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casa batllo
gaudi's genius

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

There was an urban legend in my old law firm about a very senior partner --- who was already a millionaire many times over --- and had bought a lottery ticket at the same gas station every day of his adult life.  At age 60, he won something like $40 million in one fell swoop.  And, then, get this . . . he kept working at the law firm until his scheduled retirement date. 

Casa Batllo Casa Batllo Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo Casa Batllo Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo Lantern Near Casa Batllo

 Exterior of Casa Batllo and the Illa de la Discordia

We sometimes play that game: "If I were a multi-millionaire, I would . . . "  Would we quit our jobs and buy a fantastic house?  Would it be a masterpiece or something simple?  I read a while back that J.K. Rowling spent half a million pounds to buy and tear down her neighboring property and convert it into a greenhouse.  Will anyone except for Rowling and her children ever enjoy that space?  Or, in another hundred years, will it be a museum set aside for future generations of Harry Potter fans to enjoy, as we now visit Shakespeare's birthplace?

Staircase to Casa BatlloCeiling Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo living room

Casa Batllo garden

Walls Casa Batllo Casa Batllo staircase
                                                                                                                                  Living area, backyard, and interior hallway

In the early 20th century, Josef Batllo was a prominent and wealthy textile industrialist in Barcelona who married the daughter of the largest newspaper owner in the city.  Suffice it to say, the couple was rolling in money.  They bought a large traditional home in the Eixample area of Barcelona and hired Antoni Gaudi, then the hottest young architect in Barcelona who had recently completed the innovative Parc Guell, to renovate it. 

Casa Batllo hallwayCasa Batllo

Casa Batllo hallway

Casa Batllo Windows at Casa Batllo Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo hallway

Blue interior hallway

The Batllos did not stifle Gaudi's vision.  What resulted is an amazing building: part Tim-Burtonesque horror, part-Dali drooping and curving lines, and with all of Gaudi's genius.  Intended to evoke the feeling of being underwater, the exterior is a harmonious blend of pinks, greens, blues, and yellows, reminiscent of Monet's Water Lilies.  Inside, wavy glass, a ceiling scalloped like a conch shell, and a blue interior hallway with fisherman's netting balconies made us feel that we had been dropped into a mermaid's palace.

Handles at Casa Batllo Attic at Casa Batllo Window frames at Casa Batllo
Hallway at Casa Batllo Handles at Casa Batllo Attic at Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo Casa Batllo roof

Casa Batllo backyard

Attic, wooden handles, chimneys, and backyard

Even the attic and the washing rooms are stunning, done in all white with white curving lines, and Gaudi individually designed all of the door handles and knobs to be ergonomic, beautiful, and unique. 

It might not be what I'd spend millions on but I am so glad that Batllo did, so that we get to see Gaudi's genius at work in this beautiful house.

02/23/2012 11:37
You're right, it looks like a place right out of a Tim Burton movie! It's so intricate! Seems like an awesome place to visit.
Brock - Backpack with Brock's recent blog post: One Moment In Time A Tribute to Whitney Houston From a Backpacker
03/12/2012 06:16
It was - absolutely a must see if you're in Barcelona!
Akila's recent blog post: spain: the low-down
02/24/2012 08:28
Chetan Sankar
Now you added one more place I will like to visit; underwater in a home; that is unique.
Love,
Dad
03/12/2012 06:11
Dad, We all saw that house and specifically thought of you because you love the water so much! You definitely need to see it.
Akila's recent blog post: spain: the low-down
02/26/2012 11:47
Deborah
Thank you so much! This is the #1 or 2 stop on my trip at the end of March. In addition to the inexplicable architecture seems to be the quality of the woods. Wow...
03/12/2012 06:04
Deborah, You're right - the wood is amazing at Casa Batllo. Gaudi preferred to use only locally sourced materials so all of the wood is from nearby Barcelona, as well.
Akila's recent blog post: spain: the low-down
08/10/2013 00:04
I love Gaudi's architecture. Spain is on my bucket list. It would be so wonderful Your photos are fabulous and the most detailed I have seen of this building. thankyou.
08/12/2013 19:20
Thank you Travelyn! Gaudi's work is incredible.
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