July 5, 2012

0269 SPAIN (Catalonia) - Casa Milà - part of Works of Antoni Gaudí (UNESCO WHS)

In 1905, when began the construction of Casa Milà, known later as La Pedrera (The Quarry), Gaudí not finished yet the restoring of Casa Batlló, located on the same vital artery of Barcelona, Passeig de Gràcia. Besides, it will be the final residential building erected by Catalan architect, the last 15 years of his life dedicating them exclusively to Sagrada Família. Completion of both houses was marked by tragic personal events, in 1906 dying his father, and in 1912 his niece, the closest people in his life, with whom she lived in the house in Park Güell.

Built for Pere Milà, a dandy of Modernista Barcelona married to Rosario Segimón, the widow of very wealthy José Guardiola, Casa Milà isn't "a simple residential building, but a complete work that ventured from architecture into the realm of sculpture. The façade, influenced by the early international Art Nouveau movement, is clad in limestone blocks that were rough-hewn to achieve a matte finish, forming characteristic curved volumes and sinuous arabesques that recall a sea cliff with cave dwellings marked by evocatively shaped wrought iron balconies.

The lower part of the façade is built with stone from the Garraf Massif and the upper part with stone from Vilafranca del Penedès, both south of Barcelona." On the top floor of the building is the attic, built in brick, which now houses the Gaudí Space, but originally housed the washrooms. The plan is a figure of eight, and it has 270 catenary arches, which seem to be the ribs of an fabulous animal. From here, there is access to the roof terrace, on which have been mantained Gaudí’s original chimneys (known as espanta bruixes, that means witch scarers), with the stairwells, clad with fragments of marble and trencadís of Valencia tiles.

Though the overall colour is cream, this area is more coloured than the grey-white façade. In the early 1980s, it was in a deplorable state, with the façade painted in a dark brown colour, the frescoes in the foyer seriously damaged, and main floor transformed into a bingo hall. Since 1986, the Caixa Catalunya invested more than 48 million euros in its restoration. Today, visitors have access to the main floor, the attic, the terrace, and a sample apartment equipped with period furniture. The rest is inhabited by the people who sat on the 20-year waiting list for an apartment, as well as several offices of Caixa Catalunya.

Casa Milà is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, as part of the Works of Antoni Gaudí, about which I wrote here.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the traditional Christmas series, issued on November 3, 2008, which comprises two values:
• The Misterio-Belen del Principe (0.31 EUR) - It's on the postcard 0269
• The painting Maternidad (Maternity) by J. Carrero (0.60 EUR)

The second one is part of a series depicting lighthouses, about wich I wrote here.

Casa Milà - Wikipedia
Casa Milà - Ruta del Modernisme
La Pedrera - gaudiclub.com
Works of Antoni Gaudí - UNESCO website

Sender: Fabienne (direct swap)
Sent from Madrid (Madrid / Spain), on 15.02.2012

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