Casa Milà

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Casa Milà (Template:IPA-ca), better known as La Pedrera (Template:IPA-ca, meaning the 'The Quarry'), is a building designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built during the years 1906–1912. It is located at 92, Passeig de Gràcia (passeig is Catalan for promenade) in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

It was a controversial design at the time for the bold forms of the undulating stone facade and wrought iron decoration of the balconies and windows, designed largely by Josep Maria Jujol, who also created some of the plaster ceilings.

Architecturally it is considered an innovative work for its steel structure and curtain walls – the façade is self-supporting. Other innovative elements were the construction of underground car parking and separate lifts and stairs for the owners and their servants.

In 1984, it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The building is made open to the public by Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera, which manages the various exhibitions and activities and visits to the interior and roof.


File:Casa mila atrium.jpg
Casa Milà atrium at dusk

Casa Milà was built for the married couple, Roser Segimon and Pere Milà. Roser Segimon was the wealthy widow of Josep Guardiola, an Indiano, a term applied locally to the Catalans returning from the American colonies with tremendous wealth. Her second husband, Pere Milà, was a developer who was criticized for his flamboyant lifestyle and ridiculed by the contemporary residents of Barcelona, when they joked about his love of money and opulence, wondering if he was not rather more interested in "the widow’s guardiola" (piggy bank), than in "Guardiola’s widow".

Gaudi, a Catholic and a devotee of the Virgin Mary, planned for the Casa Milà to be a spiritual symbol.<ref name = "google224">Template:Cite book</ref> Overt religious elements include an excerpt from the Rosary prayer on the cornice and planned statues of Mary, specifically Our Lady of the Rosary, and two archangels, St. Michael and St. Gabriel.<ref name="google224"/><ref name="gaudiclub1906">La Pedrera (Casa Milà, 1906-1910)</ref> The design by Gaudi was not followed in some aspects. The local government objected to some aspects of the project, fined the owners for many infractions of building codes, ordered the demolition of aspects exceeding the height standard for the city. The Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture states that the statuary was indeed Mary the mother of Jesus, also noting Gaudi's devoutness, and notes that the owner decided not to include it after Semana Trágica, an outbreak of anticlericalism in the city.<ref name="google224"/> After the decision was made to exclude the statuary of Mary and the archangels, Gaudi contemplated abandoning the project but was persuaded not to by a priest.<ref name="gaudiclub1906"/>

Casa Milà was in poor condition in the early 1980s. It had been painted a dreary brown and many of its interior color schemes had been abandoned or allowed to deteriorate, but it has since been restored and many of the original colors revived.

Property changes

In 1940 Pere Milà died, and Roser Segimon sold the property in 1946. Monumental Peter shows the employer and the estate to Joseph Balañá Ballvé Pellisé and in partnership with family Pío Rubert Laporta, known for its department stores in the San Antonio round. The transaction resulted in 18 million pesetas for the building and formed the Compañía Inmobiliaria Provence SA (CIPS) to administer it. <ref Name=huertas/> Roser Segimon continued to live on the floor home until her death in 1964.<ref name=cronologia/> The new property was divided the first floor of Provence in the street five floors instead of the original two. In 1953 they commissioned Juan Francisco Barba Corsini the construction of 13 apartments in the attic, which until then had been the laundry, increasingly used and had become an unsafe place, filled with garbage and rampoines . Barba Corsini respect Gaudí's original volume and structure, the Logis-freedom approach that gave the open space and no right angles. The apartments were located on the outer side of the space, leaving a corridor of the distribution curve of the arches that give central courtyard, leaving the darker area between the two courtyards as dealer floor. Apartments were 2 or 3 pieces, some with a loft living, with a design and furniture typical of the early 1950s, with materials such as brick, ceramic, wood and furniture design similar to that of Eero Saarinen <ref name=corsini/> as Chair Quarry, among others. The works were supposed installing a chimney inadequate next to Gaudí's.

Installations and activities mixed with the neighboring houses in the early 1960s led to considerable losses in Gaudí's work, especially the decorative elements. In 1966 the home was installed Northern Insurance Company, after which he settled a controversial bingoTemplate:Disambiguation needed that would remain until 1985. He also installed an academy, offices or Inoxcrom cement mills, among others. <ref Name=huertas/> maintenance costs were very high and their owners, as well as to give shape to more homes, left the building causing age some loosening of stones in 1971. Emergency repairs were made by Joseph Anton Comas respectful to the original, especially the painting of tweaking yards.<ref name="patrimoni"> Hernàndez-Cros, Josep Emili (ed.). Catàleg del Patrimoni Arquitectònic Històrico-Artístic de la Ciutat de Barcelòna, Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona, 1987</ref>


The July 24 of 1969 Gaudí's work had received official recognition Monument. It was a first step to prevent further destruction. But it was not until 1984, with the appointment of World Heritage, begin when a change in its protection. First the City Council tried to rent the main floor to install office for the 1992 Olympic bid. Finally, the day before Christmas 1986, Safety of Catalonia La Pedrera bought it for 900 million pesetas.

The February 19 of 1987 started the most urgent, the restoration and cleaning of the facade. The task was performed by architects Joseph Emilio Hernandez-Cross and Rafael Vila.

In 1990, as part of the Cultural Olympiad, opened the renovated main floor of the Milan exhibition Golden Square dedicated to modern architecture in the center of the Eixample.<ref name=huertas/>


The building is 1,323 m2 per floor on a plot of 1,620 m2. Gaudí began the first sketches in his workshop in the Sagrada Familia, where he conceived of this house as a constant curve, both outside and inside, incorporating multiple solutions of formal geometry and elements of a naturalistic nature.

Casa Milà is the result of two buildings, which are structured around two courtyards that provide light to the nine levels: basement, ground floor, mezzanine, main (or noble) floor, four upper floors, and an attic. The basement was intended to be the garage, the main floor the residence of the Milàs (a flat of all 1,323 m2), and the rest distributed over 20 homes for rent. The resulting layout is shaped like an asymmetrical "8" because of the different shape and size of the courtyards. The attic housed the laundry and drying areas, forming an insulating space for the building and simultaneously determining the levels of the roof.

One of the most significant parts of the building is the roof, crowned with skylights or staircase exits, fans, and chimneys. All of these elements, constructed with timbrel coated with limestone, broken marble or glass, have a specific architectural function, nevertheless, they have become real sculptures integrated into the building.

The building is a unique entity, where the shape of the exterior continues to the interior. The apartments feature ceilings with plaster reliefs of great dynamism, handcrafted wooden doors, windows, and furniture (sadly, now gone), and the design of the hydraulic pavement and different ornamental elements.

The stairways were intended for services, in that access to housing was by elevator except for the noble floor, where Gaudí added a staircase of a particular configuration.

Gaudi wanted the people who lived in the flats to all know each other. Therefore there were only lifts on every second floor so people had to communicate with one another on different floors.


Regarding the structure, Casa Milà is characterized by its self-supporting stone facade, meaning that it is free of the functions of a load-bearing wall, which connects to the internal structure of each floor by means of curved iron beams surrounding the perimeter of each floor. This construction system allows, on one hand, large openings in the facade which give light to the homes, and on the other, free structuring of the different levels, so that all walls can be demolished without affecting the stability of the building. This allows the owners to change their minds at will and to modify, without problems, the interior layout of the homes. <ref Name=any2002a/>

Constructive and decorative items


The facade is composed of large blocks of limestone from the Garraf Massif to the first floor of the quarry Villefranche to the higher levels. The blocks were cut to follow the plot of the projection of the model, later raised to its location on just adjusted to align them in a continuous curvilinear texture to the pieces around them.


Viewed from the outside are three parts: the main body of the six-story blocks with winding stone floors both floors of a block back with a change of pace in waves similar to waves, with a texture more smooth and white, with small holes that seem gunboats, and finally the body of the roof.<ref name=permanyer/>

The original facade of Gaudi gone some of the local bars downstairs. In 1928, the tailor Mosella opened the first store in La Pedrera, he works and eliminate the bars. This did not concern anyone, because in the middle of twentieth century, twisted ironwork had little importance. The ironwork was lost until a few years later, when Americans donated one of them to the MoMa, where it is on display.

Within restoration initiatives launched in 1987, the facade they rejoined him some pieces of stone that had fallen. In order to respect the fidelity of the original, material was obtained from the Quarry Villefranche, even though it was no longer operable. <ref Name=huertas/>

Hall and courtyards

The building has a completely original solution in solving the lobby to not being a closed and dark, but also for its open and airy courtyards connection with that equally important in gaining a place of transit and directly visible to the user accessing the building. There are two patios in the round side of the Paseo de Gracia and the elliptical street Provence.

The two halls are fully polychrome with paintings oil on plaster surface, showing a repertoire eclectic references mythology and flowers.

Patios, structurally, are key as supporting loads of interior facades. The floor of the courtyard is supported by pillars of cast iron. In the courtyard elliptical beams and girders adopt a constructive solution traditional, but cylindrical, Gaudí applied an ingenious solution of using two concentric cylindrical beams stretched radial beams, like the spokes of a bicycle, they from a point outside of the beam to two points above and below-the-making functions of the central girder keystone and works in tension and compression simultaneously. Thus supported structure twelve feet in diameter with a piece of maximum beauty and considered "the soul of the building" with a clear resemblance to the Gothic crypts.The centerpiece was built in a shipyard and Josep Maria Carandell assimilates to the wheel of steering, interpreting the intent of Gaudi represent the helm of the ship of life.

Access is protected by a massive gate iron with a design attributed to Jujol, it was common for people and cars, where access to the garage in the basement, now a in auditorium.

During construction there appeared a problem adapting to the basement garage of cars, the new invention that thrilled the bourgeoisie. The future neighbor Felix Anthony Meadows, owner of Industrial Linera, requested a correction in access because its Rolls Royce could not access it. Gaudí agreed to remove a pillar on the ramp that led into the garage. So, Felix, who was establishing sales and factory Fontanella street in Walls of Valles could go to both places with your car from La Pedrera. <ref Name=huertas/>

For the floors of Casa Milà, Gaudí used a model of floor forms of square timbers with two colors, and the hydraulic pavement hexagonal pieces of blue and sea motifs that had originally been designed for the Batllo house but which had not been used and recovered Gaudi the quarry. The wax was designed in gray John Bertrand under the supervision of Gaudí "touched up with their own fingers," in the words of the manufacturer Josep Bay. <ref Name=bayo20/>


Like the Casa Batlló, Gaudí shows the application of the catenary arch as a support structure for the roof, a form which had also been used shortly after the owner itself, reinforcement of cooperative wood Mataró known as "The Working Mataronense." In this case, Gaudí used the Catalan technique of timbrel, imported from Italy in the fourteenth century.

In the attic were located in the laundry room under a translucent roof Catalan vault subject to 270 parabolic of varying height and about 80 cm apart. including the ribs seem that once an animal as large as a palm roof and an unconventional shape, similar to a landscape of hills and valleys. The shape and location of courtyards makes bows rises higher and lower when space is narrowed when the space expands.

The builder Bayó explained its construction: "First batter and slid wide household. After Canaleta gave the opening of each arc and nailed a nail Bayó each starting point of the arc at the top of the wall. Of these keys dangled a chain so that the lowest point coincided with the arrow to the bow. Then the profile drawn on the wall, for he alone drew the string and this profile did formwork carpenter for the placed and did three rows of tiles placed plan. Gaudí wanted to add a longitudinal axis tile arches linking all the key ".

Roof and chimneys

The work of Gaudí on the rooftop of La Pedrera was a collective of his experience at Palau Güell, but with solutions that were clearly more innovative - this time creating shapes and volumes with more body, more prominence, and less polychromasia. <Permanyer, either 1996 or 2008>

On the rooftop there are six skylights/staircase exits (four of which were covered with broken pottery and some that ended in a double cross typical of Gaudí), twenty-eight chimneys in several groupings (like were designed for Casa Batlló), twisted so that the smoke came out better, two half-hidden vents whose function is to renew the air in the building, crowning the walkway that goes around this dream castle, four cupulins (domes?) that discharged to the facade. The staircases also house the water tanks; some of these are snail-shaped.

The stepped roof of La Pedrera, called "the garden of warriors" by the poet Pere Gimferrer because the chimneys appear to be protecting the skylights, has undergone a radical restoration, removing chimneys added in interventions after Gaudí, television antennas, and other elements that degraded the space. The restoration brought back the splendor to the chimneys and the skylights that were covered with fragments of marble and broken Valencia tiles. One of the chimneys was topped with glass pieces - it was said that Gaudí did that the day after the inauguration of the building, taking advantage of the empty bottles from the party. It was restored with the bases of champagne bottles from the early twentieth century. The repair work has enabled the restoration of the original impact of the overhangs made of stone from Ulldecona with fragments of tiles. This whole set is more colorful than the facade, although here the creamy tones are dominant. <ref Name=ruta/>


Gaudí, as he had done in Casa Batlló, designed furniture specifically for the main floor. It was part of the concept artwork itself integral of modernism in which the architect assumes responsibility for global issues such as the structure and the facade, as every detail of the decor, design furniture and accessories such as lamps, planters, floors or ceilings.

This was another point of friction with Mrs. Milà, she complained that there was no straight wall to place your Steinway piano, which Roser Segimon played often and quite well.<ref name = orchards>Template:Cite book</ref> Gaudi's response was blunt: "So play the violin." <ref name=patrimoni/>

The result of these disagreements has been the loss of the decorative legacy of Gaudi, as furniture due to climate change and the distribution of the main floor which made the owner when Gaudí died. Some remain in private collections some spare parts like a curtain made of oak 4 m. long by 1.96 m. high you can see in the Museum of Catalan Modernism; a chair and desktop of Pere Milà and some other complementary element.

Regarding oak doors carved by dint of gouge bachelors Casas and Bard, only became the floor of Milà and the floor show, because when the lady met Milà in the price, was decided that they would do more of this quality.<ref name=bayo20/>


Casa Milà is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí". It was a predecessor of some buildings with a similar biomorphic appearance:

  • the 1921 Einstein Tower in Potsdam, designed by Erich Mendelsohn
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France, designed by Le Corbusier
  • the Hundertwasserhaus and other works by Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser
  • Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, by Frank Gehry

Free exhibitions often are held on the first floor, which also provides some opportunity to see the interior design. There is a charge for entrance to the apartment on the fourth floor and the roof. The other floors are not open to visitors.

Constructive similarities

Inspired Gaudí's La Pedrera on a mountain, but there is no agreement on which was the reference model. Joan Bergós thought it was the rocks of Fray Guerau to Prades mountains. Joan Matamala thought that the model could have been St. Miquel del Fai, while the sculptor Vicente Vilarubias believe was inspired by the cliffs Torrent Pareis to Menorca. Other options include the mountains of Uçhisar to Cappadocia believes that Juan Goytisolo or Mola to villages by Louis Permanyer, based on which Gaudi visited the area in 1885, fleeing an outbreak of cholera in Barcelona.<ref name=permanyer/>

Some people say that the interior layout of the quarry comes from studies that Gaudí made of medieval fortresses. An image that is reinforced by the similarity of rooftop chimneys and "sentinel" with great helmet coming out of the scales. <ref Name=ruta/> structure of the iron door in the lobby flees follow any symmetry, straight or repetitive pattern. Rather, his vision evokes bubbles soap that are formed between the hands or structures plant cell.<ref name=cirici>CIRICI A. Barcelona pam a pam. Barcelona 1971 (7th ed. 1985) Ed. Teide ISBN 84-307-8187-0</ref>

Criticism and controversy

The building did not respect the rules of conventional style, which made it the subject of criticism. The nickname "La Pedrera" was assigned by citizens who disapproved of its heterodoxy.<ref Name=huertas/> Satirical magazines were the main arena where criticism was spread. Joan Junceda presented it as a joke traditional "Easter cake" by means of cartoons in Patufet. Joaquim Garcia made a joke about the difficulty of setting the damask wrought iron balconies in his magazine. <ref Name=huertas/> Homeowners in Passeig de Gracia became angry with Milà and ceased to say hello to him, arguing that the weird building by Gaudi would lower the price of land in the area.

From the administrative point of view it also caused some controversy in December 1907 when the City Hall stopped work for a pillar occupied part of the sidewalk is not respecting the alignment of facades. The August 17 of 1908 he opened a new file because it surpassed the height predicted and exceeded the volume built on Template:Convert. The Council called for a fine of 100,000 pesetas (approximately 25% of the cost of work) or demolish the attic and roof. The dispute was resolved a year and a half later, December 28 of 1909, when the Commission certified that the Eixample was a monumental building and is not required that s 'strict compliance with the bylaws.<ref name=cronologia/>

The owner introduced him to artistic buildings annual contest of City Council where this year chose two works Sagnier (Calle Mallorca, 264 and Corsica with Diagonal), the House Guster, who was a particular house of the architect James Gustin and Perez Samanillo house, designed by Hervás and Arizmendi. Although the most dramatic and clear favorite was the house Milan, the jury ruled stating that "even be finished facades take much to make you fully completed, finalized and perfect state of appreciation." The winner in 1910 was Samanillo Perez, now the Equestrian Circle.

Gaudi's relations with Roser Segimon were not very good for different criteria on the construction and the decoration and the finishing of the house. One example was the image monumental bronze a virgin del Rosario, which Gaudí wanted the front head in homage to the name of the owner (who had to carve the artist Charles Peanut and Red). The picture did not get to do or place, although registration remains Marian Ave gratia M full Dominus tecum at the top of the facade.The continuing disagreement meant that Gaudí took Mila to court for a discussion of fees. The lawsuit was won by Gaudí in 1916, giving the 105,000 pesetas to charity that won them that "the principles mattered more than money." Milà was having to pay mortgage quarry. <ref Name=huertas/>

After the death of the architect in 1926, Roser Segimon got rid of most of the furniture that Gaudí had designed and made decorative cover several original redecorate your house to the Louis XVI. When la Pedrera was acquired by Safety of Catalonia, the hidden elements once again see the light after the restoration done in 1990. <ref Name=permanyer/>

When he started the Civil War in July 1936, they were on vacation in Milan Blanes. Some local ground floor of the quarry were collectivized by the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia and Milàs were forced to flee the area Franco leaving home after saving some artwork.<ref Name=huertas/>

In media and literature

  • A scene in The Passenger (Italian:Professione: reporter), a film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider, was filmed on the roof of the building.
  • Mentioned in the book by Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony
  • Mentioned in the book by Trudi Alexy 'The Mezuzah in the Madonna's Foot'
  • Several scenes in the movie, Gaudi Afternoon, were filmed at Casa Milà.
  • A scale model of Casa Milà (La Pedrera) is exhibited at the Catalunya en Miniatura park.
  • Featured in the music video for Deep Forest's 'Sweet Lullaby'


See also

  • Casa Batlló
  • List of buildings
  • List of Modernisme buildings in Barcelona
  • List of museums



  • Rainer Zervst. Gaudi, 1852–1926, Antoni Gaudi i Cornet - A Life Devoted to Architecture. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH & Co. KG., 1988. p176.

External links


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