Gaudì in Barcelona
  • Europe /
  • Spain /
  • Barcelona

In any corner of Barcelona, one encounters Gaudí. He is present everywhere with his art that shapes the city's streets.

Casa Mila – La Pedrera
Heritage place of interest.
Heritage place of interest.
Heritage place of interest.
Heritage place of interest.
Heritage place of interest.

We continue our walk to discover Gaudi in Barcelona. About 500 meters from Casa Battlò, continuing on Passeig de Gracias at the intersection with Calle de Provenca, we admire Casa Mila.

This building is a UNESCO heritage site, also called La Pedrera, meaning “The Quarry” in Catalan. A work commissioned to Gaudi by the wealthy industrialist Pere Milà. The work with organic and natural forms did not fit into the accepted architectural canons of the time, so much so that its completion was delayed. In addition, the city administration reported that the building did not comply with the regulations in force, such as the alignment of the facade to the other structures or the attic height exceeding the maximum terms allowed. Between 1906 and 1913, the years of the construction of this building, Gaudi was at the height of his career and forced his voice to have these construction “licenses” accepted.

This palace of peculiar architectural achievement boosts an undulating terrace on the roof to the ventilation towers and chimneys with whimsical and bizarre shapes. Standing on the roof, it is possible to enjoy a splendid view of the city of Barcelona.

The building, settled on a lot of 1620 square meters, has six floors articulated around two inner courtyards (one of which is circular and one oval) plus a basement, a loft, and the roof in complete harmony with Gaudian poetics that possesses an autonomous architectural dignity. The load-bearing structure consists of brick and stone columns: the interior partitions, in fact, have no structural function, and their conformations vary from floor to floor.

The building has three distinct façades, one of which faces Passeig de Gràcia, one Carrer de Provenza, and one connecting the two previous ones that arches following the profile of the two perimeter streets: the three façades, however, present a meaningful formal and stylistic continuity, when they seem to merge dynamically into a single compact and uninterrupted body that immediately strikes the viewer with its plastic and sculptural qualities.

It should be remembered that Casa milà is his last significant civil construction, and here, Gaudí gives free rein to his visionary poetics. He resorts to a rough, beaten, hammered stone and creates a rocky, undulating, rough facade that conveys the idea of a rocky emergence shaped by the sea’s erosive force in the course of arcane geological events and weathering.

This plastic discourse, so free and vital, while not reaching the excited exuberance of the Batlló house, gives rise to a rhythmic and fluctuating succession of undulations, protrusions, and niches, where we witness the most complete and total negation of the straight line, in favour of meandering bodies.

The interior spaces of Casa Milà were designed according to functional criteria capable of ensuring smooth and easy communication between the various parts of the building. Of particular note is the distributional solution adopted by Gaudí, who carved out two internal courtyards within the building (one circular and one oval in shape) that were functional not only for distribution but also for the lighting and ventilation of all five floors of the building complex.

The geometric experimentalism of the facade also extends into the interiors, which, too, are carried out according to curvilinear geometries that completely elude right lines and angles. This extreme freedom in the plan is made possible by the adoption of an irregular grid of metal beams and pillars of varying materials and dimensions, within which are the traditional Catalan brick vaults, which make conventional load-bearing masonry superfluous: in this way, Gaudí was able to construct the interiors in complete freedom, arranging the walls at will, according to a design approach that anticipates the future structural insights of Le Corbusier (explicit references to the plan libre) and Hermann Finsterlin.

A visit to the building is highly recommended, especially considering the similarities and differences with Casa Battlò.


1. Plaça Reial

2. Guell Palace

3. Casa Battlò

4. Casa Mila – La Pedrera

5. Parco Guell

6. The Sagrada Familia