Wednesday, June 9, 2010

stories in stone

La Pedrera

Casa Milà, best known as La Pedrera— which is Catalan for 'the quarry', is one of Gaudí's best known buildings in Barcelona. The striated waves of stone were meant to house offices and apartments, but had trouble gaining tenants due to its unusual shape. I think I'd much prefer an oddly shaped room to a rectangle, but that's me. The iron vined balconies remind me of dripping lava— in fact there is something very lava-like about the whole building. I did a terrible sketch, and feeling slightly irritated, I was only able to last fifteen minutes in the line that stretched around the block to get inside La Pedrera before I left.

Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló

Just a few steps down Passeig de Gracia stands another Gaudí, Casa Battló. I much prefer this narrow apartment building to La Pedrera for its colour, curves and illustrative quality. Casa Battló is a story; the story of Catalonia's patron saint, Saint George, and his slaying of a dragon. The balconies are skulls of the dead, and the green tiled undulating roof is the back of the beast with the turret/sword piercing its body. What a marvellous place to live!

Next door to this visceral beauty is the stunning Casa Amatller, designed by Puig i Cadafalch for chocolatier Antoni Amatller.

It's a fitting house for a chocolatier— I just love the bear by the door! Both buildings look like something out of a fairy tale. I wish I had sketched them, but the amount of tourists hovering around like flies was enough to make me keep moving.

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