Casa Mila / La Pedrera

Casa Mila / La Pedrera

A quarry right in the city center? Unbelievable? Not at all if it is about the enchanted streets of Barcelona where almost everything is possible. La Pedreda or "the Quarry" – this is how the locals at first nicknamed this house to mock its unusual and massive light stone facade. The official name of the house is Casa Mila, after the surname of Pere Milà i Camps, a wealthy local textile industrialist, who commissioned the house to Antoni Gaudi. This building created between 1906 and 1912 became the last civil work of the great architect before he fully dedicated himself to the construction of the Sagrada Familia church.

It was meant as a commercial apartment building where the Mila family occupied only the first floor, while the rest of the floors and flats were for rent. Gaudi thoroughly planned and thought though every single aspect of the construction and design of La Pedrera. As a result the city got not just an apartment building, but a state-of-the-art residential facility. Even today its intricate ventilation system successfully get along without any air conditioners, slider doors in the rooms provide for greater variability of flat interior; also there was already a subterranean garage, an elevator (built a bit after the construction was completed), own laundry, nearly every section of the house had a window for natural illumination (for instance, this was one of the purpose to add the atrium). Innovative use of steel and concrete made it possible not to use partition and load bearing walls – the columns are carrying all of the weight.

Usage of the cutting edge technologies is characteristic of the Art Nouveau style, which is predominant in La Pedrera’s design. Another distinctive feature is the great attention to the decorations. The concept behind the interior and elements of decoration was to create natural shapes and forms with wave effects and plant colors preferred by Gaudi.

The genius architect managed to create a work of art even from the roof – staircase exits, ventilation stacks and chimneys decorated with trencadis tiles look like some or fairy tale creatures or extraterrestrial warriors guarding the house and pertaining their practical function. The roof became a popular attraction, even concerts are held here. The Sagrada Familia can be easily observed from the rooftop. In 1987 Casa Mila was opened for public and soon became one of the most frequently used spots in Barcelona. Some rooms are closed for entry, which is only logical – there are still people living in some of the apartments. Nevertheless visitors can admire the entrance hall on the ground floor, the attic, the roof, a flat on the sixth floor where a typical Gaudi apartment design is recreated. Casa Mila was the first 20th century structure to be proclaimed World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is advisable to start your visit during the first opening hours to enjoy walking a less crowded rooftop.

Address: Carrer de Provença, 261-265
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9 am – 10 pm, Sat, Sun, holidays 10 am – 2 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm
How to reach: metro Diagonal L3, L5
Coordinates: 41.39527, 2.161758