Thursday, 20 October 2016

Chronicles from Barcelona | The Block of Discord

Since my first visit to Barcelona that Eixample district has impressed me the most for the uniqueness of its architecture. Nowhere else has Modernism assumed such an exuberance, fantasie and scenic quality. And if we could only walk a block of Eixample to have a glimpse of its richness that would be the Block of Discord (Mansana de la Discòrdia).

The Block of Discord, located in Passeig de Gràcia between calle Aragó and calle Consell de Cent,  features the most famous collection of modernist buildings sharing the same facade in Barcelona.  At number 35 is Casa Lleò Morera, designed by Domènech i Montaner. At number 41 is Casa Amatller, designed by Puig i Cadafalch. Finally, at number 43 is Casa Batlló, a work by Gaudí. The block was so-named after the contrasts between the different architectural trends displayed by the three houses built between 1900 and 1907 by the three rival modernist architects.

Casa Lleò Morera

The project of the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner  lasted until 1906.  The façade and the mezzanine were decorated with different types of ornamentation with repeated allusions to the family's surname Morera (which means mulberry in English) represented through the use of different materials. The creative endeavours of a considerable number of artists and artisans, like sculptors, stained-glass artists and mosaicists, resulted in an ensemble of outstanding quality. The façade is crowned by a tempietto that stands out from the other houses on the street, calling for your attention from afar.

Although guided tours of the building allow you to discover all the secrets of this modernist masterpiece, the Casa Lleò Morera is currently closed for redesigning.

Casa Amatller

The building, originally designed as a residence for chocolatier Antoni Amatller, was constructed between 1898 and 1900.

The amazing  Casa Amatller was a project by Puig i Cadafalch, a contemporary of Gaudí, which combines the neo-Gothic style with a ridged façade inspired by houses in the Netherlands. Give a special attention to the ceramic tiles that highlight the ridged cornice and to the beautiful stained-glass windows of the modernist era. The Casa Amatller is currently offering guided visits daily, from 10am to 6pm (closed on December 25th).

Price: 15€

Casa Batlló

The Casa Batlló, built between 1904 and 1906 in the heart of the Quadrat d'Or, is one of the most emblematic works of Gaudí. The brilliant catalan architect gave Casa Batlló the most original, fantastical and full of imagination facade you can imagine (or maybe, only he could!).

The original facade was replaced with a new composition of stone and glass. The external walls were redesigned to a wavy shape,  and covered with a mosaic of coloured glass and ceramic discs. On the first floor, a long sandstone balcony allows us to look inside the mezzanine, while the other floors have balconies in the shape of masks. At the top of the facade, the roof is in the shape of an dragon’s back with large iridescent scales and  holds a turret crowned by a four-armed cross reminding us of the legend of Saint George.

Inside the Casa Batlló, you can visit the mezzanine, see the ceramic skylight, the double attic space with its sequence of catenary arches, and the rooftop with its colourful mosaiced chimneys.  The visits are held daily, from 9am to 9pm. Nevertheless is best to buy your tickets online for the waiting line to the ticket office is quite long.

Price : 22,5 €

I have not visited the interior of this houses (the very high prices of Barcelona's attractions don't allow it!) but you can check some photos of the amazing interiors on the sites (links on the name of the houses).

1 comment:

  1. Barcelona looks exquisite! I love all the colors and detail of the architecture! will have to add this destination to my bucket list for sure!


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