September 9, 2008

Casa Mila/La Pedrera (same building, two names).

Again, I have no new photos to show you all from my trip to the Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera) today and this time it’s not because I forgot my camera but because my camera BROKE. The photos you see above were taken on my first day here in Barcelona when I had no idea what this building really was, though was definitely in awe of it. A quick informational background on Casa Mila was that it was purchased by a local Barcelona company and then was commissioned to be designed by Antoni Gaudí, none other than the architect whose (blue)prints are all over this city and who I have become quite fond of. The entire building was actually full of apartments for the newly wealthy aristocrats that had settled in Barcelona once the city began its boom in the 1910s - 1920s.

The building is on the corner of two streets (one being Passeig de Gracia which I had mentioned in my first posting while here) and the way that Gaudí designed it was a free-flowing shape that curved around instead of a typical right angle that most buildings on corners have. No straight lines for this guy!

The most remarkable aspect of this building is the terrace which when looked at from all angles gives some incredible views of Barcelona (though I have come to realize that because of the spectacular beauty that is this city, many architects and buildings have decided to give people a way to see it; not hide it just for the view of those on airplanes). When one looks at the sides of the top of this terrace, it looks like wavy lines that a child might draw to represent the ocean though when you walk around it, the ground is flat and the stairs hide behind these wavy lines to give the impression from other angles that it is curvy. Also rising out of the top of the terrace are these structures made of a peachy eggwhite-colored concrete as well as the cracked white and gray tiles that Gaudí loves to use in everything. I believe there were 6 large structures and they were all of different shapes (some look like they were swirled like a top while others were more Aztec-inspired) though most of them about 9 – 12 feet high. There were two areas in the terrace where you could look down inside the building and see ALL the way to the ground floor as I have found is typical of many buildings here in Spain where there is sort of a dead space somewhere in the middle of the building. Inside of this space, windows were randomly placed and each had a little hood, as if it would rain and the person peering out would be protected from the elements.

It was also up on the terrace where one of my favorite possessions decided to break and for that, I will always remember the Casa Mila. The cord that attaches to my camera which I keep around my wrist at all times when taking photos (for fear that it might fall out of my hands decided to break), today decided to break. And while I was being a good Samaritan! I had offered to take a photo for two girls so they could have a photo of the two of them together up on the terrace and as I was looking through the viewfinder of their camera…PLOP…went my camera about five feet to the ground (I guess at least it didn’t fall off the building). I am heading to a Canon store tomorrow after class to see what the damages will be or if it will be better off to buy a new one. If anyone has purchased a Canon PowerShot (the digital smaller ones, not a large SLR) recently and has a recommendation of a model, I would GREATLY appreciate it! I don’t want to be more than a few days here sans camera!

Anyhow, the remainder of this building was not for show but they did have a couple of sections with an audioguided tour (which was really informative) which walked the viewer around to models of Casa Mila as well as four of Gaudí’s other well-known structures here in Barcelona. At the end, you can have the chance to see what one of these apartments actually looked like with furniture set up and everything (though the audioguide tells you that this furniture is NOT what was actually here in this very apartment, but similar to what might have been there). I have decided that I would move in there in a heartbeat though I don’t really think any are for renting at this time (nor could I afford it on my Euro budget while here).

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