Phone: 93 484 59 80
Open: Mon-Fri 10 am – 8 pm, closed Jan 1 and 6, second week in January, Dec 25 and 26
Prices: 7 euros – adult, 3.50 euros – students and senior citizens, or use Articket that allows entrance to 6 art centers of Barcelona for 15 euros.
One of Gaudi’s most amazing and ground-breaking creations, this large building, which occupies a 10,000 square feet piece of land, is usually called by the locals "La Pedrera" (the quarry) since they were astounded by its shape. Antoni Gaudi is considered the most famous Catalonian, and his whole life was devoted to architecture. When he was killed by a tram in 1926, half of Barcelona attended his funeral.
Casa Mila was built in 1906-1910 and it looks like sea waves brought white sand (actually limestone) with it and 8 floors were built. Each balcony is decorated with interesting ironwork, very unusual in shape. This can be called an enormous sculpture so unorthodox it is even by our current standards. Inside the courtyard the outside walls of all the 8 floors are painted with bright green and purple flowers (the colors slightly faded over the years) and look like a fusion of Art Nouveau and Modernism. This was the first building in the world with the underground garage.
You get a tour of the apartment on the top floor, where you can get by one of the two elevators. The apartment takes up a whole floor with living room, dining room, bedroom, nursery, bathroom, kitchen, sewing room, children’s room and maid room. In all the rooms the original furniture in Art Nouveau style (that also has baroque features) was designed by Gaudi. Also very interesting are children’s toys: dolls, wooden horse, moving pictures on the lamp. Then you walk a flight of stairs to the roof, but before you go all the way on the roof, there is a large exhibit that shows different models and stages of construction of Casa Mila as well as a retrospective of buildings designed by Gaudi both in Barcelona and elsewhere. The roof is definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen before or could even imagine. The heater ducts and chimney pipes are enclosed in the large sculptures that look like crosses that Gaudi slightly twisted about their axis. Also from the roof you can see the spears of Sagrada Familia and the amazing silhouette of the Museu Nacional de Catalunya.
An added bonus during my visit to Casa Mila was an exhibit "From Ingres to Bonnard" of 60 paintings and sculptures from the collection of the Petit Palais Museum in Paris (through May 11, 2003) organized by Fundacio Caixa Catalunya.
Continued in Part II