Address: Provença, 261-265 | BARCELONA | Spain | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 41.39530, 2.16202
Casa Milà is a modernist building in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was the last civil work designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, built between the years 1906 and 1910.
It was commissioned in 1906 by businessman Pere Milà i Camps and his wife Roser Segimon i Artells. At the time, it was controversial because of the undulating stone facade and twisting wrought iron balconies and windows designed by Josep Maria Jujol.
Architecturally it is considered structurally innovative, with a self-supporting stone front and columns, and floors free of load-bearing walls. Also innovative is the underground garage.
In 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Currently, it is the headquarters of the Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation, which manages the exhibitions, activities and public visits at Casa Mila.
Casa Milà is the result of two buildings, which are structured around two courtyards that provide light to the nine levels: basement, ground floor, mezzanine, main (or noble) floor, four upper floors, and an attic. The basement was intended to be the garage, the main floor the residence of the Milàs (a flat of all 1,323 m2), and the rest distributed over 20 homes for rent. The resulting layout is shaped like an asymmetrical “8” because of the different shape and size of the courtyards. The attic housed the laundry and drying areas, forming an insulating space for the building and simultaneously determining the levels of the roof.
One of the most significant parts of Casa Milà is the roof, crowned with skylights, staircase exits, fans, and chimneys. All of these elements, constructed with timbrel coated with limestone, broken marble or glass, have a specific architectural function. Nevertheless, they have become real sculptures integrated into the building.
Casa Milà is a unique entity, where the shape of the exterior continues to the interior. The apartments feature ceilings with plaster reliefs of great dynamism, handcrafted wooden doors, windows, and furniture, and the design of the hydraulic pavement and different ornamental elements.
The stairways were intended for services, in that access to housing was by elevator except for the noble floor, where Gaudí added a staircase of a particular configuration.
Gaudí wanted the people who lived in the flats to all to know each other. Therefore, there were only lifts on every second floor so people had to communicate with one another on different floors.
The facade is composed of large blocks of limestone from the Garraf Massif to the first floor of the quarry Villefranche to the higher levels. The blocks were cut to follow the plot of the projection of the model, later raised to its location on just adjusted to align them in a continuous curvilinear texture to the pieces around them.
Regarding the structure, Casa Milà is characterized by its self-supporting stone facade, meaning that it is free of the functions of a load-bearing wall, which connects to the internal structure of each floor by means of curved iron beams surrounding the perimeter of each floor. This construction system allows, on one hand, large openings in the facade which give light to the homes, and on the other, free structuring of the different levels so that all walls can be demolished without affecting the stability of the building. This allows the owners to change their minds at will and to modify, without problems, the interior layout of the homes.
⇒ Architecture Guide to BARCELONA
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