5 Curious things you didn’t know about La Pedrera – Casa Milà
15 octubre, 2019
La Pedrera – Casa Milà was built by Antoni Gaudí for the Milà family and finished in 1911. Its sculptured form has made it a reference piece in the past and nowadays. It is impossible to pass through Passeig de Gràcia without noticing this outstanding masterpiece.
Getting more into detail with this building, here are 5 curious facts you didn’t know about…
Did you ever notice these curiosities from the Catalan architect?
For those Star Wars fans, have you ever seen that La Pedrera has chimney stacks with a peculiar form that can remind you of the famous storm troopers or even Darth Vader?
Some say George Lucas was once in Barcelona and got inspired by visiting La Pedrera to reflect these chimney stacks on some of his characters from the saga. What are your thoughts on the similarity?
This gallery is essential to understand the main reason for the shapes Gaudí uses in his unique architecture style. In fact, the gallery itself is in a room which has an animal-like shape. If you look on top, you will be able to discover you’re in room which feels like the interior skeleton of a snake.
This house was conceived mainly for being the Milà’s apartment, where they lived and where in our days, this apartment is still complete with antique furniture. You will be able to see how the room’s distribution was from the maid’s room to the kitchen and even the Milà Family member’s room to see how they used to live back then.
The completely innovative structure of this building makes it really hard to place furniture since it’s barely impossible to find straight walls. This construction got people confused as there were those who were really excited about it and others who were completely against this innovative idea. Mrs. Milà once was frustrated because she couldn’t place a wall piano in the building for Roser Sergimon. They say Antoni Gaudí suggested her to learn to play the violin.
One of the most curious details to keep in mind is the variety of handles Antoni Gaudí made up for different doors, windows, or drawers. At the end of the architecture gallery, you’ll be able to see an audiovisual showing all of the handles he made, their main purpose, and how to properly use them.
Let’s see if you spot them all along the apartment…
You can also buy these handles at the souvenir shop where you will also find mugs or magnets with these handles which feel so satisfying…
These are the kind of details you need to know for completing your experience and making the best out of it. Join us in one of our tours if you want to discover all the details behind every sightseeing spot there is in this wonderful city.
Archictecture & Art, Attractions & Monuments
HOW IS GAUDI’S CASA MILA INTERIOR?
La Pedrera, also called Casa Mila is an impressive apartment building in Passeig de Gracia, one of the most emblematic buildings in Barcelona, built between 1906 and 1912. La Pedrera was the last Antoni Gaudí private project before entirely focusing on the Sagrada Familia church.
An innovative building that didn’t respect any conventional style, was an object of controversy for a while, what earnt it its nickname, La Pedrera (keep reading to discover why!) On 1984 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. We include it in a lot of our Barcelona Tours, and it’s a must of our Gaudi Tour. We also do 1.5 hour tours of La Pedrera only, if you don’t have enough time for a 4-hr tour.
Here is what you get to see in the Casa Mila inside:
The ground plan is organized around several courtyards that contributed to let sunlight into the building and improve ventilation of the building. The patio façades, full of light and colors, are decorated with paintings related to flowers and nature. Gorgeous!
TAKE A PRIVATE TOUR OF CASA MILA
The original rooftop of this buildings is definitely one of its highlights. Staircase shafts covered in broken pottery, 28 twisted chimneys and two curious vents to ventilate the building…
All decorated with marble, broken Valencia tiles and glass (it’s said that he reused the bottles of the inauguration party to decorate one of the chimneys). The rooftop was called by a Catalan poet as “the garden of warriors” as the chimneys seems to protect the city.
The Espai Gaudí is situated in the attic. This unique room built with 270 parabolic arches that look like a giant ribs sheltered the washing rooms. Now it houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to Gaudí’s work and life: models, building plans, photographs, videos… to help you getting a better understanding of this genius and his architecture.
The forth floor has been set up to explain know how a bourgeois family lived in Barcelona in XX century. It recreates the atmosphere of the time original antique furniture and domestic equipment.
It’s very interesting to see how life and devices have changed so much in just one hundred years, and how Gaudi conceived the interiors of Casa Mila to be as comfortable and convenient as possible.
La Pedrera by Night
During day time you can visit all the spaces mentioned above, but if you would like to live a unique experience, don’t miss the night audiovisual show taking you also around the different areas of the building, and finishing with a spectacular video mapping shop in the rooftop inspired in the origins of life and Gaudí’s architecture essence. Get here your Casa Mila by night tickets and travel to Gaudí’s fantastic world!
AND BONUS! Why this building has two names?
Why la Pedrera is also called Casa Mila
This building was commissioned to Gaudi by the Mila family in 1906, so the official name is Casa Mila, that means “the building owned by the Mila family”. However, Gaudi went totally wild with the façade and the locals thought it was outrageous. They started comparing it with a stone quarry, because of how it looked. In Catalan, “La Pedrera” means “The Quarry”. People has continued using this word as a nickname for the house, and that’s why now some people still call it La Pedrera, while others call it Casa Mila.
Have you ever been to La Pedrera or are you planning to go?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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Casa Mila in Barcelona – detailed information with photos
- Casa Mila – inspired by nature
- Bold ideas brought to life in Casa Mila
- Casa Mila Today
- Visit Casa Mila
Casa Mila in Barcelona
The property owes its name to its customers: the tycoon Pere Mila y Caps and his wife asked Gaudí to build a house for them that would amaze and amaze. Needless to say, the results exceeded all expectations – Casa Mila turned out to be more than extravagant. It is noteworthy that this was the last secular brainchild of the architect: in the future, he devoted himself entirely to the construction of the Sagrada Familia temple.
Gaudí himself did not take part in the completion of the project. In 1909, disagreements arose between him and the customers, and the architect refused to continue to manage the construction, and he had to demand the promised fee through the courts.
It is interesting that the owners of the new house had to shell out a tidy sum after the construction was completed: Casa Mila was too high and wide and exceeded the norms existing at that time, so they were fined.
The largest courtyard of the Casa Mila
Building facade elements
House Mila – inspired by nature
Mansard on the 7th floor of the house Mila
Completed in 1906-1910. the project was innovative in every way. First of all, it concerned its forms. Gaudi remained true to his unique style and drew inspiration from nature. The house resembles a rock washed by sea waves, pitted with caves and overgrown with underwater vegetation. The facade of Casa Mila is devoid of straight lines, corners – it seems to flow and shimmer. This effect was achieved thanks to smooth curves, turning one into another, rounded and elliptical shapes, as well as decorative lattices in the form of seaweed. The latter, as well as the partitions on the terrace, were made by the artist and architect Josep-Maria Jujol, with whom Gaudi fruitfully collaborated for many years.
Round courtyard in the southwestern part of the house
There are three patios in Casa Mila. They are designed to bring light into the home. One of them is round and the other two are elliptical. The windows of the utility rooms go here, while the living rooms “look” at the street. The walls are decorated with multi-colored paintings, mainly of plant and mythological themes, and twisted stairs with wrought iron railings wrap around them from the inside.
Model Casa Mila located in the Gaudí Museum on the 7th floor
The attic located on the 7th floor is of particular interest in the House of Mila. Once this room was used as a room for drying clothes, and now there is a mini-museum dedicated to the work of Gaudí. The roof is supported by arched vaults made of bricks – there are 270 of them in total. Thanks to this technique, the architect managed to abandon the bulky beams that can usually be found in houses of that time. As in the whole building, everything here twists and floats, which further enhances associations with the sea or forest.
Roof of Doma Mila
The exposition of the museum consists of three-dimensional layouts, drawings, sketches, photographs of the house. Also collected here are objects in which Gaudí drew inspiration: fruits, shells and even animal skeletons. Thanks to the exhibition, visitors can see the most characteristic features of the author’s style.
A spiral staircase leads from the attic to the terrace. Twisted columns, conical turrets, decorated with multi-colored mosaics of pebbles, fragments of marble, ceramics, glass, a sculpture garden – all this seems to take you to another world. At the same time, they are placed there not only for decoration: each of the elements performs a practical function.
Apartment-museum in the house of Mila
Chimneys on the house of Mila resembling the heads of medieval guards Central courtyard
Finally, tourists can visit the apartment-museum. The interiors of the early 20th century are completely preserved in it: a bed, a wardrobe, a coffee table, a sofa and even an old telephone – time seemed to stop in the rooms. Tourists can see firsthand how the bourgeoisie of that time lived, as well as how much Barcelona has changed since then. Not only the unique exhibits of the collection will help in this, but also a documentary film shown in one of the rooms.
It is worth saying that such an unusual building did not immediately win universal love. Because of its bulkiness and unusual appearance, the locals called the house La Pedrera, which means “quarry” in Catalan. However, a little more than half a century later, Gaudí’s masterpiece was appreciated on merit – in 1984 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Bold ideas embodied in Doma Mila
Chimneys decorated with fragments of broken bottles of wine
The architect completely abandoned the use of load-bearing structures – the entire load falls on the frame, internal columns and external walls. In this way, Gaudí made the free planning of rooms a reality – before him it was considered impossible.
Another revolutionary solution for that time is that every room of the house has a window, the whole Casa Mila is literally flooded with light. Now, this is taken for granted, but at the beginning of the 20th century, some of the rooms in the buildings were deaf.
The ventilation system was also innovative. Residents of the house to this day can freely do without air conditioners.
Casa Mila today
House Mila is unique in that it is still used for its original purpose. Most of the building belongs to the bank, but a few apartments on the upper floors are rented by ordinary Barcelona residents. According to local law, leases signed before a certain year cannot be terminated without the consent of both parties.
Before the tourists move on to other sights in Barcelona, they are offered to visit a souvenir shop. All proceeds from sales go towards the maintenance of the Gaudí Museum, so don’t be stingy, it’s a great way to do your bit to help keep Barcelona’s history alive.
On the ground floor of the building Ceiling in the hall On the roof of the Mila House
Visit Casa Mila
House Mila is located at Passeig de Gracia 92. You can get to it by metro – the nearest station is Diagonal (lines L3 and L5). Also nearby is the Provença-La Pedrera stop with buses 7, 16, 17, 22, 24 and V17 and the FGC train.
Entrance to the House of Mila
Casa Mila is open to the public daily. Opening hours:
- from November to February – from 9:00 to 18:30;
- from March to October – from 9:00 to 20:00;
- December 25 and 26, January 1 and 6 – from 9:00 to 14:00;
- in addition, there are evening sessions – from 20:00 to 00:00.
The ticket price for an adult is 20.50 €, for students – 16.50 €, for children aged 7 to 12 years – 12.25 €. Owners of the Bus Turistik booklet can count on a 10% discount. Tickets can be purchased at the museum box office or at https://tickets.lapedrera.com/site/LaPedrera/. In the second case, you do not have to stand in a long queue. Also at the entrance you can take a detailed audio guide in Russian for a few euros.
See also: Pribaikalsky National Park, Armenia, Saint Lucia, El Salvador, Nish, Balaklava, Golden Gate Bridge, Meritxell Virgin Church
what to see + useful info
Casa Mila, Casa Mila, La Pedrera or Quarry (La Casa Milà or La Pedrera) is a massive architectural complex in the Eixample district at the intersection of Passeig de Gracia with Provence street. Casa Mila is one of the first significant attractions in Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudí. Commissioned by the Barcelona businessman and politician Pere Mila y Camps, the gigantic building with a wave-like façade was the last secular work of the outstanding architect. After a disagreement with an eminent customer and lawsuits, Gaudí devoted himself entirely to the construction of the Sagrada Familia.
The house of Mila survived the rejection and openly negative attitude of the people of Barcelona, which eventually grew into admiration, sincere love and pride. Today, all the tourist routes of Barcelona flock to the magnificent building. Casa Mila handles over a million visitors a year. The building, which is owned by the bank, performs several functions at once. It houses several residential apartments, offices, an exhibition center, a museum dedicated to the work of Gaudí. There is a cafe on the rooftop terrace.
History of the house Mila
Antonio Gaudí received an order for the construction of an apartment house in 1905. Mila wanted to get something extraordinary, which would have no equal either in Barcelona or in other cities of the world. And the architect, an ardent supporter of nature, came up with the idea to create in urban conditions a semblance of a rock washed by the sea, with caves and grottoes, which were assigned the role of living quarters. The ambitious project was not immediately approved by the city authorities, and Gaudí was able to start implementing his ideas only at 1906 after significant adjustments to the original plan.
The sheer scale of construction barely caused the project to fail. The building was larger than all the standards that existed at that time, and Milu, who did not bother to legalize the construction at the initial stage, repeatedly had to pay huge fines to the city administration. The decoration of the facade with heavy stone slabs, the construction of ventilation shafts and internal facades, and the decoration of interior spaces required no less expense.
The dilettantism of the customer and the inability to understand the importance of each element of the structure being built served as a serious stumbling block. Mila, who was impatient to commission his apartment building and top the list of owners of the most prestigious buildings in the city, along with the supervisory authorities, constantly interfered in the construction process, reduced the estimate and hurried Gaudí, which incredibly annoyed the architect. Until 1909, Gaudi remained the project manager and successfully resisted the onslaught of the customer, but in the end he was forced to give up this position due to financial disagreements with Mila, who did not want to pay him a fee. As a result, the architect even had to go to court.
The construction of the building was completed in 1910 by another architect, José Canalet, but in general, Gaudí managed to realize his plan at the cost of incredible efforts. Among the unfinished ideas of the architect were decorative elements in the form of green lianas and flowers rising from the wrought-iron lattices of balconies from floor to floor to the very roof of the house, and the statue of the Mother of God, which was supposed to crown the structure. The statue seemed to the customer the personification of not Christian, but pagan culture. In addition, Mila was afraid that she could cause the destruction of his tenement house, because in those years separatist sentiments intensified significantly in Catalonia, often leading to arsons and demolitions of Catholic churches and palaces with pronounced religious symbols.
House Mila outside and inside: what to see
House Mila consists of two buildings with separate front entrances from two streets, with a common roof, external facade and courtyard, a single system of natural ventilation, thanks to which the premises do not need artificial air-conditioned even in the summer heat and have excellent natural light.
The gigantic reinforced concrete structure has no load-bearing walls, which have been replaced by a strong frame and massive columns, allowing Gaudí to realize his ideas for the free planning of each interior space. Mobile interior partitions act as walls, with the help of which you can change the size and configuration of rooms. In the basement of the house, Gaudí equipped a garage, which was one of the most daring innovative techniques of the architect, since before such premises were not provided inside residential buildings.
House Mila at first glance impresses with the heaviness and asymmetry of the facade, finished with stone slabs mined on the hill of Montjuic. Wavy lines and the absence of right angles evoke associations with the sea and the elements, and the whole structure seems to be filled with movement and life.
- Maritime symbolism intertwined with religious content. The upper cornice is decorated with roses carved from stone and phrases from prayers in Latin. Windows and balconies inscribed in rounded and oval concave openings imitate cave entrances.
- The balconies, resting on projecting undulating slabs, are finished with wrought iron gratings shaped like squirming algae and fantastical sea creatures. Gaudí entrusted work on the forged elements to his colleague Josep Maria Pujol, with whom the architect collaborated for many years. Each balcony, along with decorative elements, was created according to an individual project.
The roof of Casa Mila deserves special mention, which creates the illusion of a wave frozen in stone, flowing down onto the rock facade. Gaudi initially conceived the creation of a common area on the roof for recreation and entertainment of the residents of the house with winding paths, equipped with railings for the safety of vacationers, steps, a garden, benches and a terrace.
Here visitors can see a lot of mythological figures, twisted columns, conical turrets, with which the architect masked the exits to the stairwells, elevator shafts, ventilation ducts, chimneys. All elements of the structure are decorated with trencadis mosaics made of fragments of colored glass, pebbles, marble and granite chips, and fragments of facing tiles. Today, the terrace hosts musical evenings with light shows in the summer.
The interiors of the Mila house amaze with the beauty of the artistic finish, the refinement of the decorative elements, the absence of angles and straight lines, which perfectly fits into the overall concept of the project. Unfortunately, over the past years, some of the interiors and decorations have been irretrievably lost, but what remains makes an indelible impression.
- Two main entrances lead to Casa Mila with vestibules connected by a main staircase, the walls and ceilings of which are decorated with frescoes depicting mythological and biblical scenes and polychrome paintings.
- In the mezzanine area of more than 1000 m², where, according to Gaudí’s project, the apartments of the owner of the house and his family were originally located, today there is an exhibition center where temporary exhibitions of contemporary masters of painting, sculpture, and photography are held. A huge through room is supported by columns that act as load-bearing walls.
- On the sixth floor of Casa Mila there is an exposition in which the surroundings and atmosphere of a typical apartment of the 20s of the last century, typical for a bourgeois family, are recreated to the smallest detail. Here are presented interior items, furniture, dishes and decorative items created according to Gaudí’s designs and testifying to the versatility and depth of his talent.
- The attic, which Gaudí designed as a functional laundry and drying room, is a suite of 270 flat-brick conical arches that support the roof. Now it houses a permanent exposition of the museum dedicated to the life and work of the brilliant master, who combines the talents of an architect, engineer, and artist. Here you can see rare photographs of Gaudi, drawings, sketches, draft sketches of projects made by his hand. A special place is occupied by the drawings of the original project of Casa Mila, according to which one can imagine what it could become if Gaudí was given complete freedom of action.
The building is equipped with three light shafts that open onto two patios, round and oval, which play a major role in the ventilation and lighting of the house. The inner facades facing the patio are painted with polychrome images of fantastic plants. According to the project of Gaudí, the windows of apartments for servants and functional rooms overlooked the courtyards.
Interesting features of Mila House
- Mila House became the first architectural building of the 20th century,84 included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Barcelona residents consider Gaudi’s building not only as an architectural masterpiece, but also as an outstanding monument of the natural elements.
- Casa Mila is located on nine levels, which include an underground garage, attic and roof of the building.
- All rooms of the house are equipped with windows, which played a significant role in the natural light of the building.
- Casa Mila is one of the most amazing buildings in Barcelona and perhaps the world, not only in daylight, but also at night when the multi-colored lights are turned on.
- According to Gaudi’s project, the building was equipped with elevator shafts, but the mechanisms themselves were introduced into the structure much later.
- Gaudi provided not only the smallest architectural and decorative nuances of his offspring, but also the comfort and safety of the people who will live in it. So, he planned to stop the elevators only on even-numbered floors of the building so that residents could meet and contact each other more often.
- Over the years of its existence, Casa Mila has undergone several reconstructions, which have had the worst effect on the exterior and interiors of the building. Fortunately, a restoration has recently been carried out, after which the building was returned to its original appearance as close as possible.
Location of Mila House:
- Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 92
- Metro: Diagonal (Lines L3, L5)
- Bus: No. 7, 16, 17, 22, 24, 28, h20 and V15
- Walk from Plaza Catalunya: 15 minutes
- March 1st to November 3rd: 9:00 am to 8:30 pm (night visit: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- From November 4 to February 28: from 9.00 to 18.30 (night visit: from 19.00 to 21.00)
- From December 26 to January 3: from 9.00 to 20.30 (night visit: from 21.00 to 23.00)
- December 25: Closed
- Duration of visit: 1-1.5 hours
- Adults: 22 euros
- Students, children aged 7-12 and people over 65: EUR 16.