CASA VICENS (1883-1888)


CRITICAL COMMENTARY

This is the detached residencial building commissioned by Manuel Vicens in the city of Gràcia, which became a part of Barcelona in 1897. Built as a summer residence, Casa Vicens has a structure with four levels (basement, ground floor, and two other floors) and has everything necessary for comfort in the summer, such as good interior ventilation and a large garden.

This is Gaudí’s first important work, handled with simplicity of construction, with straight lines predominating over curved ones, and with a marked presence of features with an Arabic inspiration, such as the interior plaster and exterior brick moucharabies.

The architect personally directed all of the decorative work, of which the colorful ceramic covering of the facades and that of the gallery open to the garden, the smoking room, and the dining room, of which he designed part of the furniture, stand out.

Originally, the property was entered from the street through a cast iron door, which is partially conserved today, with a repeated motive of buds among the leaves of a dwarf palm, the only palm tree indigenous to Europe, which grows on the Catalan coast. This design of Gaudí’s was modelled by Llorenç Matamala, a sculptor friend of his who, years later, would direct the sculpture workshop of the Sagrada Família.

In 1925, the house was made larger by Joan Baptista Serra de Martínez, with Gaudí’s approval, doubling the inhabitable surface area, while respecting the volume and the exterior shapes.

Casa Vicens continues to be a private residence, and has been conserved relatively intact, although the garden, which originally included an artificial waterfall and the popular fountain dedicated to Saint Rita, has been partially mutilated to make room for new buildings.

It is registered in the historical-artistic Catalogue of the Architectural Heritage of the City of Barcelona.

Cultural Item of National Interest since 1969.

     
1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896
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