Gaudi’s masterpieces. Casa Mila

Near the Casa Battlo, on crossing of Boulevard Gracie with Provence Street, rises the huge cave rock of the Casa Mila. One more creation of Antoni Gaudi during the construction acquired jokes and jokes and got the derisive nickname La-Pedrera that in translation from the Catalan – “a stone quarry, a pit”. It is easy to guess that the second name received a construction for the impressive sizes and stone waves of a facade allocating it against other buildings of the elite district of Barcelona.

Meanwhile, from the point of view of architectural concepts and esthetic taste, Casa Milà – the most perfect “secular” creation of Gaudi. Therefore from all creations of the master it was entered by the first in the List of the World Heritage of UNESCO in 1984. And now huge turns of the visitors ready infinitely to be surprised to the genius Gaudi gather here.

Construction history

The architect devoted to construction of the house 4 years – with 1906 on 1910. As the customer the influential textile industrialist and the politician of Pere Mila-i-Camps who was also the enthusiastic admirer of talent Gaudi acted. That can’t be told about his spouse who as could, opposed to the husband’s choice. And after his death I tried “to correct” a house interior to the taste.

Under construction the huge land plot – 1835 sq.m was allocated. The big sizes of the house were caused by need to combine a personal mansion of Don of Милá with the profitable house which then in a large number arose in the downtown. Living rooms for the owner’s family, on the project, were placed in the dress circle; the cellar was taken away under stables. Some rooms intended for servants. Other rooms were given for sell or rent out.

House rock design

In architecture of the house of Gaudi he used the favorite methods and entered the innovative principles which much outstripped time. Wavy lines, indispensable for Gaudi’s structures, in Casa Milà become a basis of all design, and not just part of a facade or an interior. Thanks to plasticity, sculpturesqueness and picturesqueness of forms there is a movement illusion caused by a play of light and shadow. The house as though comes to life before our eyes, becomes the rock on the sea coast round which the wind walks and waves lap. In this house the main feature of architecture of Gaudi is most brightly shown: his houses are not constructions, and a sculpture, a sculpture. They repeat natural forms therefore aren’t under construction, and grow up and continue to lead the life.

Together with traditional natural materials of the structures – a stone, iron and a tree – for strengthening of a framework of Casa Milà of Gaudi used reinforced concrete. Sculpturesqueness of a twisting design demanded refusal of the direct bearing and basic walls. As well as at construction of Sagrada Familia, Gaudi transferred building weight to internal support – columns and the arches.

The form of internal walls at first had to repeat wavy structure of a facade. But as a result the master gave them a contour of broken lines and made mobile. So Gaudi, in fact, made one more revolution in architecture, having created the inhabited frame house of flexible planning with walls partitions. Free planning allowed to achieve and the different height of ceilings of rooms.

The project provided the elevators installed much later and system of steam heating. And with the advent of the first cars, the stables located in cellars, were reconstructed in garages. Thus, Casa Milà became the first building with underground garages.

All these design decisions made the house comfortable for accommodation during all its history. It and now is at the same time a house and a monument of architecture, gathering crowds of tourists.

Facade

Some monotony of wavy plasticity of a facade is recovered by graceful pig-iron protections of balconies. Their ornament reminds the seaweed which remained on a rock plumb after a surf. The iron casting of balcony protections, and also gate and a ladder handrail was carried out indoors by the same master that worked together with Gaudi and on creation of Casa Batlló – Josep Maria Jujol.

The huge number of windows became feature of the House Милá, in addition. All facades, actually, consists of windows, and walls serve only as their frame. In the building practically there are no rooms without windows.

Light court yard wells

“The architecture is distribution of light”, – the architect Gaudi liked to say. He tried to fill all the structures with light and air. Internal light court yard wells helped to solve a problem of uniform lighting and natural ventilation of buildings. Casa Milà is whole of three such “wells” with a large number of windows on each floor of an internal facade. Court yard have a roundish or oval twisting form. Uneven edges and a wavy relief of walls do them similar to huge sea shells or stone funnels of the mountain gorge.

A large number of windows on facades and existence of internal court yard allowed creating perfect central air and lighting in this, apparently, abnormal seven-story block.

Garden of sculptures on a roof

The separate masterpiece can be considered a sculptural exposition on the flat rooftop of Mila. On Gaudi’s plan, a roof the Virgin’s statue with the Baby had to crown. But this idea seemed inappropriate to the owner of the house, and it was necessary to refuse it. There were only Latin lines from Ava-Maria on building eaves. Then the architect decided suit the whole garden of abstract sculptures on a roof terrace. If to look at them from different foreshortenings, they change outlines, reminding that soldier, east slaves, and an outline of mountains Montserrat. Their conic turrets are decorated with beaten color glass and a ceramic crumb. Besides esthetic, sculptures carry out also purely practical function, masking flues and exits to a roof.

In “stone quarry”

The interior of the house repeats smooth lines of facades. Walls and ceilings of two lobbies are generously decorated with wall lists with a vegetable ornament and frescos on mythological or religious plots. Gaudi was engaged in registration of rooms. Unfortunately, during repeated alterations of the house by new owners, the most part of an interior created by the master’s hands was lost.

The entrance to the house now has a souvenir shop with a set of variations on La of Pedrera. Among them really unique bagatelles which more you won’t meet anywhere come across.

Now the building is a private property, and the biggest part of its rooms was occupied with the gambling house. The city authorities managed to redeem only the dress circle where there lived spouses Mila earlier, and the showroom is now located.

On the fourth floor one of apartments is turned into the museum of Barcelona of the beginning of the 20th century. Here it is possible to see subjects from life of the bourgeois of that time: clothes, utensils, furniture and to watch the documentary about a development of the city in the 20th century.

Separately it is worth mentioning a surprising garret – a penthouse. It became the next design find of the master and represents roundabout gallery round all perimeter of the house with small window openings. When you get to its wide twisting corridor with a continuous chain of arches, there is a feeling as if you were swallowed by a huge snake.

Initially there was a laundry, and the exhibition devoted to Gaudi’s creativity is now located. Here drawings, sketches, photos which reproduce history of construction of the well-known house are stored. It is possible to see also those natural images that inspired the architect on creation of the masterpieces.

The house Милá in Gaudi’s creativity takes a special place. It became the last “secular” construction of the master, the boundary which divided the founder of scandalous houses for rich men and the creator of Sagrada Familia which customer he considered the Supreme. After completion of work on Casa Milà in 1910 Gaudi completely devoted himself to the Temple Sagrada Familia and didn’t take more any orders.

Invalid Displayed Gallery

Author: Natalia Petrakova
Translation: Albina Akhmedova

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