Saturday, November 05, 2011

Viva La Espana ~ Barcelona ~ Casa Batlló & Casa Milà

Viva La Espana ~ Barcelona
~ Casa Batlló & Casa Mila

Barcelona, is the capital of Catalonia and second largest city of Spain. Barcelona is not only about bullfights (banned a few weeks back) and Barcelona FC. Barcelona, today is one of the world's leading tourist, economic, trade fair/exhibitions and cultural-sports centres. Barcelona also plays an influential role in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts in Europe.

Getting to Barcelona is easy on the Renfe high speed train. However, we decided to fly in to Barcelona from Seville via Spanish budget airline, Vueling Air. From the airport, we would recommend the airport shuttle Aerobus and drop off at Plaça Espanya and hop on the Metro at Espanya Estacio Station which has a few lines to bring you to your hotel. Note that there are no elevators and little escalators in Barcelona Metro stations, so be prepared to haul your luggage up steps.
Getting around Barcelona is best on the well connected Metro. Get yourself a T10 ticket instead of a single. The T10 ticket averages out to be less than 9 Euros and is transferable.
A general word of caution: Exercise due caution and vigilance whenever at Metro stations and on Metro to avoid professional pickpockets!

There are so many things to do and see in Barcelona. With only a couple of days, you will definitely have to pick the best of Barcelona attractions, the Gaudi attractions.
Antoni Gaudi is a Spanish Catalan architect famous for his unique and genius, occasionally insane, designs which transcends Art Nouveau & Modernisme style. Gaudi's inspiration comes largely from the organic form of nature. Gaudi rarely documents drawings and usually creates draft 3D models and conjures details only along the way.

The first two Gaudi-designed houses are Casa Batllo and Casa Mila.
Casa Batllo is one of Gaudí’s largest and most striking works in 1904–1906. The Casa Batllo was commissioned by Josep Batlló i Casanovas to renovate an existing building along Passeig de Gracia in Eixample district. The local name for the building is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), as it has a visceral, skeletal organic form. It was originally designed for a middle-class family and situated in this prosperous district of Barcelona.

The objective of Gaudi is to avoid straight lines.
 Notice the 'spine' that runs along the railing.

 The backyard of the Batllo.

 Looking through and up the patio. Gaudi designed the windows such that sizes become smaller with the ascending levels. This is so that the lower levels get more light into the room with bigger windows.

 What are these?

These are chimneys!
Gaudi avoided plain looking chimneys are added his magical touch to them by crowning them and decorating them with a mosaic of broken ceramic tiles (trencadis).

 The arch is symbolic of the spine of a dragon with scale plates on one side and a reptile-like skin on the other. The 'spine' terminates with a turret and cross representing the lance of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia).

 Gaudi is definitely the father of all ergonomic furniture. These odd-looking chairs are all designed by Gaudi.
They are made to match the organic form of the human seating postures.
There is one word to describe these designs, Genius!

 Gaudi applied ergonomic form of handles and levers designed to fit the index and thumb.

The external facade of the Batllo gives the building its reputation of the 'House of Bones'.
Can you tell why?

To view all the pictures of Casa Batllo, visit Complete Casa Batllo Album here:

Casa Milà or La Pedrera, another remarkable building designed by Antoni Gaudi. Casa Mila is the last civil work by Gaudi before he devoted his life to the Sagrada Familia. Casa Mila was built for the wealthy Milà family along Passeig de Gracia, not far away from Casa Batllo.

 The roof of Casa Milà designed in Gaudi's unique style.

 Stairwells which looks like gigantic meringues.

Chimneys here are decorated with 'soldier helmets'.

 This set of chimneys are decorated with green glass shards from the bottles consumed by the Milà family.

 Gaudi designed the roof such there there is not flat ground. The roof is undulating like waves of the sea.

Each different symbols on the 'helmets' has a meaning to it.

Air vents that provide ventilation to the whole building.

 The structures that gave the roof its undulating floor.

 One of the inspiration for Gaudi. Keep a lookout in subsequent as the design of the seashell is reproduced in Gaudi's work.

 See how a door knob is ergonomically designed to match the human hands.

 Reproduction of the living space of the Milà family.

The external facade of the Casa Milà is decorated with recycled iron in different organic shapes and forms.

It is not hard to walk along Passeig de Gracia and spot a Gaudi designed building as it stands out from the rest of the buildings.
If you look onto the map of the Eixample district of Barcelona, you can see that the streets are laid it a systematic grid except of the Diagonal. Every building at the corner of a junction will have a side facing diagonally across the junction.

To view all the pictures of Casa Milà, visit Complete Casa Milà Album here:

Photography by WiFi
©2011 a day in the life of a bearbrick

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