The Casa Batlló (1904-1906)
Casa Batlló is located at 43 Passeig de Gràcia and is one of the two great buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi on this beautiful street; the other building is La Pedrera. It forms part of the island of buildings known as the "manzana de la discordia" (block of dissension) because its buildings belong to so many different architectural styles. The owner, textile industrialist Josep Batlló i Casanovas, in May 1904 requested a permission from the city of Barcelona to totally remodel the house. Thus, the current house is the result of a total refurbishment of an old conventional house built in 1877. This architectural project was discussed by municipal authorities since a lot of elements of the design were against the bylaws of the city.
Gaudí's changes were so radical that the result of this remodeling is a new building. He added two floors to the building as well as a gallery and the balconies and the polychrome ceramics. The façade of Casa Batlló is one of the most impressive features of this house. Gaudi used typical materials of the Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau) such as ceramics, stone and iron. This façade is unique in that it eliminates the corner and the edge, with curved lines dominating the design. Even balcony railings seem twisted and stick to the front of the house like birds' nests on the face of the cliff. Almost as soon as the façade was completed the house was dubbed "La Casa dels Ossos," the House of Bones, because of the curvilinear stone columns resembled bones. Even the iron balcony railings are painted cream color. The little balconies have been also compared to masks, with various kinds of symbolism attributed to the overall design. Finally, the facade wall glitters in numerous colours, and small round plates that look like fish scales.