Friday, September 25, 2015

Gaudi, Part I: La Pedrera

La Pedrera
Catalan/Spanish modernist architect Antoni Gaudí second most famous structure is La Pedrera (translation: "the quarry"), an apartment house he built in the Eixample (eye-SHAMP-la) neighborhood of Barcelona.  We'll get to his most famous structure tomorrow.

But, first, walking down Passeig de Gràcia to La Pedrera, you pass Gaudi's third most famous project:  Casa Batlló.

It is easy to miss if you are not looking for it, as it is right in between standard-issue buildings on a regular city block.  That's because Gaudi merely renovated an existing structure by imposing a very modernist facade.  Under the skin of the facade, it's a normal building.

But walk farther down Passeig de Gràcia to La Pedrera, and you will find a building that is weird to its core.  How weird to the core?

These are miniatures of some of the furnishings he designed specifically for La Pedrera.  Note the "love seat" sofa in the top right corner.

This is the model for La Pedrera.

The building is open in the middle, as you can see.

The tour starts on the roof.  And this was no ordinary unadorned roof.

That view there is particularly disconcertingly weird.

This arch frames a view of a mountaintop cathedral in Barcelona.  Intentionally.  Everything Gaudi did was planned and intentional.  Meticulously planned.  Let's zoom in a little to see it.

This arch frames these two attractive young ladies quite nicely.  But the reason they are taking the picture there is because it also frames Gaudi's masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia.


Move a little to the left and this archway also frames a large cucumber shaped building off in the horizon, the Torre Agbar.

Is this gentleman shooting a picture of La Sagrada Familia?  Or the Giant Cucumber?  Let's zoom in on Torre Agbar.  For giggles.

From the roof, you move down to the attic.  And what do you find in the attic?

Old furniture!  This is the loveseat sofa we previously saw in miniature?  What else?

Built models.  Like this one of La Sagrada Familia.

From the attic, the new floor down may be toured.  It is the original Milà family apartment.  The Milà family originally had Gaudi build them this, which is why La Pedrera is alternately called "Casa Milà."

Note the typewriter in the "office" room.

It's an old Underwood.  I have one exactly like back in the office.

Carole types my letters and court pleading on it.  Using six sheets of carbon paper each time.

We have a bear of time electronically filing the documents she prepares that way.  I'm not keen on constantly updating my technology.  I used a computer with Windows XP up to last year.  And my cellphone is from 2011.  It may well be the smallest screen smartphone still in use in America.

I do not have a victrola, however, on which to play my hundreds of vinyl record albums.

You can't tour the other floors because people actually live there.

The end.  I would definitely recommend spending the 20 euro for this tour, with the audioguide.

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