Casa Batlló, located in the very heart of Passeig de Gràcia.
The building that is now Casa Batlló was built in 1877 by Emilio Sala Cortés, commissioned by Lluís Sala Sánchez.
The house was bought by Josep Batlló in 1900.
In 1904 Josep Batlló Josep Batlló hired Antoni Gaudí to remodel Casa Batlló and to divide it into apartments.Gaudi added a fifth floor, completely revamped the interior, depressed the roof, and added a new facade.
The building was completed and refurbished in 1906.
Like everything Gaudí designed, it is only identifiable as Modernisme or Art Nouveau in the broadest sense.
Casa Batlló is a statement of delight. It is a universe of symbolism, a canvas of marine inspiration, a dream world, which evokes nature with its organic elements and is suggestive of fantasy.
The entire facade is tiled with a mosaic composed of pieces of glass and ceramic discs, giving an undulating surface. The final result is there for all to see: an overwhelming, evocative and suggestive masterpiece which has been known and admired for over a century.
Typical of Gaudí, straight lines are avoided whenever possible. The first floor features irregularly sculpted oval windows. Balconies at the lower floors have bone-like pillars, those on the upper floors look like pieces of skulls. These features gave the house the nickname ‘House of Bones‘. The enlarged windows on the first floor gave it another nickname, ‘House of Yawns‘.
The house’s interior is as fascinating as its exterior. Again, Gaudí avoids straight lines at all cost.
The noble floor is the former residence of the Batlló family. Covering more than 700 square meters ( 7,535 square feet) , it is the main dwelling in the building.
From the entrance hall on the ground floor, a sturdy iron railing separates the private access to the Batlló family residence. A grand wooden staircase leads up from a hall with vaulted ceilings and skylights shaped like tortoises’ shells. The spine of some huge animal carved from fine hardwood rises up as a banister.
On the Noble Floor, there is a spacious landing with direct views to the blue tiling of the building well.
On the Passeig de Gracia side is Mr. Batlló’s study, a festejador and a secluded spot for courting couples, decorated with a mushroom-shaped fireplace.
The main suite have 3 interconnected rooms, is like a shop window display onto Passeig de Gràcia, with huge windows which let the light in.
Gaudí created large oak doors with organic shapes into which are set panes of stained glass.These doors, as well as separating the three rooms, allow a single light-filled space to be created.
The ceiling is wavy, in allusion to the sea. It features an ingenious whirlpool effect which Gaudí achieved using an esparto plaster filling and which evokes the power of the sea.
The building well is an extremely important part of the refurbishment. Gaudí enlarged the light well and covered the walls entirely in relief glazed tiles in varying shades of blue, which are darker in color at the top and lighter towards the bottom, thus achieving an even distribution of the light.
The loft is considered to be one of the most unusual spaces. It was formerly a service area for the tenants of the different apartments in the building which contained laundry rooms and storage areas.
It is characterised by the simplicity of its shapes, its Mediterranean influence through the use of the color white, and its all-pervading light. It features a series of 60 catenary arches, creating a space which evokes the ribcage of an animal – perhaps the dragon which sits above it, on the roof terrace.
The spiral stairs leading to the roof terrace, with their structural minimalism, are also very striking.
The roof terrace is one of the most popular features of the entire house due to its famous dragon back design.
The colorful scaled roof recalls a reptile skin. According to some authorities on Gaudí architecture, the roof represents a dragon; the small turret with a cross would symbolize the sword of St. George stuck into the dragon. The bones and skulls on the facade represent all the dragon’s victims.
In addition, the roof is decorated with four chimney stacks – sinuous, stylised and polychromatic, in an endless flirtation with the heavens – which are cleverly designed to prevent backdraughts (another example of functionality!).
330 ceramic discs, in a myriad of different colours, give the main facade its colour and shine.
600 tiles were used to create the appearance of scales that cover the roof.
There are 5 different tones of blue tiles used in the building well, inspired by the different shades of the sea
The doors of each apartment are labelled in a modernist script specially designed by Gaudí for Casa Batlló.
The shapes of the door handles, banisters, skylights, etc., are all ergonomically designed.
It is the definitive work of art, with the artist encouraging everything to work together: design, space, color, shape and light.
In total, the house has a surface area of more than 5,000 square meters (53,820 square feet).
In 2002, Casa Batlló was opened to the public as a museum and cultural event space.
In 2005 it was recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.