Casa Batlló is named after the affluent Batlló family and is one of Antoni Gaudí’s most well-known masterpieces. The Batlló family purchased the home in 1900 and hired Gaudí, the building’s original architect, to refurbish the entire thing in order to make it stand out from all the other houses on the block. Casa Batlló opened to the public in 2002 and is a short walk from the Passeig de Gràcia metro station. Regular adult tickets are €21.50 (~$22.94 USD) and the building is open from 9 AM to 9 PM, 365 days a year.
Admission includes an “augmented reality videoguide” that is given once you walk through the entrance. This audioguide, along with the Nintendo 3DS XL at the Louvre in Paris, is one of the most impressive audioguides I have ever seen and it gives you information about the different rooms while also allowing the user to be immersed in a Gaudí fantasy. It was an interesting sight to see everyone wearing headphones and looking at various objects through a screen.
The house is very fantastical and much of it is reminiscent of different underwater elements. Some of the windows are like tortoise shells and if you point your videoguide at them, digital turtles pop out and fly through the air. Surreal.
One of the rooms features a nook that is shaped to look like a mushroom, with small benches on either side of a fireplace.
As you can see from the photos, curves and irregular shapes are very common and straight lines are used sparingly.
There’s a courtyard area in which you can step outside and see the back of the building. The videoguide notes how odd it is that there are two random columns standing in front of the doorway that leads outside, but I guess that’s just part of Gaudí’s unconventional style. The use of mosaics is common in Gaudí’s work and I love how the colors chosen always tend to brighten up the environment around it.
Because Casa Batlló is a multi-story building, there are a lot of stairs, but there is also an elevator for those who have a harder time climbing. The main stairs are in the central area of the building where a skylight helps to brighten up the room.
The rooms closer to the top appear a little different from the ones on the floors below since there is a lot more white space. I don’t know whether it was just a result of being refurbished after the building’s use as a home or whether that’s just how it originally looked. The curves are still there though.
One of the rooms also features a show projected onto a sculpture of the building. The balconies start to sing and the roof ends up turning into a colorful dragon. The Casa Batlló experience is just so weird in a good way.
The roof is another stellar feature of the home. Facing the building from the street, the top basically takes the shape of a dragon’s spine and a few souvenirs have the same colorful dragon from the projection show perched above Casa Batlló. The chimney stacks are designed to look fantastical as well and are grouped together. The caps on the top of the chimneys help stop wind from preventing the smoke from escaping.
You can see the top of other buildings from up there and get a closer look at the bulbous tower that is another iconic element of the roof. The cross at the top and the initials JHS, M, and JHP (representing Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, respectively) that is emblazoned on the front of the tower harken to Antoni Gaudí’s religious nature (he did create La Sagrada Familia, after all).
As you head back down, there is an opportunity to stand on one of the balconies and have your picture taken. It’s basically the only way that you can get a photo of yourself on the balcony with the colorful mosaic wall and I opted to buy it since I think it is a pretty neat shot and it came with a free digital download. Plus, it was the real deal, unlike other places that just green screen an image behind you (the London Eye comes to mind). The photo costs €12 (~$12.74 USD) and you can see how the photo turned out first before deciding on whether or not to buy.
I loved this house and wouldn’t mind living in something similar since I feel like it has just the right amount of eccentricity, while still being able to pull off a really nice, classic look. Oh, if I had the money…
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