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The Batlló House is one of the most prominent symbols of the modernism and one of the great works of the architect Antoni Gaudí. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it receives more than 1 million tourists a year who come to discover an impressive architectural work.
¿What is the history of Casa Batlló? What was the process by which it became an emblematic work of Antoni Gaudí? Today we will try to know a little more in depth one of the most spectacular buildings that we can find in Barcelona.
The history of Casa Batlló
For know the history of Casa Batlló we must go back to 1860, moment in which the Cerdà Plan, the most ambitious urban plan in Barcelona that would have Paseo de Gracia as its central axis.
At that time, Paseo de Gracia It was a street that linked the Villa de Gracia with the city, and the most illustrious families of Barcelona began to settle around it.
On this street, at number 43, Emilio Sala Cortés, one of the Gaudí masters and architect author of works such as Tolrá Palace, the Hotel Duques de Bergara or the Pantheon of the Fargas family in La Garriga, built in 1877 the building commissioned by Lluís Sala Sánchez.
In 1903, the Batlló family, formed by Josep Batlló, a businessman who owned several textile factories in Barcelona, and his wife, Amàlia Godó i Belaunzarán, from the family of the Counts of Godó, decided buy the building, choosing Antoni Gaudí to carry out the remodeling works.
The remodeling of Casa Batlló
Batlló granted Gaudí total creative freedom to carry out the work that, initially, consisted of demolishing the building. Gaudí, on the other hand, managed to discard that idea, carrying out a comprehensive reform between 1904 and 1906 which turned it into the building that we can enjoy today in the heart of Barcelona.
Among its renovations we find, in general, the facade in its entirety, redistributed the partitioning inside the building, expanded the garden of Lights, modified the rooftop Y raised a fifth floor that would be used for the services of the house.
To explain some of the changes and ideas captured by Gaudí, the best thing is approach it from the perspective of the names by which Casa Batlló is known, which will give us a global idea of the building while we discover some of its most characteristic renovations.
We must also know in advance that, Gaudí's main inspiration when remodeling Casa Batlló was marine life, both in shapes and colors. An example of the latter are the colors he chose for the facade, which can be found in natural corals.
But in addition, this will be perfectly mixed with legends and, above all, with the impressive imagination of the architect.
Other names of Casa Batlló
Casa dels Ossos (House of Bones)
Casa Batlló is also known as House of Bones due to the similarity of many of its constructions with skulls and bones.
Thus, we find columns shaped like bones, the 60 catenary arches of the loft, which together create a space that represents the rib cage of an animal; or the balconies, which at first glance we detect that they simulate skulls.
House of the dragon - The legend of Sant Jordi
But we not only know it for "House of Bones", But has other names and one of them is"Dragon house”, Due to the crowning of the facade that resembles the back of a dragon, but which, in turn, tries to tell us a story.
Some interpretations, and that we believe, on a very solid basis, explain that Gaudí represented the famous legend of Sant Jordi in the architecture of the house. Here we must remember that Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia, with which the theory gains strength.
If we look at the ceiling, we see that the roof is the dragon killed by Saint George, while the four-armed cross would represent the hilt of the sword of the saint with whom he killed, according to legend.
According to those who make this interpretation, the roof is the dragon killed by the sword of Sant Jordi, at the same time the columns would represent the monster's victims.
In this sense, catenary arches of which we spoke previously would go on to represent the rib cage of the dragon itself, at the same time the staircases of the private vestibule of the family and that simulate vertebrae, would represent the spine of the dragon's tail.
House of Masks
If we talk about balconies, and especially their railings, we can see that in addition to looking like bones, in a way they have form of masks, which earned him another of the nicknames by which Casa Batlló is known.
Unifying the exterior with the interior
Each floor for housing was designed by Gaudí with great care and keeping in harmony with the outside of the building, combining different decorative and industrial arts such as forging, sculpture, glass making, ceramics or cabinetmaking, with the aim of achieving a harmonious aesthetic set.
So we find a great harmony both in the structure of the building and in the interior furniture.
As a curiosity, Batlló was so impressed with Gaudí's work that you recommended it to your friend Pedo Mila, who hired Gaudí and who between 1906 and 1912 built the Milá House, better known to all as the stone.
Casa Batlló today
Casa Batlló ceased to belong to the family in 1954, when Josep's daughters sold the property to Seguros Iberia, and since the 1990s, the house has been owned by the Bernat family, completely restoring it and opening it to the public in 1995.
From that moment to the present, it has become one of the essential visits in Barcelona, symbol of modernism and the work of Antoni Gaudí, which allows us to know much better both the movement and the artist himself.
Every detail of the house, its colors, designs and evocative images, can be found in different objects from your online store, the Casa Batlló Store, as well as a large number of books on the history and design of the house, on modernism in general and on the work of Antoni Gaudí.
Among them we find some "jewel" what has copies of the original sketches of the construction itself, which set us a guideline of what Gaudí's way of thinking was like, and how he captured his ideas on paper to develop them in works such as Casa Batlló.
Images: Batlló House.
After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.