27 July 2013

Cavorting in Catalonia: Casa Batlló

On the same day that I was strolling along l'Eixample, I somehow stumbled upon the Casa Batlló. I actually didn't realize it was a famous building, until I saw the ticket booths at the front, and the people lining up to get tickets. I then looked up, and went whoa! What was that? It definitely looked like an intriguing building from the outside, and so I figured, why not? I am in Barcelona after all, so let's check this out.

I bought a ticket; it was rather expensive I thought. I think it was around 15 EUR. But hey, I don't go to museums every day. So I bought one, and it comes with an audio tour, which I also used. It was a very good way of learning about the place in your own pace. So I entered, and got my audio tour guide, and started it. The whole house is numbered, so all you need to do is follow the numbers and press the relevant buttons to listen about that particular item.

The six pictures you see above are all taken in the entrance. They say that this entrance foyer area doesn't feature any straight lines whatsoever. And yes, I had a hard time finding a straight line so I gave up. The explanation says that it reminds one of the backbone of a large reptile, and sure enough, it feels like one is stepping along the back of a giant lizard. One of the things that amazed me here is the fact that the handrails really feel like they were made for the hand. It just fits one's hand when one is going up and holding it.

The four pictures above show a fireplace, as well as three different lighting fixtures. The fireplace is known to be a very famous part of the apartment, and it has 3 seats. 2 are next to each other, possibly meant to be the place where a dating couple would be sitting, and the third is across, possibly meant to be for the chaperone, making sure that the dating couple aren't smooching and touching inappropriate places. Oh morality, how much it has changed. For the better, I think. Now, if you look at the lighting fixtures, you can see how unique they are. It emanates these weird and intriguing connotations of whirlpools and other fixtures that are available in nature.

The two shots above are taken in the backyard terrace. There's a terrace that is accessible from the dining room, and here, it gives visitors a nice shot of the skyline of Barcelona. There are several installations where tiles were heavily used, as it was a feature of the architectural style prominent in Barcelona back then. I guess this is a great place to sip afternoon tea.

Now, on to my most favorite part of the house: the staircase. I loved the blue tiles that adorn this light well. There are several apartments in this building, and this is how one can access the apartments above. There is a staircase that goes round this light well, and it is predominantly blue. One can notice that the shade of the blue darkens as one goes higher. I thought that was a neat visual effect. The doorknobs that are used on the doors to the apartments are again molded to fit the hand. I love the fact that Gaudi makes his designs organic, so to speak. Hence, architectural fixtures can easily interface with the human body.

My second most favorite part of the building is the rooftop laundry area. I love the way he used the series of arcs; I don't mind doing laundry, but if this is the place where I need to do laundry, I probably would want to do it every day. This nook of the building is just beautiful and brings architectural aesthetics to a whole new level.

Finally, the roof. Here is where Gaudi's fantasies appear as chimneys bunched together. I liked it, but not enough to love it. I dunno, somehow I found the interior better to look at than these weird chimneys from outer space. That being said, I prefer it to the other chimneys who are just sprouting out of the building's rooftop on wherever convenient place they may sprout.

I spent a total of about 2 hours here. The crowd isn't too heavy, but the house isn't spacious either. The only thing I didn't like is the picture the management takes of you near the fireplace. They say there's no obligation to buy, but seriously, they are very pushy. They display the picture at the end of the tour, and I just ignored it, never even took the time to look for my photo. After all, I hate taking photos of myself.


  1. What a funky place! It looks so... Spanish! I envy your European adventures. So many countries so close!

    1. Zhu,

      Funky is definitely the term I'd use as well! This is such an architectural masterpiece; if you're in Barcelona you should definitely try and visit it!