Visitors can tour the building and climb the roof with giant multicolored chimneys. On summer weekends, the roof is illuminated and open to enjoy spectacular views of Barcelona. One floor below the roof is the modest museum dedicated to Gaudí’s work.
Built between 1905 and 1910, is another masterpiece of Gaudí and combines an apartment with a set of offices. Originally called Casa Milà, it is better known as La Pedrera (Quarry) because of its irregular gray stone facade that “waves” – this creates a wave effect accentuated by the wrought iron balconies.
The Casa Milà was an emblematic building. It had one of the first underground car parks in Barcelona. It had a central heating system, which is still not a norm in all of Barcelona. However, what sets it apart from all the other buildings in the world is its unique shape. The interior of the ground floor resembles an underwater cave, while the greenish colour of the first hall and the rich vegetation are reminiscent of the Amazon jungle.
It was originally called Casa Milà, after its first owner and founder, Pere Milà. This famous bon vivant, politician and entrepreneur from Barcelona conceived the idea of building a townhouse on a plot of land at the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and Provença avenues. He came into possession of the property through his wife Roser Segimon, who had inherited it from her wealthy husband who had died earlier.
Casa Milà was to be a bold but elegant townhouse on one of Barcelona’s most expensive streets, Passeig de Gràcia. Milà wanted to attract those who wanted to live on this avenue but did not necessarily have the means to build a whole house. It was already at that time, and we are talking about the beginning of the 20th century, that the avenue was a sandbox where the rich of Barcelona played. There was a lot of construction and daring, in fact the whole street is a great pearl of modernism.
The architect Gaudi
The choice of architect was not accidental, he came across an engineer from Reus in Catalonia, but living permanently in Barcelona. Antoni Gaudí, for he was the one in question, had just finished rebuilding the Casa Batllò dragon house, his work included the Casa Vicens, and at the same time he was working on the Park Güell housing estate, the Bellesguard tower, the reconstruction of Palma de Mallorca cathedral and, above all, the Sagrada Familia basilica, which had been under construction for more than 20 years. It cannot be said that Pere Milà did not know what he was deciding when he chose Gaudi as the director of his vision. And yet, working with the master surpassed him.
Gaudí was not an easy man. Convinced of his greatness, he did not care about Milà’s directives or those of the town hall, which imposed successive fines on the building’s owner for lack of permits. As the building overhung the pavement, the authorities demanded that one of the pillars of the façade be sawn off. Gaudí, however, did not submit to this verdict and so the famous “elephant’s foot” can be admired to this day.
He also argued with Mila about the interior design. However, the blackness of bitterness was poured out by their dispute about the roof, as Pedrera was too high according to the city and they wanted to punish Mila with a huge fine for not following the guidelines. Gaudi’s plan, on the other hand, went in a completely different direction: instead of lowering the building, he proposed to place on the roof a huge statue of Our Lady of the Rosario made by his eccentric friend Carles Mani. This was too much for Mila, who feared the reaction of the city authorities and the population – in Barcelona at that time there were strong anti-church feelings. Arguing with Mila, Gaudí abandoned the construction, and the case ended up in court, where he was awarded fees and compensation. This fact ruined Milla, who had difficulty in maintaining the house. Construction began in 1906. He waited almost two years for permission to rent flats, and when he finally got it in 1912, it turned out that the Barcelonans did not want to live there at all.
When the scaffolding around the building was finally taken down, the people of Barcelona saw a strange creation, with a floating facade, no right angles inside and a stone-like structure. It is because of this fact that the house received its nickname
La Pedrera, which means “the quarry” in Spanish. This unflattering term has survived to this day and is the official name of the building. Gaudí himself soon became an object of derision in Catalan newspapers, and his eccentricity did not help his popularity. La Pedrera turned out to be the architect’s last secular work, and from then on he devoted himself solely to the construction of the Sagrada Familia, which he attended to until his death in 1926.
The house has no less than 8 floors, so naturally you won’t be able to visit everything. You will first go through the lower floors – the first floor, called planta noble, was occupied by the Milà family. Roger Segimon himself lived there until his death in 1964. The upper floors are now rented out for corporate events, so you will take the lift to reach the most interesting part of the house, which is undoubtedly the roof.
Here you will find a number of strange statues known as ‘guardians of the building’, although they essentially serve as chimneys. Note that strange looking chimneys are characteristic of many of Gaudi’s houses, you will find them in the Palau Güell or the Casa Vicens, for example.
One of the arches in the roof of the Casa Milà will point you exactly to the Sagrada Familia, for which Gaudí abandoned the Pedrera. On the other hand, if you look down, you will see two craters that form a gap in the roof down to the ground floor – this is how the sunlight reached the flats. From the roof you can also see the Passeig de Gràcia itself or the Tibidabo hill.
From the roof you can go down to visit the attic and the faithfully reconstructed flats, which are furnished in the style of the time.
How to get to Casa Milà
Entrance fee: 24 to 41 euros ($28.8 to $49) for adults
children aged 7 to 12 (half price), children under 6 (free)
Times: Daytime: 9:00 am – 6:30 pm
Last entry: 6pm
Night: 20:40 – 22:00
Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona
Bus: V15, V17, H10, H8, 7, 22, 24, 6, 33, 34.
Metro: lines 3 and 5 Diagonal station
Tram: Passeig de Gràcia station