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Stairs in La Pedrera (Casa Milà)

Casa Milà, commonly known as La Pedrera is the largest civil building designed by Antoni Gaudi. The apartment block was constructed between 1906 and 1910. It was Gaudi's last work before devoting himself to the construction of the Sagrada Familia.

 

Pedro Milà i Camps, a rich businessman was impressed by the Casa Battló, an expressionist building designed by Gaudi. He commissioned Gaudi to construct an apartment building on a corner site at the Passeig de Gracia, in the Eixample district.

 

The result is a less colorful but nevertheless an even more unconventional building than the Casa Batlló. It breaks with traditional architecture by using not a single straight line. The wavy facade, with its large pores, reminds one of an undulating beach of fine sand, formed, for example, by a receding dune. The honeycombs made by industrious bees might also spring to the mind of the observer viewing the snake-like ups-and-downs that run through the whole bulding. In this building Gaudi created a paradox: an artificial but natural building which was simultaneously a summary of all the forms that he has since become famous for.

 

The building does not use load-bearing walls, but rests on pillars and arches. Together with the use of steel this allowed the architect to create completely irregular floor plans. Even the height of the pillars and ceilings differ from one to another. The attractive rooms have a lot of character, with a mixture of expressionist and Art Nouveau styles.

 

On the outside, the undulating balconies look like a series of waves. The iron-wrought balconies were designed by Josep Maria Jujol, who improvised on the spot. Some people see the facade as a cliff-like rock with caves. During construction, people dubbed it a quarry, or 'Pedrera'. To date, people still call the building 'La Pedrera' rather than 'Casa Milà'.

 

The roof is probably the most extraordinary of the building. It features a number of surrealistic colorful chimneys. The roof also features a bench similar to the one in Park Guell.

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Taken on September 19, 2005