Commonly known as La Pedrera (The Quarry), the real name for this spectacular work of Antoni Gaudí's is the Casa Milà. The nickname stems from its stony, fortress-like appearance, much ridiculed at the time, but which today stands as the superlative example of modernista architecture. The entire building was restored in 1996, the Espai Gaudí -- a didactic museum -- was installed in the attic, and one of the apartments was refurbished to look as it would have in the early 20th century.
The building was commissioned by Pere Mila i Camps, a rich developer who had just married an even richer widow. He wanted the most extravagant showpiece on the fashionable Passeig de Gràcia, so Gaudí, having just completed the Casa Batlló , was the obvious choice.
La Pedrera occupies a corner block, and its sinuous, rippling facade stands in sharp contrast to its neoclassical neighbors. In fact, it is unlike any piece of architecture anywhere in the world. La Pedrera seems to have been molded rather than built. Its massive, wavelike curtain walls are of Montjuïc limestone and the balconies' iron balustrades look like masses of seaweed. Inside, as outside, there is not one straight wall or right angle, further adding to La Pedrera's cavelike appearance. (In a well-known anecdote, after French President Georges Clemenceau visited the building, he reported that in Barcelona they make caves for dragons.) The apartments (many of them still private homes) are centered on two courtyards whose walls are decorated with subtle, jewel-like murals. The highpoint of the visit (literally!) is the spectacular rooftop. It features clusters of centurion-like chimney stacks, artfully restored and residing on an undulating surface, mirroring the arches of the attic below, with outstanding views of the neighborhood, the Sagrada Família, and the port. In the summer months, jazz and flamenco concerts are held in this unique setting. The entire first floor has been handed over as an exhibition space (past shows have included artists of the caliber of Dalí and Chillida). Admission is included in the La Pedrera entry.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2009
- Very Highly Recommended 2010