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Also known as Casa dels Ossos, which translates to the “House of Bones”, Casa Batlló ranks high up in the list for the strangest residential buildings in Europe. Designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí at his hallucinatory best, Casa Batlló sports an iridescent scaled facade with curving, bony balconies sprinkled with bits of blue, mauve and green tiles and an uneven blue-tiled roof with a solitary tower giving the building an otherworldly feel. Here’s all you need to know before exploring this home-turned-museum, open to the public since 1993.
Technically, Gaudí did not build Casa Batlló, he simply redesigned it. While the original Casa Batlló was actually built in 1875, it does not resemble the building as we know it today.
In 1903, Casa Batlló was bought by a wealthy Barcelona businessman named Josep Batlló i Casanovas from the original owners. His first plan was to destroy the building and use the land to build a new home for him, his wife and their five children. However, in the end, Josep Batlló decided to renovate the building rather than destroy it. He used the main part of the building for him and his family, and had the rest of the building divided into several small apartments for rent.
For the renovation, he decided to hire architect Antoni Gaudí. At this time, Gaudí was already well known as the head of several Barcelona projects, including the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. Hence, Gaudí's emblematic work on Casa Battló began in 1904, lasting until 1906. The building was transformed into one that hardly resembles the original. Animal and nature forms inspired the facade of Casa Batlló. Gaudí designed Casa Batlló with outstanding imagination, making it one of the most visited monuments in the city and a spectacular example of Gaudi’s Modernista movement.
Casa Batlló’s facade is divided into 3 distinct section, each reflecting a level of anatomy. The base is stacked with massive abstract bones, the level above has a more chaotic, abstract pattern echoing blood vessels and muscle, and then the top is capped with a scaly roof that resembles an animal, most say a dragon. The entire facade is made from a combination of decorative glass and bright-coloured ceramic, with undulating shapes reminiscent of nature. The 9 balconies made of cast iron and painted ivory interspersed with enlarged windows has given Casa Batlló another nickname, 'House of Yawns'.
One of the most enchanting parts of the Casa Batlló is the Pattio De Luces which translates to the Court of Lights, a communal stairwell which is a culmination of ceramic tiles in shades of blue that come together to create an optical illusion. The effect becomes all the more magical when light filtering from the stained windows glints on the mosaic. Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re in an underwater cave.
The entrance hallway of Casa Batlló is an heady mix of horizontal and vertical lines that emerge at the ceiling in curves. Walking ahead, you’ll notice the sweeping central staircase leading up to Planta Noble that will leave you wide-eyed for sure.
The Noble Hall also known as the Planta Noble makes up the main floor of the house. Here you will find a dining room decked in wood and glass, a feel of unparalleled grandeur. Walk along the corridor beside the Noble Hall, to get a sneak peak of the rooms at Casa Batlló.
Built to be a storage area for the entire house, the catenary arch that dominates the vault of the attic progresses as a series of arches and will remind you of a large animal’s rib cage. The room has bone-coloured plastering and is illuminated by the German Ingo Maurer. The balconies in the attic make for a great photo spot with the house’s façade in the backdrop.
To reach the terrace, you have to climb a flight of winding staircase. The terrace of Casa Batlló depicts the scales of a dragon and progresses from orange to blue to green, a magical illusion. It is a splendid work of art with the 27 chimneys organised into four sets of six, each measuring 10 metres high and resembling mushrooms. The four sets of chimneys decked with trencadis mosaic is among the most photographed parts of the house, for all the right reasons. It overlooks the city of Barcelona and is the perfect place to consume the beauty of the ancient city.
If you’re interested in witnessing a music performances, anything from Spanish guitar to soul to pop and R&B ; there’s no better place to experience an open air concert experience than the rooftop of Casa Batlló at 8:00 PM. With your Magical Nights Tickets, you can roam the house without the crowds, witness a breathtaking sunset on the terrace and enjoy live music afterwards. You can choose a concert of your choice ( changes daily ), enjoy 2 drinks and toast to an unforgettable evening. Also, you have the choice of a tour plus the rooftop concert, or only the concert for a slightly lower entry price.