Apartment Life

Late in life, Gaudi devoted all his time to the Sagrada Familia. So much so, that he lived in his studio in the building. But as a younger man, he was just another working architect, albeit a famous one. Gaudi, build me a mansion. Gaudi, build me a private compound. Gandi, build me an apartment building?

Yes, in 1912 Gaudi completed the amazing Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (“the stone quarry”). Who else in 1912 would have included an underground garage to park cars? Who else had ergonomic door handles? Elevators?

But lets start on the roof, where some say that the chimneys imspired the look for the Imperial Storm Troopers in Star Wars. The larger structures house stairs rising from the attic and helped give the building its Stone Quarry nickname

Attic windows peek out below the undulating roofline.
Gaudi built this arch to frame a view of the Sagrada Familia.
Looking down into one of the courtyards Notice the hook for lifting heavy objects into the apartments.

Just below the roofline is a huge arched attic that encompasses the entire building. In its day, it would have been used to dry laundry and for storage.

Screens tell the story of construction.
Guadi relied on models to plan and to convey his ideas.
In the foreground, the roof has been cut away to reveal its supporting arches and a shaft for a stairway or elevator.
A model of the supports for the entire roof. Note the number of access shafts.
We are looking into a mirror. Gaudi would hang string or chain, sometimes with weights attached, and adjust lengths to achieve the arched forms he was after. A mirror below would reveal the shape of the final building.
A model of Sagrada Familia. If you look carefully, you can see some of the supports passing through holes in the lower roof.
Spiral stairs reached the attic inside cylinders like this one.
Gaudi also designed furniture.

La Pedrera is now a World Heritage site, which means we can snoop around in one of the apartments.

Innovations included the door-in-a-door to screen visitors and the ergonomic door handle
Notice the floors. There’s quite a variety.
Childrens’ rooms were with the servants’ rooms since it was the servants who minded them.
The view from the hallway.

Here we go down several flights of the Service stairway. You might expect these to be pretty unadorned. They were simple, but more stylish than expected because tenants frequently had to use them when the two elevators failed. The painting appears to the three dimensional, but is perfectly flat.

We ended iur tour where we began, back in the ground floor courtyard. Notice the beautiful ceiling painting and the entrance to the parking garage.

The central door was for cars, the outer two for pedestrians.

3 thoughts on “Apartment Life”

  1. La Pedrera WHO KNEW? Fantastic. I was in Barcelona once but that was 1970, more interested in wine and women then.

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