La Pedrera


La Pedrera, Gaudi, 1906-12

La Pedrera – the quarry – is the popular name for Casa Mila, an apartment block commissioned by Roser Segimon and Pere Mila, who lived on the piano nobile and rented out the upper floors to tenants – and, eventually, the ground floor to commerce (generally reluctant to set up shop in such an avant garde building).

It’s wave-like with its balconies of seaweed and fishing nets. It’s post and lintel construction, so the flowing walls aren’t load-bearing. Inside, the apartments are toned-down Gaudi but still undulating and fluid. There are two courtyards within the building which funnel light and air into the rooms.

The roof is astonishing. The chimneys are meringues crossed with Star Wars:


and I have discovered the charms of a forest of chimney cowls made from smashed champagne bottles:


I was entertained to hear that Mrs Mila – like Mrs Bassett-Lowke – wasn’t too keen on Gaudi’s designs and changed the apartment back to conventional appearances as soon as she decently could.

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