Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Casa Batllo

Life at home is starting to overwhelm the memories...oh no, they are fading!!!

But let me take you back to Spain...

On the very first afternoon, walking to our hotel we saw this most unusual house that, of course, caught my eye...

Actually, my kind of house,  kinky and sorta weird.  I do love sleek and modern and very clean lines too but embellishments make me smile.

This is one embellished house.  We found that the architect was Antoni Gaudi (click here) who we discovered, has left a decided mark on Barcelona.  

This house, Casa Batllo and the Sagrada Familia were his two works that we investigated as thoroughly as time permitted.  This photo below gives you a good idea of the texture of the building.  

Once you are indoors you will see that this house is all texture.  The building was originally a home that Gaudi was commissioned to redesign for the Batllo family.  It seems that nothing in the home is what you or I have in our houses...

That is the living room wall of windows looking out onto the street from which I took the exterior shot...

The finishing details are this skylight...

the window frames...

door headers and ceiling details...

this light fixture was in the dining room...

grills for air movement...

carvings in the back of chairs...

hooks all custom tooled...

walls painted with a web of iridescent  paint...

and custom made light fixtures in the bedrooms...nothing was what you would find at Home Depot, that is for sure.

In the very centre of the house there is a courtyard that goes up 6 floors.  Here Sherwin is trying to impress me with the custom worked doors but to your left you see a guardrail looking out onto the tiled courtyard.  You can see all the way up and down. The entire narrow courtyard is tiled with a variety of blue and white tiles. 

The higher you get in the house the darker and more intense is the blue...

This photo would have been near the bottom of the courtyard.

The open space in the centre of the house was built for air movement through the in summer and warm in winter.

These grills are there for air flow; all carefully hand crafted.

I cannot explain the technicalities of the air flow system but we were in there on a warm day with many other tourists and there was beautiful cool air flowing through the place.

This room led to the loggia at the back of the house...rather odd arrangement of a room with a pillar right in front of the door???  Go figure, but then I am not a world-reknowned architect.  

Looking up at the back of the house you can see how many of the rooms have decks and rear views. 

Very unusual railings...

Wonder if this railing would pass the Building Inspection Department around here?

We went back into the house, climbed through very interesting stair wells...

through twisted hallways...

coming out onto the roof top.

where you can see the back side of the facade of the house...lots of embellishments! If you look again at the front of the building as shown at the very beginning of this blog post you will recognize this as the rear version of that.

One would think we were in Disneyland...

We did not see the entire house...many stairways and doors were cordoned off, closed to the public.

But every room we did see oozes creativity...nothing is left to chance to make use of space.  Tile, wrought iron, concrete, glass and the use of colour make you feel like a kid again!

I did not leave Casa Batllo thinking I would replicate many of its features (Sherwin says, Thank God for that), as I often do when I tour a house, but it was a delight and well worth the time.

When in Barcelona, make it a priority on your tour list.

Look for the details all over the house...the above is a header coming down the final staircase before you leave.

And outside take a look at the house to the left of the Gaudi house...very striking too.  We did not inquire about it at all but it sort of looks like, if it wasn't polished by Gaudi, someone had a strong 'keeping-up-with-the-Jones' " mentality.

All the houses do not look like these in Barcelona but you can count on anything done in that town by Antoni Gaudi to give you a lift to your spirits.

This got a little long but it was hard to quit.  (I could have put in a few more photos, you know!)  

Do have a lovely week.  God Bless and Be Well.


  1. Brilliant house.

    Do you have any idea how he "specified" the detail work? Must be volumes and volumes of drawings. It's not like he could just make a couple elevations and had the blueprints off to the subtrades .

  2. Shelby, my guess is that a lot of the work got done with only a quick sketch. This is Spain... and like Mexico today, things get built without building permits or inspections.

    Anything structural would need scale drawings with engineering calculations before one could start construction... but the client here, Batllo, came to Gaudi with a house he already owned and asked him what he could do with it. So this was a reno job.

  3. What an excellent photo story on one of our most interesting tours. You have great pictures! I love the softness and colours in that shot of curved stairway taken from the hallway.

    There is a lot of kinky details in this house... enough to warrant a sequel.

    What a joy to go back to Barcelona with you today... if only for a few minutes in your blog!

    1. Did you notice the moon in the picture of the chimney's? It is a little faint but it is there...double dark on the other side of the world!

    2. Very cool! It is always a hit to have the moon in a picture.

  4. I agree that it seems almost like an amusement park--over the top. Not somewhere I'd like to live, but certainly visiting would be interesting. So detailed!

    1. It is such a joyful cannot help but smile as you go through and it gives a feeling of contentedness that is surprising to me because I usually like less detail but the colours are muted and soft and the roundedness leaves you with a feeling of continuation and expectancy for the next room.