Friday, September 11, 2009

The House of Bones - Casa Batllo

One of the most photographed buildings you could possibly find in Barcelona is that of Casa Batllo, also known as the ‘House of Yawns’.

A more recent, more macabre name for this stunning Gaudi masterpiece is that of the ‘House of Bones’. Situated near to its cousin, Casa Mila (or La Pedrera), upon the Passeig de Gracia, Casa Batllo stands out from the other buildings in that its walls are in an elaborately decorated order with Gaudi’s characteristic absence of straight lines. The Casa Batllo’s disconcerting nickname (House of Bones) is owed to the ‘skeletal’ look of the columns of the building’s gallery and not because there are any skeletons to be found in the closet.

Restored and remodeled by the Spanish modernist architect Antoni Gaudi in the years 1905–1907, Casa Batllo is now one the most overlooked buildings by the tourists who visit Barcelona. Although Casa Batllo is a museum now, Gaudi designed it for for a wealthy Barcelona Aristocrat.


Casa Batllo’s roof has been compared to a reptilian creature, the backbone of a gigantic dinosaur, the dragon killed by St. George (Sant Jordi being the patron saint of Catalan).


It seems that the goal of the designer was to avoid straight lines completely. Much of the facade is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles that starts in shades of golden orange moving into greenish blues.






From the balconies resembling the bones of animals to the scale like surface of the front facade, the building is a tour de force of an artist reaching the peak of his powers. At night the floodlit facade has an iridescence like the scales of a fish. This polychromic finish is known as trencadís.


The enlarged windows on the first floor gave it another nickname, ‘House of Yawns’.















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