Antoni Gaudi, Casa Milá, Barcelona,
photo-reportage by Wieslaw Sadurski.
Casa Milà is the result of two buildings, structured around two courtyards that provide light to the nine levels. The resulting layout is shaped like an asymmetrical "8" because of the different shape and size of the courtyards.
Gaudí began the first sketches in his workshop in the Sagrada Familia, where he conceived of this house as a constant curve, both outside and inside, incorporating multiple solutions of formal geometry and elements of a naturalistic nature.
One of the most significant parts of the building is the roof, crowned with skylights, staircase exits, fans, and chimneys. All of these elements, constructed with timbrel coated with limestone, broken marble or glass, have a specific architectural function. Nevertheless, they have become real sculptures integrated into the building.
The building is a unique entity, where the shape of the exterior continues to the interior. The apartments feature ceilings with plaster reliefs of great dynamism, handcrafted wooden doors, windows, and furniture, and the design of the hydraulic pavement and different ornamental elements.
The stairways were intended for services, in that access to housing was by elevator except for the noble floor, where Gaudí added a staircase of a particular configuration.
Gaudí wanted the people who lived in the flats to all know each other. Therefore there were only lifts on every second floor so people had to communicate with one another on different floors.
Regarding the structure, Casa Milà is characterized by its self-supporting stone facade, which connects to the internal structure of each floor by means of curved iron beams surrounding the perimeter of each floor.
This construction system allows, on one hand, large openings in the facade which give light to the homes, and on the other, free structuring of the different levels, so that all walls can be demolished without affecting the stability of the building. This allows the owners to change their minds at will and to modify, without problems, the interior layout of the homes.
The building has a completely original solution in solving the lobby to not being a closed and dark, but also for its open and airy courtyards connection with that equally important in gaining a place of transit and directly visible to the user accessing the building.
Gaudí, as he had done in Casa Batlló, designed furniture specifically for the main floor. It was part of the concept artwork in which the architect assumes responsibility for global issues such as the structure and the facade, as every detail of the decor, design furniture and accessories such as lamps, planters, floors or ceilings.
The building's unconventional style made it the subject of much criticism. It was given the nickname "La Pedrera" - "The Quarry". Casa Milà appeared in many satirical magazines. Homeowners in Passeig de Gracia became angry with Milà and ceased to say hello to him, arguing that the weird building by Gaudí would lower the price of land in the area.