MILÀ HOUSE, LA PEDRERA (1906-1912)
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CRITICAL COMMENTARY

A monumental building for housing, built on the city’s most prestigious street, it was soon given the name “La Pedrera” by the people of Barcelona, thanks to its rocky outer appearance.

Casa Milà, built with a language that broke molds during its period, was Gaudí’s last civil work; he did not finish the final phase of the project because of the differences that he had with the owners, due to the high cost of the construction. The architect occupied a 1620 m2 lot, of which 1323 m2 were built as an undulating curve, both exterior and the interior, incorporating multiple solutions with quadric geometry, as well as naturalistic elements. The building is, in reality, two estates (with independent entries joined by a single facade), and although each one has a central patio, the residence of the Milà family disposed of the total surface area of both.

The structure of the building is of pillars of stone and brick, freeing the facade from weight-bearing functions, allowing large openings to let air and light in. This original characteristic, new with regard to the traditional main walls, even today allows any partition to be torn down without it affecting the solidity of the construction. The pillar system allowed the nine levels of the house to be designated for different uses: the basement, a garage for automobiles (the first in Barcelona), the ground floor, for commercial establishments, the mezzanine for offices, the first (or main) floor, for the home of the owners, the four upper floors for renting, and the attic for laundry. Above the attic, made up of a group of parabolic arches of brick laid flat, Gaudí built a roof terrace, topped with surprising chimneys, fans, and stairway exits with sculptural volumes.

Of the rest of the house, other features also stand out, such as the curious iron structure that supports the circular patio, the vestibules, the wrought iron of the balconies, the false plaster ceilings with dynamic reliefs, the woodwork of doors, windows, and furniture (today dispersed), the design of doorknobs, handles, pulls, and peepholes, as well as a hexagonally-shaped hydraulic pavement that the Barcelona City Hall has taken as a model for covering the sidewalks of Passeig de Gràcia.

Casa Milà has become, over time, one of the symbols of Barcelona. In 1986, it was acquired by the financial institution Caixa Catalunya, which, after restoring it, installed a temporary exhibit space and a permanent one: Espai Gaudí.

Cultural Item of National Interest since 1969.
Cultural Item of World Heritage for UNESCO since 1984.

     
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