With its undulating facade and militant stormtrooper figures standing guard on the rooftop, Casa Milà is another of Barcelona’s unique architectural wonders, and another example of Antoni Gaudí’s unique take on the Art Nouveau style, better known in Catalonia as Modernisme. Commonly called La Pedrera for its exterior resemblance to a stone quarry, the building was commissioned in 1906 by industrialist Pere Milà i Camps and his wife, Rosario Segimon i Artells. The main floor of the property served as the Milà family’s residence (now used for special exhibitions), with additional apartments above available for rent. Today, though a portion of the building remains private, there are areas open to the public.
The standard tour of La Pedrera begins in the Courtyards where you get a feel for the importance of light, color and nature. Notice the carved columns, plant and ribbon-like iron railings along the stairways and balconies, and the colorful floral motif designs of the murals on the walls. From the Courtyards, you go straight up to the Rooftop, with it’s statuesque figures and mosaic crosses that conceal the chimneys and ventilation shafts. Here’s where you’ll see where Gaudí incorporated pieces of broken glass bottles, marble, stone, and, in a process called trencadís, where he used broken pieces of tile to create the mosaics.
From the rooftop, make your way down to the Espai Gaudí, a museum housed in the building’s attic and former laundry room. Notice the impressive rib-like catenary arches (270 in all); a Gaudí trademark, these are made of red brick. Among the items on display in the ‘Gaudí Space’ are architectural plans, photos, videos, and scale models, including the hanging chain models used to create the building arches.
The tour continues with a walk through the La Pedrera Apartment on the 4th level where you’ll see the interesting decorative elements designed by Gaudí; the moldings, doors, handles, and flooring. And, what makes a visit to La Pedrera unique, compared to say a visit to Casa Battló, is that you can actually see the residence complete with everyday household items and period furnishings, to give you a feel for what it would have been like to actually live here in the early 20th century. While here, be sure to enjoy the view from the apartment windows; it’s quite dramatic looking out over Barcelona from behind the wrought-iron balconies.
La Pedrera (Casa Milà) is one of the seven ‘Works of Antoni Gaudí’ listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And, as the La Pedrera website states, the apartment ‘…shows the building in a twofold aspect: the architectural and the residential.’ However, admission prices are steep. So if you’re not overly interested in architecture or cultural history, or you’re not particularly impressed by the work of Antoni Gaudí, this may not be worth your time or money.
Adult Admission = 16.50€, access to apartments, includes audio guide; 18.00€, access to apartments + special exhibit
We stood in line for about 20 minutes to purchase our tickets at La Pedrera, but there is an option to purchase via their website. Note: you will be required to select the day and time of your visit. Have your booking number with you to claim your tickets.
La Pedrera is located in Barcelona’s Eixample district at Carrer de Provença, 261 easily reachable by Metro 3 and 5: Diagonal.