on March 19, 2012
My favourite Gaudi site of all remains Park Guell for its sheer impressive space and for the fact it is free, but for a close up view the rooftop of La Pedrera is hard to beat although in my opinion the 15 Euros entrance fee means it has just about priced itself out of the "repeat visit" market. That said, as it had been at least a decade since my last visit, and armed with a new camera I thought it was time to bite the bullet let those fingers slip into the wallet and pay another visit. The best spot of La Pedrera is the roof although if it happens to be raining in Barcelona then it is closed for safety purposes. Rather amusingly you aren't allowed to jump on the roof either, which gives a rather scary thought that you might go though it by stomping around on top. It has long been said that the hats of Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers of Star Wars; I understand one of the set designers used to work at La Pedrera so I can well believe it. I like getting photos of the chimney with nothing but clear sky around; the apparent peace in the photos tells a lie to the tourists tripping over each other on the ground. That said, it doesn't seem too busy - our friend who is terrified of heights was absolutely fascinated by the chimney pots and rounded sculptural edge of the building and was too excited to notice that she was 9 stories above Barcelona. Most people seem to rush through the exhibits in what was originally attic space. At 15 Euros a piece I'm going to examine every ceiling tile, joist and carpet tile. Actually, the attic reminds me of being in the gut of a long fish, with a very bendy and articulated rib cage. I enjoyed sitting a while just looking at the form of the building, and one of the displays shows a model of the attic space to show just how intricately designed it is. Also on this floor are some images of some of the buildings Gaudi designed outside Barcelona. I’ve seen some of his work in Majorca, but have never treated myself to the full Gaudi tour. The other main aspect to the tour of La Pedrera is the floor below, an existing apartment, laid out from the time it was designed by Gaudi. Despite the ornate ceiling roses, and carving around the window, the apartment could almost be any period piece, and as it is near the top of the building, I think is flattered by the light provided by the inner courtyards. It still looks pretty dark at the base of the building. All in all, La Pedrera offers a good display of the attention to detail Gaudi had and gives an insight into his building style, and Gaudi’s observation that nature's shapes and forms were solid and worth copying. Although I am horrified by the admission fee (have I mentioned it yet?), a visit to La Pedrera seems better value than a visit to the other "major" Gaudi house, Casa Batllo with its famous dragon skin roof, where the attractions seem even more "external" (and hence free to view).
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