Casa Mila

Antoni Gaudí's Casa Milà

Casa Milà was built by Antoni Gaudí from 1906 to 1910

Barcelona, Spain
Kasper Christiansen
Text & photos: Kasper Christiansen
15. November, 2020 (revised version)

With the construction of the Casa Mila, Gaudí's career reached a new climax. In the building the use of glazed tiles and organic forms appears for the first time in full development in the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. The building was so different from the ordinary architecture of the time, that it shocked both the owners (the Milà family) and the bypassers in Barcelona. This is why it was nicknamed La Pedrera meaning quarry. In other words, the inhabitants of Barcelona though of Casa Milà as a disordered mess of stones.

Staircase in Casa Milà
Staircase in Casa Milà

Casa Milà - the history behind the building

At Passeig de Gracia, a little further up the street than Casa Battló, you find one of the most exciting buildings by Antoni Gaudí: Casa Milà. The building was built for the rich Milà family in the center of Barcelona. Pere Milà was one of Spain's wealthiest people after the turn of the century.

The first impression is that the mere size of the building is extraordinary: Casa Milà takes up the whole corner of Passeig de Gràcia and goes down Provença. The house has no less than eight stories and a total of more than 10.000 m2.

''Casa Milà was a shock for the inhabitants of Barcelona when the building was finished in 1910''

Today, Casa Milà is a UNESCO World Heritage monument, and it is currently a museum. If you pay the entrance, you can visit most of the building: the entrance, an old apartment, the impressive attic and roof top.

The roof top terrace & the sculptures

The building has several features in common with Casa Batlló, one of them an ornamented roof top terrace. The roof top terrace on Casa Milà is an architectural masterpiece, a fascinating sculpture park that at the same time works as chimneys and ventilation shafts for the apartments. Gaudí’s ornamented style manifested itself on the roof of the building.

The chimneys and ventilation shafts look like medieval knights towering the building. They are made to honour the memomy of the Catalan knights that fought in the Mediterranean Sea durng the heyday of Catalonia.

Sculptures on Casa Milà
Sculptures on the rooftop of Casa Milà

The end of Art Nouveau - and a new architecture

After the building was finished, people at Gaudí's time gave Casa Milà several nicknames. One of the, the quarry (La Pedrera) is still used about the building. These nick names reflect the fact that modernism was getting unpopular after the turn of the century. The heavily ornamented style of the local Art Nouveau was not popular among the people of Barcelona anymore and new architectural trends started to arise.

Among these new styles was functionalism. The contrast between functionalism and the architecture of Gaudí is striking: from Gaudí's highly ornamented buildings a new architecture with straight lines and right angles was arising...

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