A Guide to Barcelona's Fairy Tale Homes

Updated on July 8, 2019
Marma profile image

Marma has been a teacher for over seven years. She holds degrees from San Jose State, Santa Clara University, and Stanford University.

The Architectural Marvels of Barcelona, Spain

Spain and more specifically, Barcelona, is home to many beautiful architectural sites whether they be the Roman aqueducts of the early centuries, Visigothic churches or Moorish palaces. These sites attract tourists from around the world. One of them is the famous Casa Batlló. This building is an architectural marvel with a rich and interesting history, designed only about a century ago by Barcelona's own, Antoni Gaudi.

The front of La Casa Battló, Barcelona, Spain.
The front of La Casa Battló, Barcelona, Spain.

La Casa Batlló

La Casa Battló is a beautiful six story mansion that was originally built in 1877 in Barcelona's Paseo de Gracia. In 1903 a wealthy business man and factory owner named Josep Battló, purchased the property and hired Antoni Gaudi, a Catalonian architect, to redesign and renovate it. Gaudi did exactly that, adding an extra level to the house and expanding the ground floor.

Gaudi completed La Casa Batlló in 1906. The Battló family then lived in this house until the 1950s. They later sold the property. Today, La Casa Battló is owned by the Bernat family. The Bernat family has opened the house to the public, allowing for tourist visits and special events to be held inside. Many people purchase tickets to gain entrance and tours of the house. La Casa Battló became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now firmly cemented as an important part of Barcelona's cultural heritage. Many other of Gaudi's designs are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

La Casa Batlló, like many of Gaudi's designs (La Sagrada Familia, La Casa Mila), are popular tourist attractions for people worldwide. This house is particularly popular in that it attracts about one million visitors annually.

The Battló family.  In the far left is Josep Battló, who committed Gaudi to redesign the home in 1904.
The Battló family. In the far left is Josep Battló, who committed Gaudi to redesign the home in 1904.

The Beauty of La Casa Battló

Once you see La Casa Battló you will realize what draws so many visitors to it. La Casa Battló is very reminiscent of Barcelona's Modernist style of the early twentieth century. It is this style that makes Gaudi's designs so unique and beautiful even today. Modernism or El Arte Noveau (as the Catalonians referred to it) was a type of design that involved rich, ornate decorations and designs using materials such as stones, iron or colorful, broken tiles. And the results were often amazing.

Gaudi used colorful mosaics on the windows, balconies and rooftop of La Casa Battló. The arced rooftop consists of colorful tiles that resemble what many believe is the back of a dragon or dragon scales. This was possibly due to Gaudi's deep love of nature; he often incorporated nature and nature themes in his designs. This could include animal and ocean designs, leaves and trees. The rooftop also includes a steeple with a cross, reflecting Gaudi's other passion: religion.

The balconies of the house contain curves rather than straight lines, giving the facade of the house a very unique appearance. In fact, Gaudi uses curves in the interior and exterior design of most of his works, which is why they appear so unique.

At one point, La Casa Battló was informally referred to as The House of Bones. This was due to the cream colored stones Gaudi used on the facade and balconies of the house that for many people, resembled human bones. This element is again characteristic of Gaudi's tendency to infuse nature and organic styles in his design.

This type of architecture and style was quite unique for its time and even more so today, which is probably why so many people travel across the world to see the many works of Gaudi.

The rooftop of La Casa Battló.  Notice the curves of the rooftop and the colorful, scale-like mosaic shapes that resemble dragon scales. Many say that Gaudi wanted to evoke the image of a dragon with this design.
The rooftop of La Casa Battló. Notice the curves of the rooftop and the colorful, scale-like mosaic shapes that resemble dragon scales. Many say that Gaudi wanted to evoke the image of a dragon with this design.

Inside the House

The appearance of La Casa Battló is even more unique and beautiful inside. The first floor lobby, for example, is ocean-themed with its blue tiled mosaic design and curved ceiling.

The subsequent floors of the house, such as the second floor study, continues the ocean theme. It contains curved door frames embedded with blue and aqua colored glass and tiles and a wavy, curvy ceiling. It gives the impression of being in an underwater sea house.

The upper floors of the house contain a series of cream colored arches. These arches are very striking and can evoke the sense of being inside a cave or even the ribcage of a large animal. It is truly unique and impressionable site that are so different from the traditional straight lines and planes we are accustomed to today.

Inside La Casa Battló.
Inside La Casa Battló.

For Further Learning

I hope you have enjoyed this brief history of the lovely La Casa Battló. It is only one of the many beautiful attractions available to see in Spain.

To learn more about awesome sites to visit in Spain, please check out my ebook: 6 Inspiring Places to Visit in Spain.

Recommended Resource: Rick Steves' Spain

Rick Steves Spain 2019
Rick Steves Spain 2019

I am going to recommend purchase of this book, Rick Steves' Spain, for any of you interested in or planning on traveling to Spain. It contains a rich collection of wonderful places to visit. I myself have used many of Steves' videos and books to share with my students the many wonders of Barcelona and of Spain.

 

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Marma

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      • Ronald Piper profile image

        Ronald Piper 

        2 months ago

        These houses are interesting. The history behind them is just as fascinating. It can be one more thing to look for when visiting Barcelona!

      • Marma profile imageAUTHOR

        Marma 

        2 months ago from United States

        Hello Mary,

        Yes, it is a beautiful building!

        Mariam

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        You reminded me of our ownderful visit to this place. It was so beautiful.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        2 months ago from UK

        I have seen La Casa Battlo from the outside, but we did not have time to queue to go in. Maybe next time we go to Barcelona we will be able to visit. It is a beautiful city and one that you can keep returning to.

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