What is Casa Batllo?
Casa Batllo, a modernist building, is located at Passeig de Gracia43 in Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi, a well-known Spanish architect, designed the six-story structure at the request of the Batllo family who were the property owners at that time. Although the home’s style is difficult to classify, design critics point out that it is closely linked to twentieth-century Catalan modernism and art nouveau.
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Gaudi built the Batllo house in 1906. It has a colorful exterior façade with multicolor ceramic tile, glass and glass. It has stained glass and curved walls. The wooden staircase seems to float in the upper floors. It’s locally called Casa dels Obsos (House of Bones), because its exterior has delicate-looking structures that resemble a skeleton.
Casa Batllo, considered one of Gaudi’s most important works, is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site. The public can visit the home every day as an architectural museum.
Casa Batllo: A Brief History
Casa Batllo is now an architectural icon. It was originally a small home on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona, Spain. These are the most important moments in the story of Casa Batllo, the museum-turned-residential building.
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- 1877: Emilio Sala Cortes (one of Antoni Gaudi’s professors) designs and constructs the Casa Batllo original home at Passeig de Gracia43 in a modern, but not overtly elegant style.
- 1900: Josep Puig i Cadafalch, a Spanish architect, builds Casa Amatller at Passeig de Gracia41. This is one of three houses on the street Mansana de la Discordia, or Block of Discordia. The striking contrast between the three homes was created by Catalan modernist leaders.
- 1903: Josep batllo i casanovas, a prominent industrialist buys the Passeig de Gracia43 home and searches for Gaudi, who is well-known for his distinctive architectural style.
- 1904-1906: Casa Batllo is completely renovated by Gaudi. This transforms the city’s ordinary building into an extraordinary masterpiece. His work at Casa Batllo is credited with setting the course for modernist architecture in the twentieth century by architects historians.
- 1905: Lluis Domenech i Montaner constructs Casa Lleo Morera. This is the third Block of Discord home.
- 1934: Josep Batllo dies. Casa Batllo is sold by the Batllo family in 1950s. A series of owners lived in the home until 1995, when the Bernat family, who owns the candy company Chupa Chups bought it and opened it to the public for private and limited events.
- 2002: Casa Batllo is open to the public.
- 2005: Casa Batllo is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Three Characteristics of Casa Batllo’s Architecture
Antoni Gaudi designed Casa Batllo in modernist style. This transformed architecture and opened the door to the Spanish modernist movement.
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Casa Batllo’s exterior glows at night. The Casa Batllo front windows look like hollow skulls, from a distance. They are covered in coral-colored stucco. The balcony railings that resemble a human skull are called the skulls. These shapes are especially prominent at night, when the interior lighting contrasts with sculpted balconies. Exterior walls are covered with tiles and glass in colors that are found in the Spanish seas.
The interior blends art nouveau and modernist elements. The ground floor serves as an entrance space and evokes an underwater world with skylights that look like turtle shells. The staircase leads to the first story (or the second story in Europe), which is characterized by wooden handrails and windows made of elaborate stained-glass windows. The Noble floor is the first floor. It was the family’s main living space. The Noble floor features vaulted ceilings, large windows that look out onto the Passeig de Gracia and vaulted walls. You will also find nature-inspired designs, such as a fireplace that resembles a mushroom or ceilings that look like swirling cloud. At the top of the house is a Mediterranean-inspired loft painted all white with 60 catenary arches, which evoke the ribcage of an animal.
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The roof arch looks like a dragon’s head. The roof terrace is located at the top and features creative tilework and curved walls. The roof crest, made of orange and green rooftop tiles, resembles a dragon’s body. Roof tiles are scaled with a cross or sword in the back. Some believe that Gaudi built this home to honor Saint George, Catalonia’s patron saint. Legend has it that Saint George defeated the dragon with his sword to save Catalonia and its inhabitants. Others see the roof’s colorful color as an aquatic landscape. This is reminiscent of Water Lilies, Claude Monet’s series oil paintings inspired by French Impressionist painter Water Lilies.