Barcelona Sights to See - Casa Milą (La Pedrera)
In an certain ultra-fashionable neighborhood of Barcelona, which lies along Passeig de Grącia, stands one of the most
unusual examples of Barcelona architecture - or anywhere else in the world: Casa
Milą, otherwise known as La Pedrera, (The Stone Quarry - actually a building designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudķ).
The first name comes from the patron who commissioned renowned
architect, Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) to build what eventually became an apartment
The work began in 1906, sponsored by one of Barcelona's most wealthy
Milą i Camps. Initially intended to have even
more obvious religious themes, anti-clerical riots experienced the year
before motivated the owner to require that Gaudi take a more subtle
The results are anything but subtle in architectural terms, to say the
least, both outside and in. On its completion in 1910 the local wags
were so stunned, affronted or otherwise surprised by its appearance
they dubbed it 'La Pedrera".
The name is unfair.
Casa Milą is different, to be sure. But it bears no
resemblance to a stone quarry, which is all sharp angles. As you can
see from its picture above, Gaudi's creation, by contrast, is a flowing
series of curves that undulate while wrapping around the corner on
which the building is placed. But the theme of organic shapes doesn't
The balconies that wind around the exterior of the site are full of sea
shapes. They themselves are wavelike, while the structures and objects
they support integrate the same look. Wrought iron railings that
resemble seaweed (the work of sculptor Josep Jujol) surround minaret-like overheads of varying heights.
The top of the building itself houses chimneys that are an outstanding
continuance of the same idea. Twisting like a soft-ice cream cone, the
orange stone is shaped to provide a sense of both motion and aspiration
- a common theme in much of Gaudi's work. They were nicknamed espantabruxes
(witch-scarers) by one of the critics of the day.
The interior elements are well matched to the building's facade and
overall shape. On the ground floor is a courtyard filled with
recognizable Gaudi elements: organic shapes, bright colors and lush
vegetation. Summer concerts and exhibits are often held there.
One of the apartments on the top floor has been furnished in furniture
and objects from the period and provides a look at what the residents
might have owned. The other units, however, are still private
Higher up inside the building in the attic is a small museum/exhibition
space devoted to Gaudi's work called the Espai Gaudi
(Gaudi Space). Here, visitors will find numerous educational displays
There is also an unusual upside-down model of Sagrada
Familia demonstrating some of the architect's structural
ideas. But the space itself is also a work of art. With a glowing
orange atmosphere and a hush provided by the low, curved ceiling, no
visit to Casa Milą would be complete without viewing the
area around it as well as that which comprises it.
Visitors will also want not to miss the excellent rooftop. It's a
delightful series of gardens set among the unusual chimneys and laid
out in what are the only straight lines to be found at the site. It
also provides a spectacular view of sunny Barcelona in the sweeping vista below.
More Sights to See in Barcelona