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Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlo and Mila


We set off to see three of Gaudi’s buildings on a Monday not expecting so many people to be there because, well, it was Monday. As soon as we got to Casa Batlo however, there was already a line to get in. The same situation greeted us at Casa Mila. We decided not to linger very long here, only admiring the buildings from the outside. The buildings were definitely odd and whimsy and cool all at the same time. And it certainly makes you wonder, from a builder’s point of view, how in the world did they frame that?!

Seeing Casa Batlo and Mila took me right back to my history class in college. It was unfortunate that back then, our textbooks only had hand renderings of these buildings, and it never really was an accurate representation of the real thing. You almost have to see it in person to get a sense of the scale and the sinuous forms and the organic quality of it all. We tried to capture as much of that in our photos but as always, it never seems to do them any justice (and you can only convey so much with a point-and-shoot!). As amazing as these buildings were, and as much as I would have loved to see them from the inside, the hordes of people were simply a buzz killer. So we peeled out and headed for the bigger fish–the Sagrada Familia.

There were ten times as many people here. Eek! To think that it wasn’t even tourist season yet. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have cared so much. But ten years ago I still had a high tolerance for crowds.

Anyway, Sagrada Familia was amazing. Period. This church is one of Gaudi’s masterpieces and is still under construction. I believe it’s been under construction since 1882. The interior of the church is nowhere near finished, and there were scaffolding everywhere. What a massive project this is.

a sculpture of Gaudi's head

Despite our mutual aversion to crowds, B and I decided to suck it up and check out the interior. We went through the museum where Gaudi’s plaster models were on display as well as drawings and early renderings that his friend and partner did for the massive sculptures that went on the exterior facade. To me these sculptures were one of a kind. I loved the angular forms of the figures he created. Quite a stark contrast to Gaudi’s curvilinear forms.

After the museum we lined up to take the elevator up to the spires, took in the panoramic views of the city below, and made our way back down one of the towers via a spiral stair that looked like a nautilus shell. It was the coolest thing. A little scary and claustrophobic in there, but cool.

I wonder what Gaudi was like as a person and as an architect. Judging from his works, he must have been really eccentric! And I thought I was weird.

Casa Batlo.

Casa Mila.

Sagrada Familia.

massive 1:10 scale plaster models

the model workshop

one of the many drawings by Josep Subirachs on display at the museum.

the nautilus staircase

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