of the building to give it a more authentic and impressive look. The roof was designed to resemble the skin of a dragon, especially the design of the arch. The “rib cage” design of the loft was intended to complete the “dragon” theme. The blue tiling along the walls of the study, dining room, and fireplace area takes centerstage at Casa Batlló, while the height of the more interesting architecture and designs represent a peak of Gaudí’s artistic life as well as his path into the world of modernism. His design of Casa Batlló quickly became one of the most notable and admired designs of the modernist era.
Gaudí choose to decorate the tower of the building with monograms from the scared family of JHS (Jesus), M (Mary) and JHP (Joseph), due to the Batlló family ties with the Catholicism. The railings of the balcony are made of cast iron. Color and light were the main focus of the design, and Gaudí used colors to his advantage throughout the building. Every inch of the house is decorated with modern art and color, from the door handles to the skyline. The main floor of the façade is made entirely of sandstone, which was not commonly used at the time. The stained-glass windows found throughout the building allow a natural flow of light to enter the home. Each unique design was conceived by Gaudí and attracts many tourists each year.
Casa Batlló is located in a popular part of Barcelona. During the early 1900s, the elite and the fashionable of Barcelona and Europe would walk the streets of Passeig de Gràcia. This prestigious area is often considered the most expensive street in Spain. Many famous architects and designers have made their mark on the world on the buildings along this street. The site is easily accessible through public transportation, and there are three different metro stations that run through the Passeig de Gràcia as well as a bus stop.
43 Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona, 08007, Spain, website, Phone: +3-49-32-16-03-06