Homage in Catalonia

Nothing political here:  The POUM is long gone.  Just me doing pilgrimage to some architectural sites/sights that I’ve been waiting to see for a very long time.  Visiting the Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí was top of the list.

This pretty girl is wearing a dress that seems to fade into the reptilian roof structure on top of the house.  Inside the attic story, where the servants lived and worked, we see the narrow parabolic arches that show up in so much of Gaudi’s work.  It’s hard to see, but on the sides there are vents that allow light and air in no matter what the weather.

The center of he tall and narrow house is an air and light shaft with a small elevator, all tiled in glorious color.  The curvy window frames are equipped with triple louvers below that can be opened to regulate the air circulation.

The house was innovative for its time in having piped water and electric lights.  In this picture, you can see that he wasn’t going to simply substitute electric bulbs for the old fashioned gas  burners.  No, he slits the ceiling as though it were of fabric (or skin?) and nestles the lights within.

Barcelona has a lot of interesting things, including a vacuum system for whisking away trash.  You drop your separated trash into one of two fixtures, and it is sucked into underground pipes and to its final disposal site.  No noisy and dangerous garbage trucks rolling down crooked narrow lanes in the medieval core of the city which is a huge tourist zone.

Other architectural styles are present besides the medieval and Catalan modernismo:  here we see a building that is heavily indebted to Otto Wagner, a contemporary in Vienna.

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Modern stuff too:  a skyscraper that looks like a…cucumber?  The architect thinks it evokes a geyser of water.  And a needle by Calatrava who designed the monument to NJ commuters that is being built in the World Trade Center site.


7 Responses to Homage in Catalonia

  1. Regi says:

    Stay right there! We’ll be there in early December!

  2. If you are still in Barcelona, there is an interesting show at the history museum on the harbor about the POUM etc.
    The waste removal system is basically a chute to a bin in an underground car park. If the ramp is going to take up street space the thinking goes, trade it for space below. There really aren’t that many of them.
    The poblesdecatalunya site is a good resource. Folks in Barcelona call the Torre Agbar a dildo point blank. It is also a faux reference to a catenary arch a la Gaudi.

  3. Ducky;s here says:

    If you have a movie rental account give Hiroshi Tesigahara’s “Gaudi” a look.

    Virtually silent as it surveys Barcelona. My favorite of his and I like his work quite a bit.

    Solid soundtrack from Tôru Takemitsu is a plus also.

    The film really brings out that organic feeling in his architecture.

  4. Guy Savage says:

    Just finished a book I liked a lot called Calling Mr King. It’s about a hit man who develops an interest in architecture and goes on assignment to Barcelona. So this post was quite a coincidence

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