While in Barcelona this summer, I went a little gag for Gaudi. I didn’t research any museums or sites before my departure, but after a humid jaunt around town taking in the exteriors of Gaudi’s modernism/ art nouveau architectural wonders, I knew I needed to splurge and explore the interiors of Casa Batlló. The private residence turned museum has been open to the public for 15 years with 3 floors plus an intricate mosaic spackled rooftop packed with eccentric design details. From oceanic ceramic tiled lightwells to whitewash minimal attic arches—Gaudi morphed a city street mansion into a modern marvel.
The world renowned House of Bones—a local nickname—became Casa Batlló after Josep Batlló, a textile industrialist with several Barcelona factories, bought the undesirable house for it’s centralized locale. The Batlló’s planned to tear it down and hire an audacious creative architect to design a brand new estate from the ground up. But after Josep hired Gaudi to design the home, Gaudi convinced him that renovation was sufficient and faster than a fresh start. The building was completed and refurbished in 1906 after two years of construction. Gaudi completely overhauled the main apartment into an enchanting twisted space that reminded me of the haunted mansion in the original live action Casper film. He also expanded the central well to supply natural light to the whole building with a plethora of innovative functional designs like stream lined wooden air vents resembling fish giles allowing light and air to move seamlessly from floor to floor. With a pitched glass roof, the lightwell felt like a greenhouse—hot and humid— but resembled an underwater exploration with gradient blue tiled walls and a rippled glass paned stairwell.
I feel hardest for the attic aesthetic—a minimal mediterranean inspired white washed womb of walls with sixty catenary arches resembling a ribcage. I couldn’t believe it was originally just laundry and storage rooms. I would do laundry every day if I could live on Casa Batlló’s loft floor. And don’t even get me started on the flower floor tiles! The sporadic pattern of graphic and plain tiles gives the simple space a subtle pop of personality. Next time I visit Barcelona, you can find me here, hiding in an old wash room ‘til after closing to live my best life— even if only for a night, before getting locked up for trespassing in a foreign country.