What's Inside Casa Batllo | Art, Architecture, Design
Casa Batllo is in every sense a work of art. Boasting imagination, creativity, and great technique, it will come as no surprise to anyone that Casa Batllo is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Read on to find out more about the design, architectural style, and the many important elements that have come together to make Casa Batllo a marvelous sight.
Who designed Casa Batllo?
Antoni Gaudi was a Catalan architect known for being the greatest advocate of Catalan Modernism. Gaudi’s work was influenced by the things he was passionate about. Therefore, in all his works you will find motifs of nature and religion. Most of his work can be found in Barcelona, with his main work being the Sagrada Familia. Between 1984 and 2005, 7 of his works, including the Casa Batllo, were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Gaudi was asked by Joseph Battlo, the owner of Casa Batllo to renovate the house. Gaudi renovated the Casa Batllo between 1904 and 1906.
What is inside Casa Batllo?
The Entrance Hall
Before you enter the Batlló family’s private residence, you will find a communal entrance hall on the ground floor. After viewing the sea and marine life motifs, as you enter the entrance hall, which is the first stop in the house, you will find yourself transported to an underwater environment. Here, you will find skylights that resemble turtle shells, vaulted walls with curved shapes, and a wooden staircase. The carved banister of the staircase is made from hardwood and looks like the backbone of an animal.
Noble floor and Museum
The noble floor is where Josep Batllo stayed until he passed away. It is the main floor of the building with an area of over 700 square meters. The noble floor has a private landing, a dining hall, and a private space for couples. It also has a study, which is the first room one would reach on this floor. Here, you will find a unique mushroom-shaped fireplace. From here, you will be led to the living room of the house, and a large picture window will take you to the gallery onto Paseo de Gracia. In 2002, this part of Casa Batllo was opened as a museum for public entry.
Patio of Lights
For Gaudi, the Mediterranean light was the perfect light. All throughout the house, from the noble floor to the attic, you will find natural light entering proportionally. The double patios are extremely crucial to this. The patios have walls that are coated with pieces of ceramics and glass in different hues of blue, with the darkest shade on top and lightest on the bottom. This, along with the windows of different sizes, ensures that light enters evenly. When you stand at the bottom of the yard, you will see a blue tone that makes you feel like you are standing underwater. In the center of the patio of lights, you will find a wooden lift car that is still in use today.
The Batlló family’s private dining room, located in the center of the Noble Floor, leads to an exclusive rear courtyard. Gaudi renovated the rear facade to add wavy balconies and iron railings. This garden, designed exclusively for the use of the Batllo family, was a place to relax, especially during the afternoon hours. You will once again find Gaudi’s techniques of trencadis at play here. You will flower pots and flower beds covered in mosaic tiles. You will also find a curved wall at the back with inlaid vases, which is designed to look like a hanging garden.
Built around the Patio of Lights, this part of the house was once upon a time used by servants for services such as laundry. The characteristic feature of the loft is its Mediterranean influence. The use of white is quite unique in this part of the building. This space is one of the best examples of how design and functionality come together. The loft also consists of a series of 60 arches that are placed in relation to each other in such a way that it resembles the rib cage of an animal.
Casa Batllo is known to be distinctive and eccentric. But, the roof is where Gaudi takes the building completely out of the realm of standard architecture. The dragon back design of the roof is a thing of beauty. This structure works in collaboration with the ribcage structure of the loft to give the complete skeletal form of an animal. The exterior look of the animal has been rendered by using colored ceramic tiles as scales. The plan here by Gaudi was quite detailed and he lent a sheen to the tiles so as to resemble that of a real animal.
Gaudi did not compromise on aesthetics while designing the interiors of the house. He brought the same level of attention to detail as he created the insides using wrought iron, wood, stained glass, ceramic tiles and stone ornaments. While marine motifs dominate the exterior, floral patterns take precedence inside.
A play of light and color, the facade has been created using recycled materials, stone, glass and ceramics. You will find marine-inspired themes all through the facade.
The external facade of the house follows the same principle of asymmetry that can be observed throughout the house. The facade, hence, works as a prelude to what one can find inside the house. The lower ground floor, the main floor, and the galleries of the first floor, made of Montjuic sandstone, feature wavy lines. On the ground floor, Noble Hall, and the first floor, you will find slender stone columns that resemble the shape of bones. The midsection is multicolored and features hanging balconies. The balcony railings, made from cast iron that is attached to two anchor points, look like masks. On the Noble Floor, you will see a huge gallery that protrudes over Paseo de Gracia and large oval-shaped feature windows.
Trencadis is the name of the technique that Gaudi used to create tiled mosaics, likes of which can also be found at Park Guell. The color of the mosaic varies, with blue and green, drawing inspiration from the sea, taking prominence. Between balconies and window frames you will find patterns that evoke the image of a foamy sea. The house is then topped by a roof where the mosaic looks like fish scales, with hues of pink and teal. On the inside of the roof, you will find warmer tones of white, yellow, orange, and red. The green and blue tiles return at the closing of the roof, this time, evoking the image of the back of a dragon. A cross with four arms pointing north, south, east, and west also rises from the roof’s tower.
It is only natural that over the years people have tried to interpret the various images that the facade features mean. The cross is believed to represent the cross used by Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia, to kill a dragon to save people from the animal. The bone-shaped columns, hence, are believed to commemorate its victims. This interpretation is probably how Casa Batlló came to be known as the house of bones or the house of the dragon. Other interpretations see the facade as an aquatic landscape that symbolizes Monet’s ‘The Water Lilies’, as a result of the colorful coating of ceramic glaze and fragments of broken glass.
Design and Architecture
Like most of Antoni Gaudi’s other structures, Casa Batllo is one of the finest exponents of Modernisme or Art Nouveau. Gaudi, who had been asked to create something without holding back, responded to Batllo's request by creating Casa Batllo. It has come to be locally known as Casa dels Ossos or the House of Bones. The name is quite fitting once you see the building.
The primary architectural language of the building is asymmetry, characterized by the oval windows and sculpted stonework on the ground floor.
All Your Questions About Casa Batllo Architecture Answered
A. Inside the Casa Batllo you can view the artistic genius of Gaudi, who designed the building by drawing influences from nature. You will be able to see the entrance hall, the patio of lights, the Noble Hall where the Batllo family lived, the indoor garden, loft that was used by the servants and most importantly, the rooftop.
A. Casa Battlo was designed by Antoni Gaudi.
A. Casa Batllo is designed in the style of Modernisme or Art Nouveau.
A. Gaudi used recycled materials, stones, metal, wood, ceramic, wrought iron and glass to create Casa Batllo.
A. Arguably, the facade is the most impressive parts of Casa Batllo. However, you would be remiss to not enter this masterpiece. From the stain-glass windows, the patio of lights to the mushroom-shapped fireplace and the roof that resembles a dragon, there is no dearth of things that can blow your mind at Casa Batllo.
A. Casa Batllo is located at Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, España.
A. While the original building was built in 1877 by Emilio Sala Cortés. It was renovated by Antoni Gaudi between 1904 and 1906.
A. Yes, Casa Batllo opened its door to the public on 1 July 2021, and has been organizing tours since.
A. Casa Batllo means the House of Batllo, named after its owner, Josef Batllo.
A. Art Nouveau is known for its asymmetrical lines that take the form of flower stalks and buds, and other delicate and curvy natural objects, which can be observed all throughout Casa Batllo.
A. Gaudi drew inspiration from the marine world and the Mediterranean sea. Many believe he also borrowed from Monet's paintings and the Legend of St George.