A unique façade
Casa Batlló is a proclamation of joy, a canvas of marine inspiration, a dream world that evokes nature and fantasy.
Its façade is the doorway to this symbolic universe, filling the beholder with feelings that are set against a backdrop of continuous dialogue with light and colour. Its spectacular nature is sure to impress all those who behold it, inducing passers-by to contemplate it at any time of the day.
Freedom and boldness
Gaudí gave Casa Batlló a unique façade, full of imagination, thanks to his work as a free and joyful artist. He thus created an exuberant and marine-inspired façade, adding involuntary sculptures, recycled materials and decontextualised objects, converting them into art.
The effect of its corrugated surface is particularly noteworthy, where stone, glass and ceramics take centre stage. When the façade is illuminated by the first light of the day, it is brought to life by a unique glow and sparkle, and by a harmonic and balanced motion, as if it were a living element of the urban landscape. Light and colour are brought together, taking you on a journey through the sea, beauty and joy.
On the ground, noble and first floors, the façade incorporates slender stone columns in the shape of bones, decorated with characteristically modernist floral elements.
Conversely, the balcony railings take the shape of masks. They are made from a single piece of cast iron and attached by two anchor points, meaning that a part of them is protruding.
On the Noble Floor, Gaudí included a huge gallery (to see and be seen), which protrudes several metres over Paseo de Gracia. He also added large oval-shaped feature windows.
The building is crowned with a spectacular roof composed of large scales, which resemble an animal’s back. The upper part is formed by large spherical components, with colours that change from one end to the other.
A cross with four arms pointing north, south, east and west rises from the roof’s other main element, a tower.
The crown of the façade, which is similar to a dragon’s back, along with the four-armed cross (representing the handle of a sword), have led to popular interpretations revolving around the legend of Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia. Legend has it that Saint George killed the dragon with his sword to save the princess and the people from the animal’s wrath. Based on this interpretation, the roof’s design symbolises a sword embedded in the dragon, and the bone-shaped columns commemorate its victims. In fact, throughout history, Casa Batlló has been known as the house of bones or the house of the dragon.
Others interpret it as an aquatic landscape, evoking Monet’s series of oil paintings, The Water Lilies, as a result of the colourful coating of ceramic glaze and fragments of broken glass. Another genius, Salvador Dalí, agrees with this marine interpretation:
“Gaudí drew inspiration for the house from the shapes of the sea, representing waves on a calm day. A true sculpture of the reflection of the twilight clouds on the water, from which shapes of extensive water emerge, shapes of water that stretches out, shapes of still water, shapes of shimmering water and shapes of water ripples caused by the wind.”
Gaudí himself never explained his work and he worked on the façade from the outside, without specific plans, something which was characteristic of his work. Consequently, he created a house full of symbols, fantastic imagery, a canvas that explains a virtually indecipherable story, to be completed by each individual with their own imagination.