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Casa Batllo

The colorful Casa Batllˇ (Batllˇ House) is an apartment building located at No. 43 Passeig de GrÓcia in Barcelona. It was totally renovated by GaudÝ from 1904 to 1906 on a commission from the textile industrialist Josep Batllˇ i Casaanovas. Along with two Modernista works, the Casa Amatller by Puig i Cadafalch (1900) and the Casa Lleˇ Morera by DomŔnech i Montaner (1905), the Casa Batllˇ makes up the Manšana de la Disc˛rdia (Block of Discord), an allusion to the mythological Judgment of Paris.

One of the architect's most complete works, Casa Batllˇ reflects an intense yet abstract naturalism. Decorated with polychrome ceramics of both brilliant and subtle colors, it produces an indefinable sensation of lightness in spite of the profusion of forms and motifs. At the first floor level of the undulating facade is a striking stone structure in the form of a loggia (roofed open gallery) supported by columns that frame windows decorated with stained glass. The ceramics and multi-colored glass mosaics of the upper part are interrupted by aggressive iron balconies in the form of masks.

Crowning the whole is a suggestive tile roof over double garrets which evokes the back of a fantastic dragon. Also on the roof is a round tower with a floral dome topped with a four-branched cross, one of GaudÝ's favorite motifs, behind which stand the colorful sculpted chimneys with their allusions to sturdy guardians.

The interior impresses as well. An splendid hall stands at the entrance with winding stairs and attractively designed windows which are cast with changing blue tones according to the graduated colors of the ceramic tiles. The first floor was decorated by GaudÝ who created some of his best interior design pieces for it in magnificently built fireplaces, wooden floors, furniture, stained glass, and wrought iron elements.

Text kindly provided by Jonathan D. Meltzer from his excellent Gaudi Central website.

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