on September 10, 2009
During my recent trip to Barcelona, I was very interested in visiting the various works of Antoni Gaudi.Having visted Parc Guell and The Unfinished Church, we then went to visit La Casa Mila, or 'La Pedrera' as it is more commonly known.Placed in Paseo de Gracia, work on La Pedrera began in 1905 and finished in 1910, it is the last commissioned work that Gaudi undertook, before concentrating his last years on La Sagrada Familia (the Unfinished Church).The owner, Pere Mila Camps had purchased the land, and having seen some of Gaudi's other work, he commissioned him to build a large building of rental flats on his land.A first look at this five floor building is enough in order to understand it's nickname: La Pedrera ( the stone quarry). Standing outside looking up at this building, I really thought it looked fantastic, with its curves and rounded balconies, working on the theme of Gaudi's thoughts : 'In nature, there are no straight lines'.Our guide told us it is described as a stone mountain with caverns which open to the facade. A building of impressive, visual strength. I must agree that is quite an accurate description.The facade of this building is composed of a series of waves that go along with the movement of the whole structure.Gaudi himself declared "...the sun will invade everywhere and it will be like an image of paradise on earth..."There was quite a long queue outside of visitors waiting to gain entry to the building, but fortunately we did not have to wait too long. Inside you can visit an apartment, ( many of the apartments are privately owned ) and I thought these look even more unusual when inside, with rounded, waving walls and curves.There is also an exhibition on the main floor.Deep courtyards, sculptures, gardens which stick out into an empty space, I really have never been in a building anything like this! It really is very clever and beautiful in a strange way.Climbing up to the attic and terrace of this building, you once again appreciate the fantasy of this revolutionary architect. I loved the unusual chimneys and sculptures up on the terrace.We were told that there were various problems with the city chiefs during and after construction, mainly due to size limits being exceeded.The main problem was the height of the building exceeding the limit imposed. This lead to the City Hall ordering the attic to be torn down, or the owner would have to pay a fine of 100,000 pesetas, which was almost one fifth of the cost of construction.Eventually after many arguments, a meeting was held, and it was decided that the building had great artistic value and became exempt from the imposed limits.Gaudi was so happy that he asked for a copy of the official minutes.I am pleased that the issues were resolved without the attic having to be torn down as it was one of my favourite parts of the building.Open daily, entrance to La Pedrera is 9 Euros, however, if spending some time in Barcelona you can purchase a discount card from tourist information centres and online. This gives you free unlimited transport on the Barcelona transport network, and free entry or discount to many attractions.Discounts are also available in restaurants and shops on production of your card. You are also given a map and guide - invaluable when sight-seeing as this city is huge!The Barcelona card is valid from 2-5 days, with the price varying depending on how many days you choose. A two day pass is 26 Euros , rising to 42 Euros for 5 days, so the longer you choose, the more you save. A reduced rate is available for children.Visit Spainbookers.com for more information regarding booking online.If you are a fan of Gaudi's work, as I am, then no trip to Barcelona is complete without a trip to La Pedrera. It was declared a World Heritage site in 1984.
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