Casa Batlló

Galina and the dragon Visiting with the architect of the non-euclidean

And a building such as this. Monet’s water lilies, a carnival expressed in the masked balconies, the confetti effect, the roof like a Harlequin’s hat, Saint George striking down the dragon, the sword, the skulls.  What lies within…

” Those who look for the Laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.” Antonio Gaudi

H.P Lovecraft would have been entranced, wandering the halls of Casa Batlló marveling at the weird organic ‘aliveness’ of the place, and the absence of a single straight line. Hell there’s even a great unnamed scaled beast slumbering, or maybe swimming, on the roof.

Ascending

And the interior of Casa Batlló is just as alive as it’s facade. The vertebrae of the main staircase spiralling up through the floors. The winding and twisting of decorative features on doors, frames and mouldings.

The entry hallBy the time you’ve walked up-to the Noble (first) floor your sense of perspective has suffered a series of shocks, from which it may never recover for the rest of the visit. Gaudi was a master at varying the size of spaces and perspectives to achieve the affect that he wanted.

The carved hardwood vertebra cum banister of the great staircase The sinuous spine-like banister

Doorway to the Noble floor Tiled fireplaceEven the smallest detail bears the stamp of Gaudi’s obsession, from window handles to architraves. All have the trademark organic shape to them. You do wonder whether you should use them or just wait for them to sprout.Detail againIMG_6335Roof Moldings

More detail

Floor Tiles

Yet more organic light fixtures

And then there’s the use of tiles, you’re not quite sure whether your in a house, underwater  or sitting in the mother of all russian ovens. 
Tiled lightwellRear of Casa Batllo from the courtyard Looking back from the courtyardOn the uppermost floor the shape of the rooms round into arches, reflecting the shape of the dragon that’s having a snooze on the roof.Inside the belly of the dragonFinally once you get to the roof there’s those chimneys with their pointed hats and  emerging at 45 degrees from the roof. What, exactly, are they? Guards? Claws? Clowns? Apparently their design prevents backdraft so beneath all that showy Gaudi exterior may beat a Corbusier heart…
Sinuous chimeny'sOne of Gaudi’s favourites, a round tower with a floral dome, topped with the four-branched cross. The cross representing the spear of St George, plunged into the monster reclining upon the facade. Or so the story goes…Gaudi's reminderAnd the monstrous monster itself, on one side the trencadis beloved by Gaudi, on the other ceramic tiles laid to represent the scales of a ginormous beast. The dragonVisiting Casa Batlló you walk away with more questions than you started with… An unexpected, slightly disturbing but very enjoyable experience.

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