The ”trencadís” (‘broken)It’s a kind of mosaic made with pieces of ceramics joinedwith mortar.The Catalan architects of Modernismo used to work withceramics tiles, but Antoni Gaudí proposed a new system, the“trencadís”. Josep Maria Jujol put it into practice and gave it itscharacteristic personality.He used remaining pieces from the factory Pujol i Bausis,in Esplugas de Llobregat, as well as pieces of white plates andcups from anywhere.In order to get bright colors, he decided to use glazedceramics, taking advantage from the smooth polished surfacetogether with the three-dimensional surface of his architecture.The “trencadís” technique was first used for the entrance of theGüell residence, in Pedralbes avenue in Barcelona. The windingarchitecture of this house made it necessary to break tiles whereit was impossible to use whole ones.
Initially inspired in the baroque, this period was characterized by not only the most lively Modernismo but also the least related to previous architectural styles. This vision can be seen in many of Gaudí’s works since the beginning of the 20thC and it represents an evolution from his earlier learning ofCharacteristics gothic architecture. Period of big expressiveness (like in the Nativity facade of La Sagrada Família. Gaudinian morphology : Abstraction of common shapes of nature.
Casa Calvet 1898-1899 In 1900 this house was awarded by the City Hall of Barcelona. This is Gaudí’s first block of apartments, built for the Calvet family, a family of textile manufacturers.
On each side and on the center, the facade is furnished with the heads of San PedroMártir (in honor of the owner’s father), San Genis notary and San Genis comedian (inhonor of the patrons of Vilassar de Mar, home town of Eduard Calvet).
The big cantilever which holds up thetribune has a letter “C” (for Calvet)engraved in the inferior part, along with theshield of Catalonia and a cypress, symbolof hospitality.The gallery is fully furnished and containsa sculptural set made of two horns ofwealth and different types of mushrooms(Mr. Calvet used to go to the mountains tocollect mushrooms as a hobby).
The main door At the main entrance, there is a big wooden door with a curious handle, which represents a cross hitting a bedbug, symbol of evil.
The elevator is a masterpiece with its decoration made of wood, iron and glass.
The back facade (not visible from the street) is veryinteresting and functional. It has balconies andgalleries with floral motifs. The little terrace on themain floor, decorated with two strange andbaroque plant pots made of artificial stone, standsout in the building too.
This piece of furniture used to be the dominant element in the boardroom of La Casa Calvet, on the ground floor. All the original furniture here was made of oak. One of the chairs of the boardroom in la Casa CalvetThe style of this armchair establishes a transition betweenthe furniture in the boardroom of La Casa Calvet and theone designed for the houses Batlló and Milà.
Furniture in the living room of the apartment of the Calvet family.
La Casa Batlló is the result of the total alteration of an oldconventional house built in 1877. The owner, the textileindustrialist Josep Batlló i Casanovas, entrusted Gaudí with thisalteration. From a simple base, Gaudí made a surprising newhouse. He added the balconies, the attic and two new floors as well as the painted ceramics, designed by his collaborators Josep María Jujol and Joan Ribió Bellver.Gaudí’s 1904 project wasstrongly criticized by the localauthorities of that time becausedebido some elementsexceeded the limits of themunicipal ordinances.The changes in the old buildingwere radical.
Gaudí used elements which were typical of the Modernismo like ceramics, stone or forged iron, with extraordinaryresults.
Facade and roof Gaudinian morphology Harlequin, character of the Commedia dell Arte
Old picture of the living room on the noble floorOn the right, the big doors of the chapel cupboard. Gaudí had first used that in the Palacio Güell. At that time, manybourgeois houses had a prayer room.
View from the staircase leading to the otherapartments of la Casa Batlló.
Inside, the space was completelyreorganized to get more naturalventilation and lightingThe inner yard is covered withceramics increasingly lighter as wedescend from the terrace to theground floor in order to achieve alighting as uniform as possible.
Dining room in the Casa Batlló. Connected to the back yard.
Casa Milà, La Pedrera 1906-1912Built between 1906 and 1910 for the Milà family.It is one of the essential houses of Gaudí, one of the most imaginative in the history of architecture.More than a building, it is a sculpture.
Pere Milà i Camps was a rich businessman: his father, Pere Milà i Pi, had made a lot of money with the textile industry. Milà expanded the family business and tried his luck in other sectors. He went into politics too. Milà was married to Roser Segimon i Artells, widowPere Milà i Camps Roser Segimon i Artells of Josep Guardiola i Grau, who had made a fortune with coffee plantations in América. She inherited that fortune.They bought the site in Paseo de Gracia in 1905, and entrusted Gaudí with the project. Gaudí, whowas a well-known architect already, was working on different projects at the same time: La SagradaFamilia, la Torre Bellesguard , el Parque Güell , la Casa Batlló and the restoration of the Cathedralof Santa María de Palma de Mallorca. Milà wanted a big building so as to live on the main floor and rent the rest, something which was common at that time. The ground floor (the exterior part), was used for shops.
Plan of the basement of la Casa MilàThe structure of floors of la Casa Milà rests upon a basement used as a garage and lumber room.Access from the halls, by some spiral ramps.It has a structure of 90 columns made of stone, iron and brick, which hold up the building.On this floor there was the machine room for the central heating as well as several areas for commonservices.The neighbors gained access through some auxiliary stairs. Each one had a parking space and a lumberroom.
Two big inner courtyards letlight and air in everywhere.
La Casa Milà did not respect any conventional rules, thus it was very criticized. The satirical magazines used to spread these critiques Satirical vision of the future of la Pedrera in the magazine lEsquella de la Torratxa, drawn by Picarol (4th January 1912).Among the people who defended Gaudí’s project was Salvador Dalí, who vindicated it in the magazine Minotaure in1933, in an article called De la beauté terrifiante et comestible de larchitecture.Later, it was praised by figures like Le Corbusier, Nikolaus Pevsner, George Collins, Roberto Pane o Alexandre Cirici iPellicer
LampBehind the main door of la CasaMilà Main door seen from the inside.
The apartments were designed by Gaudí so as they could be adapted to the tenants’ needs. There aren’t any load-bearing walls so we can adapt the space. All the floors and almost all the apartments have different structures, which have evolved until now: for example, the Milàs’ apartment became an office and now is an exhibition hall.Stairs leading to the Milás’ apartment
Detail of the coveredstairs leading to theapartments
Detail of the main column We can read the words “forgive“ and “forget”.Main columnFrom up to down, we can see a rose, a cross, words with mysticmeaning and shells which represent the pilgrimage to Santiago deCompostela.
Detail from one of the Milà apartments around 1930.The stone column is covered with plaster, the inscriptions engraved by Gaudí can be annoying for the tenants, especiallyduring the years of the Civil War (1936-39).
Detail of the original ceilings with the word AVEThe biomorphic holes, like open mouths, are typical of Gaudí’s sculptures: mirrors, clocks, columns, etc.
Detail of the original ceilings with the word MARIA.In la Casa Milà, Gaudí refers to the Virgen del Rosario and we can find tributes to her even on the furniture with the nameof the owner Doña Rosario Segismon.
Attic of the house with bricks structured with catenary arches