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Casa Milà

Casa Milà
La Pedrera
Casa Milà at dusk
Alternative names Miracle Home
General information
Address 92, Passeig de Gràcia (passeig is Catalan for promenade)
Town or city Barcelona, Catalonia
Country Spain

Casa Milà (Catalan pronunciation: , Spanish pronunciation: ), popularly known as La Pedrera (pronounced: , meaning the 'The Quarry'), is a modernist building in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was the last civil work designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, built between the years 1906 and 1910.

It was commissioned in 1906 by businessman Pere Milà i Camps and his wife Roser Segimon i Artells. At the time, it was controversial because of the undulating stone facade and twisting wrought iron balconies and windows designed by Josep Maria Jujol.

Architecturally it is considered structurally innovative, with a self-supporting stone front and columns, and floors free of load bearing walls. Also innovative is the underground garage.

In 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Currently, it is the headquarters of the Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation, which manages the exhibitions, activities and public visits at Casa Mila.


  • History 1
    • Building owners 1.1
    • Construction process (1905-1910) 1.2
    • Property changes 1.3
    • Restoration 1.4
  • Design 2
    • Structure 2.1
    • Constructive and decorative items 2.2
      • Facade 2.2.1
      • Hall and courtyards 2.2.2
      • Loft 2.2.3
      • Roof and chimneys 2.2.4
      • Furniture 2.2.5
  • Architecture 3
    • Constructive similarities 3.1
  • Criticism and controversy 4
  • In media and literature 5
  • Gallery 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Building owners

The owners of Casa Milà in 1910
Portrait of Pere Milà i Camps.
Roser Segimon, spouse of Pere Milà i Camps.

Casa Milà was built for the married couple Roser Segimon and Pere Milà. Roser Segimon was the wealthy widow of Josep Guardiola, an Indiano (a term applied to the Spaniards returning from the American colonies with tremendous wealth). Her second husband, Pere Milà, was a developer criticized for his flamboyant lifestyle. Residents of Barcelona joked about his love of money and opulence, wondering if he was not rather more interested in "the widow’s guardiola" (piggy bank), than in "Guardiola’s widow".[1]

The father, Milà i Camps was a socialite businessman, with interests in entertainment. He owned the Plaza de Toros Monumental.

He came into politics, using his family money, especially with his marriage to snobbish and very rich.

Barcelona. He passed his days in the Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona, in a fashionable building.

Batillo visited his father, Josep Batlló, a businessman in hemp. Together they built Casa Batlló, he met Gaudí, and told him that Gaudi's next work would be special for him: and indeed, the Casa Calvet is a fine example of Gaudi's work, when he could be bothered to finish, not like in Barcelona, where his church is still under construction.

Construction process (1905-1910)

La Casa Milà being built

Milà bought a house, at the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and Provence, that had formerly been owned by José Antonio Ferrer-Vidal on June 9, 1905. Gaudí was hired in September to design his new home, and on February 2 of 1905 the project was presented to the City Council and the work began. It was decided to demolish the existing building rather than reforming it, as had been done in the case of the Casa Batlló. The building was completed in December 1910, and in October, 1911 the Milà moved there. Finally, on October 31, 1912 they got from Gaudí the final certificate to rent the other floors of the building.

Catholic symbols
Part of the design plan drawings in 1906, showing the sculpture's mean to be mounted on the upper facade

Gaudí, a Catholic and a devotee of the Virgin Mary, planned for the Casa Milà to be a spiritual symbol.[2] Overt religious elements include an excerpt from the Rosary prayer on the cornice and planned statues of Mary, specifically Our Lady of the Rosary, and two archangels, St. Michael and St. Gabriel.[2][3]

The design by Gaudí was not followed in some aspects. The local government fined the owners for many infractions of building codes and ordered the demolition of aspects exceeding the height standard for the city.[4] The Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture states that the statuary was indeed Mary the mother of Jesus, also noting Gaudí's devoutness, and notes that the owner decided not to include it after Semana Trágica, an outbreak of anticlericalism in the city.[2] After the decision was made to exclude the statuary of Mary and the archangels, Gaudí contemplated abandoning the project but was persuaded not to by a priest.[3]

Property changes

Interior of Casa Milà in 1910

In 1940 Pere Milà died, and Roser Segimon sold the property in 1946. Monumental Peter shows the employer and the estate to Joseph Balañá Ballvé Pellisé and in partnership with family Pío Rubert Laporta, known for its department stores in the San Antonio round. The transaction resulted in 18 million pesetas for the building and formed the Compañía Inmobiliaria Provence SA (CIPS) to administer it. [5] Roser Segimon continued to live on the main floor until her death in 1964.[6]

Design Plan, the building in 1914. Most but not all of Gaudí's design instructions were followed.

The new property was divided the first floor of Provence in the street five floors instead of the original two. In 1953 they commissioned Juan Francisco Barba Corsini the construction of 13 apartments in the attic, which until then had been the laundry, increasingly used and had become an unsafe place, filled with garbage. Barba Corsini respect Gaudí's original volume and structure, the Logis-freedom approach that gave the open space and no right angles. The apartments were located on the outer side of the space, leaving a corridor of the distribution curve of the arches that give central courtyard, leaving the darker area between the two courtyards as dealer floor. Apartments were 2 or 3 pieces, some with a loft living, with a design and furniture typical of the early 1950s, with materials such as brick, ceramic, wood and furniture design similar to that of Eero Saarinen [7] as Chair Quarry, among others. The works were supposed installing a chimney inadequate next to Gaudí's.

Installations and activities mixed with the neighboring houses in the early 1960s led to considerable losses of Gaudí's work, especially decorative elements. In 1966 the home was installed Northern Insurance Company, after which he settled a controversial bingo hall that would remain until 1985. He also installed an academy, offices or Inoxcrom cement mills, among others. [5] maintenance costs were very high and their owners, as well as to give shape to more homes, left the building causing age some loosening of stones in 1971. Emergency repairs were made by Joseph Anton Comas respectful to the original, especially the painting of tweaking yards.[8]


After being re-painted a dreary brown, the building's colors were restored in the 1980s

On July 24, 1969 Gaudí's work received official recognition as a historico-artistic Monument. It was a first step to prevent further destruction. Casa Milà was in poor condition in the early 1980s. It had been painted a dreary brown and many of its interior color schemes had been abandoned or allowed to deteriorate, but it has been restored since and many of the original colors revived.

In 1984 it was named a part of a World Heritage Site encompassing some of Gaudí's works. First the City Council tried to rent the main floor to install office for the 1992 Olympic bid. Finally, the day before Christmas 1986, Caixa de Catalunya bought La Pedrera for 900 million pesetas. On February 19, 1987, urgently needed work began on the restoration and cleaning of the façade. The work was done by the architects Joseph Emilio Hernández-Cross and Rafael Vila. In 1990, as part of the Cultural Olympiad, the renovated main floor of the Milan exhibition Golden Square dedicated to modern architecture in the center of the Eixample opened.[5]


The building is 1,323 m2 per floor on a plot of 1,620 m2. Gaudí began the first sketches in his workshop in the Sagrada Familia, where he conceived of this house as a constant curve, both outside and inside, incorporating multiple solutions of formal geometry and elements of a naturalistic nature.

Front of the building
The courtyard

Casa Milà is the result of two buildings, which are structured around two courtyards that provide light to the nine levels: basement, ground floor, mezzanine, main (or noble) floor, four upper floors, and an attic. The basement was intended to be the garage, the main floor the residence of the Milàs (a flat of all 1,323 m2), and the rest distributed over 20 homes for rent. The resulting layout is shaped like an asymmetrical "8" because of the different shape and size of the courtyards. The attic housed the laundry and drying areas, forming an insulating space for the building and simultaneously determining the levels of the roof.

One of the most significant parts of the building is the roof, crowned with skylights, staircase exits, fans, and chimneys. All of these elements, constructed with timbrel coated with limestone, broken marble or glass, have a specific architectural function. Nevertheless, they have become real sculptures integrated into the building.

The building is a unique entity, where the shape of the exterior continues to the interior. The apartments feature ceilings with plaster reliefs of great dynamism, handcrafted wooden doors, windows, and furniture, and the design of the hydraulic pavement and different ornamental elements.

The stairways were intended for services, in that access to housing was by elevator except for the noble floor, where Gaudí added a staircase of a particular configuration.

Gaudí wanted the people who lived in the flats to all know each other. Therefore, there were only lifts on every second floor so people had to communicate with one another on different floors.


CasaMila-Balcony, showing the self-supporting stone facade, also supported by curved iron beams

Regarding the structure, Casa Milà is characterized by its self-supporting stone facade, meaning that it is free of the functions of a load-bearing wall, which connects to the internal structure of each floor by means of curved iron beams surrounding the perimeter of each floor. This construction system allows, on one hand, large openings in the facade which give light to the homes, and on the other, free structuring of the different levels, so that all walls can be demolished without affecting the stability of the building. This allows the owners to change their minds at will and to modify, without problems, the interior layout of the homes. [9]

Constructive and decorative items


The facade is composed of large blocks of limestone from the Garraf Massif to the first floor of the quarry Villefranche to the higher levels. The blocks were cut to follow the plot of the projection of the model, later raised to its location on just adjusted to align them in a continuous curvilinear texture to the pieces around them.

Viewed from the outside are three parts: the main body of the six-story blocks with winding stone floors both floors of a block back with a change of pace in waves similar to waves, with a texture more smooth and white, with small holes that seem gunboats, and finally the body of the roof.[10]

The original facade of Gaudí gone some of the local bars downstairs. In 1928, the tailor Mosella opened the first store in La Pedrera, he works and eliminate the bars. This did not concern anyone, because in the middle of twentieth century, twisted ironwork had little importance. The ironwork was lost until a few years later, when Americans donated one of them to the MoMa, where it is on display.

Within restoration initiatives launched in 1987, the facade they rejoined him some pieces of stone that had fallen. In order to respect the fidelity of the original, material was obtained from the Quarry Villefranche, even though it was no longer operable. [5]

Hall and courtyards

The building has a completely original solution in solving the lobby to not being a closed and dark, but also for its open and airy courtyards connection with that equally important in gaining a place of transit and directly visible to the user accessing the building. There are two patios in the round side of the Paseo de Gracia and the elliptical street Provence.

The patio

Patios, structurally, are key as supporting loads of interior facades. The floor of the courtyard is supported by pillars of cast iron. In the courtyard elliptical beams and girders adopt a constructive solution traditional, but cylindrical, Gaudí applied an ingenious solution of using two concentric cylindrical beams stretched radial beams, like the spokes of a bicycle, they from a point outside of the beam to two points above and below-the-making functions of the central girder keystone and works in tension and compression simultaneously. Thus supported structure twelve feet in diameter with a piece of maximum beauty and considered "the soul of the building" with a clear resemblance to the Gothic crypts.The centerpiece was built in a shipyard and Josep Maria Carandell assimilates to the wheel of steering, interpreting the intent of Gaudí represent the helm of the ship of life.

Interior, gates
Paintings cover the walls, with access protected by a giant iron gate

Access is protected by a massive gate iron with a design attributed to Jujol, it was common for people and cars, where access to the garage in the basement, now a in auditorium.

The two halls are fully polychrome with paintings oil on plaster surface, showing a repertoire eclectic references mythology and flowers.

During construction there appeared a problem adapting to the basement garage of cars, the new invention that thrilled the bourgeoisie. The future neighbor Felix Anthony Meadows, owner of Industrial Linera, requested a correction in access because its Rolls Royce could not access it. Gaudí agreed to remove a pillar on the ramp that led into the garage. So, Felix, who was establishing sales and factory Fontanella street in Walls of Valles could go to both places with your car from La Pedrera. [5]

For the floors of Casa Milà, Gaudí used a model of floor forms of square timbers with two colors, and the hydraulic pavement hexagonal pieces of blue and sea motifs that had originally been designed for the Batllo house but which had not been used and recovered Gaudí the quarry. The wax was designed in gray John Bertrand under the supervision of Gaudí "touched up with their own fingers," in the words of the manufacturer Josep Bay. [11]


The attic

Like in Casa Batlló, Gaudí shows the application of the catenary arch as a support structure for the roof, a form which he already had used shortly after graduating in the wood frameworks of Matarós cooperative known as "L'Obrera Mataronense." In this case, Gaudí used the Catalan technique of timbrel, imported from Italy in the fourteenth century.

The attic, where the laundry rooms were located, was a clear room under a Catalan vault roof supported by 270 parabolic vaults of different heights and spaced by about 80 cm. The roof resembles both the ribs of a huge animal and a palm, giving the roof-deck a very unconventional shape similar to a landscape of hills and valleys. The shape and location of the courtyards make bows higher when the space is narrowed and lower when the space expands.

The builder Bayó explained its construction: "First the face of a wide wall was filled with mortar and plastered. After Canaleta indicated the opening of each arc and Bayó nailed a nail at each starting point of the arc at the top of the wall. From these nails was dangled a chain so that the lowest point coincided with the deflection of the bow. Then the profile displayed on the wall by the chain was drawn and on this profile the carpenter marked the corresponding centering, which was placed and the timbrel vault was started with three rows of plane bricks. Gaudí wanted to add a longitudinal axis of bricks connecting all vaults at their keystones".

Roof and chimneys

Casa Milà roof architecture, chimneys known as espanta bruixes (witch scarers)[12]

The work of Gaudí on the rooftop of La Pedrera was a collective of his experience at Palau Güell, but with solutions that were clearly more innovative – this time creating shapes and volumes with more body, more prominence, and less polychromasia.

On the rooftop there are six skylights/staircase exits (four of which were covered with broken pottery and some that ended in a double cross typical of Gaudí), twenty-eight chimneys in several groupings (like were designed for Casa Batlló), twisted so that the smoke came out better, two half-hidden vents whose function is to renew the air in the building, crowning the walkway that goes around this dream castle, four cupulins (domes?) that discharged to the facade. The staircases also house the water tanks; some of these are snail-shaped.

The stepped roof of La Pedrera, called "the garden of warriors" by the poet Pere Gimferrer because the chimneys appear to be protecting the skylights, has undergone a radical restoration, removing chimneys added in interventions after Gaudí, television antennas, and other elements that degraded the space. The restoration brought back the splendor to the chimneys and the skylights that were covered with fragments of marble and broken Valencia tiles. One of the chimneys was topped with glass pieces – it was said that Gaudí did that the day after the inauguration of the building, taking advantage of the empty bottles from the party. It was restored with the bases of champagne bottles from the early twentieth century. The repair work has enabled the restoration of the original impact of the overhangs made of stone from Ulldecona with fragments of tiles. This whole set is more colorful than the facade, although here the creamy tones are dominant. [13]


The building's inside decor (pictured in 2005) has been changed several times, both paint and furniture
Furniture in 2008

Gaudí, as he had done in Casa Batlló, designed furniture specifically for the main floor. It was part of the concept artwork itself integral of modernism in which the architect assumes responsibility for global issues such as the structure and the facade, as every detail of the decor, design furniture and accessories such as lamps, planters, floors or ceilings.

This was another point of friction with Mrs. Milà, she complained that there was no straight wall to place your Steinway piano, which Roser Segimon played often and quite well.[14] Gaudí's response was blunt: "So play the violin." [8]

The result of these disagreements has been the loss of the decorative legacy of Gaudí, as furniture due to climate change and the distribution of the main floor which made the owner when Gaudí died. Some remain in private collections some spare parts like a curtain made of oak 4 m. long by 1.96 m. high you can see in the Museum of Catalan Modernism; a chair and desktop of Pere Milà and some other complementary element.

Regarding oak doors carved by dint of gouge bachelors Casas and Bard, only became the floor of Milà and the floor show, because when the lady met Milà in the price, was decided that they would do more of this quality.[11]


Scale model at the Catalunya en Miniatura park

Casa Milà is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí". It was a predecessor of some buildings with a similar biomorphic appearance:

Free exhibitions often are held on the first floor, which also provides some opportunity to see the interior design. There is a charge for entrance to the apartment on the fourth floor and the roof. The other floors are not open to visitors.

Constructive similarities

Inspired Gaudí's La Pedrera on a mountain, but there is no agreement on which was the reference model. Joan Bergós thought it was the rocks of Fray Guerau to Prades mountains. Joan Matamala thought that the model could have been St. Miquel del Fai, while the sculptor Vicente Vilarubias believe was inspired by the cliffs Torrent Pareis to Menorca. Other options include the mountains of Uçhisar to Cappadocia believes that Juan Goytisolo or Mola to villages by Louis Permanyer, based on which Gaudí visited the area in 1885, fleeing an outbreak of cholera in Barcelona.[10]

Some people say that the interior layout of the quarry comes from studies that Gaudí made of medieval fortresses. An image that is reinforced by the similarity of rooftop chimneys and "sentinel" with great helmet coming out of the scales. [13] structure of the iron door in the lobby flees follow any symmetry, straight or repetitive pattern. Rather, his vision evokes bubbles soap that are formed between the hands or structures plant cell.[15]

Criticism and controversy

Public impressions
A satirical version of Casa Milà for the magazine L'Esquella de la Torratxa

The building's unconventional style made it the subject of much criticism. It was given the nickname "La Pedrera".[5] Casa Milà appeared in many satirical magazines. Joan Junceda presented it as a traditional "Easter cake" by means of cartoons in Patufet. Joaquim Garcia made a joke about the difficulty of setting the damask wrought iron balconies in his magazine. [5] Homeowners in Passeig de Gracia became angry with Milà and ceased to say hello to him, arguing that the weird building by Gaudí would lower the price of land in the area.

Administrative problems

Casa Milà caused some administrative problems too, on December 1907 the City Hall stopped work on the building because of a pillar which occupied part of the sidewalk, not respecting the alignment of facades. Again on August 17, 1908, more problems occurred when the building surpassed the predicted height and borders of its construction site by 4,000 square metres (43,000 sq ft). The Council called for a fine of 100,000 pesetas (approximately 25% of the cost of work) or for the demolition of the attic and roof. The dispute was resolved a year and a half later, December 28 of 1909, when the Commission certified that it was a monumental building and thus not required to have a 'strict compliance with the bylaws.[6]


The owner introduced him to artistic buildings annual contest of City Council where this year chose two works Sagnier (Calle Mallorca, 264 and Corsica with Diagonal), the House Guster, who was a particular house of the architect James Gustin and Perez Samanillo house, designed by Hervás and Arizmendi. Although the most dramatic and clear favorite was the house Milan, the jury ruled stating that "even be finished facades take much to make you fully completed, finalized and perfect state of appreciation." The winner in 1910 was Samanillo Perez, now the Equestrian Circle.

Design disagreements

Gaudí's relations with Roser Segimon deteriorated during the construction and decoration of the house. There were many disagreements between them, one example was the monumental bronze virgin del Rosario, which Gaudí wanted as the front head in homage to the name of the owner (Roser Segimon), that the artist Carles Mani i Roig was to sculpt. The statue was not made although the words "Marian Ave gratia M full Dominus tecum" were indeed written at the top of the facade. The continuing disagreements led Gaudí to take Mila to court for over his fees. The lawsuit was won by Gaudí in 1916, and he gave the 105,000 pesetas he won in the case to charity, stating that "the principles mattered more than money." Milà was having to pay mortgage quarry. [5]

After Gaudí's death in 1926, Roser Segimon got rid of most of the furniture that Gaudí had designed and covered over parts of Gaudí's designs with new decorations in the style of Louis XVI. When la Pedrera was acquired by Safety of Catalonia and the restoration done in 1990, some of the original decorations reemerged. [10]

When he started the Civil War in July 1936, they were on vacation in Milan Blanes. Some local ground floor of the quarry were collectivized by the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia and Milàs were forced to flee the area Franco leaving home after saving some artwork.[5]

In media and literature


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ a b La Pedrera (Casa Milà, 1906-1910)
  4. ^ Gaudí: A Biography; Gijs van Hensbergen; Harper Collins; page 214-216
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Huertas Claveria,...
  6. ^ a b Cronologia de l'edifici a La Pedrera Educació
  7. ^ .Apartamentos en el desván de la PedreraBarba Corsini, F.J. Cuadernos de Arquitectura Núm. 22. Any: 1955
  8. ^ a b Hernàndez-Cros, Josep Emili (ed.). Catàleg del Patrimoni Arquitectònic Històrico-Artístic de la Ciutat de Barcelòna, Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona, 1987
  9. ^ Descripció casa Milà a «any Gaudí» a l'Ajuntament de Barcelona
  10. ^ a b c Permanyer, 1996....pàg. 150-166
  11. ^ a b Bassegoda, 2003....pàg. 20
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Ruta del Modernisme. Ajuntament de Barcelona
  14. ^
  15. ^ CIRICI A. Barcelona pam a pam. Barcelona 1971 (7th ed. 1985) Ed. Teide ISBN 84-307-8187-0
  • Rainer Zervst. Gaudí, 1852–1926, Antoni Gaudí i Cornet – A Life Devoted to Architecture. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH & Co. KG., 1988. p176.

External links

  • La Pedrera Official Website
  • Immersive photographies of Casa Milà
  • Virtual tour
  • Link pictures
  • La Casa Milà, furniture and decorative arts
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