Barcelona Photoblog: mosaic
Showing posts with label mosaic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mosaic. Show all posts

September 24, 2023

Gaudí's Visionary Architecture: Exploring the Innovative Structural Designs at Casa Batlló in Barcelona

Casa Batlló is one of the most iconic buildings in Barcelona, located on the famous Passeig de Gràcia avenue. Designed by the brilliant architect Antoni Gaudí, Casa Batlló is a masterpiece of Modernist architecture and one of the highlights of Barcelona for both locals and visitors.

The History of Casa Batlló

The building was originally constructed in 1877 by Emilio Sala Cortés as a conventional house in the Eixample district. In 1904, Josep Batlló i Casanovas, a wealthy textile industrialist, acquired the property and commissioned Gaudí to completely remodel and redesign the building. Gaudí worked on Casa Batlló from 1904 to 1906, completely transforming it into the astonishing building we see today.

Gaudí aimed to avoid straight lines and traditional architectural solutions. He redesigned the internal partitions, replaced the floors, staircases and courtyard, and installed lifts to give the building a new facade and roof. The result was a fascinating riot of colors, textures, and forms that represented Gaudí's unique vision and skills.

Casa Batlló has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with several other Gaudí works in Barcelona. It is now open to the public as a museum and receives over 1 million visitors per year who come to admire Gaudí's imaginative designs.

The Exterior Facade

The facade of Casa Batlló is one of its most eye-catching elements. It features a striking mosaic decoration using 'trencadís' - broken ceramic pieces in green, blue and orange which Gaudí obtained from waste scraps from a tile factory. The tiles glitter in the sun and evoke the scales of a mythical creature. The building has been nicknamed "Casa del Drac" (House of the Dragon) because of its reptilian appearance.

The balconies on the facade resemble carnival masks with its irregular oval openings for eyes and buttons and bones shaped in wrought ironwork. The smooth curves are reminiscent of water lilies. Meanwhile, the arched roof is likened to the spine of a dragon. Gaudí used typical Modernist ornamental elements but subverted structural logic to create an oneiric, fantasy-like effect.

At street level, the building appears to be supported by columns that twist as they descend and fan out to anchor the structure. This was an innovative approach by Gaudí to devise new architectural forms and make better use of space.

The Loft and Noble Floor

Entering Casa Batlló, visitors are greeted by the building's famous central skylight staircase, filling the space with natural light. The grand noble floor was designed for receptions and parties by the Batlló family.

Here one finds the main hall with windows overlooking Passeig de Gràcia. The wooden coffered ceiling resembles the ribcage of an animal. The doors are decorated with bone-shaped handles. Various salons lead off the main hall, all featuring Gaudí's signature curves and clever use of light and space.

The loft under the attic roof was originally a service area for the building residents but now houses the museum exhibition. It displays furniture designed by Gaudí for Casa Batlló and explains his architectural approach. The loft has a peaceful, reflective atmosphere with its reduced palette of white and gray.

The Noble Floor and Courtyard

Below the main floor, the noble floor contains the grand rooms used by the Batlló family. The ceilings are spectacular vaulted arches with circular apertures that create intriguing light patterns.

The wooden doors were designed by Gaudí and crafted by cabinetmaker Eudald Puntí. Each one is unique with different ornamental motifs. The handles are also Gaudí's design in various ergonomic shapes for ease of use.

The central patio provides ventilation and natural light inside the building. Gaudí replaced the existing courtyard with his signature catenary arches in brick, topped by a hyperbolic paraboloid roof - one of the few straight lines in Casa Batlló!

The Roof Terrace

One of Casa Batlló's most impressive elements is its roof covered in mosaics creating a color explosion. The roof terrace offers spectacular 360 degree panoramic views over Barcelona. Twenty-six different structures rise from the roof, resembling chimneys or medieval warriors wearing helmets according to different interpretations.

The centerpiece is the tower topped with a four-armed cross, the symbol of Barcelona. Gaudí incorporated allegorical and heraldic elements representing Saint George and the Catalan flag into his design. Mosaic tiles in green, brown and yellow contrast with the bright blue of the Catalan sky.

A feature unique to Casa Batlló is the stone water drainage system formed of conduits following the shape of the roof that Gaudí created. It demonstrates his attention to functional details as well as aesthetics in his visionary architecture.

Gaudí's Vision and Techniques

Casa Batlló demonstrates Gaudí's masterful ability to innovatively re-conceptualize architectural space. Gaudí was given complete freedom by patron Josep Batlló to redesign the building as he saw fit. He focused on eliminating straight lines and planes and creating dynamic, twisting forms resembling shapes found in nature.

Gaudí used complex modeling techniques including plaster, cardboard, ropes and weights to design organically shaped walls, ceilings, doors and windows. These forms allowed him to bring light deep into the inner spaces of the building in innovative ways. He also incorporated symbolism from local history and mythology.

Casa Batlló highlights Gaudí's genius in employing superior craftsmanship and structural engineering to realize his artistic vision. The lower floors required reinforced stone walls to support the open-planned loft space. The interior patio created a light well that ventilated and illuminated the entire building.

Gaudí was deeply knowledgeable about traditional architectural methods of brick vaults and Catalan vaults. At Casa Batlló, he demonstrated his creativity by producing new versions like the hyperboloid and parabolic vaults that curve in novel, unconstructed forms.

Antoni Gaudí was a pioneer in the use of new materials and techniques in architecture. His work at Casa Batlló showcases some of his most innovative ideas.


One of Gaudí's signature techniques is the use of trencadís, a type of mosaic made from broken pieces of ceramic, glass, or stone. This technique can be seen on the façade of Casa Batlló, where Gaudí used colorful ceramic shards to create a vibrant and textured surface. The use of trencadís allowed Gaudí to achieve complex and intricate patterns, adding depth and visual interest to his designs.

Organic Shapes

Gaudí was heavily influenced by nature, and this is evident in the organic shapes and forms found throughout Casa Batlló. The undulating façade, the curved balconies, and the fluid lines of the interior spaces all reflect Gaudí's fascination with the natural world. By incorporating these organic shapes into his designs, Gaudí created a sense of harmony and unity between the building and its surroundings.

Structural Innovations

Gaudí was also a pioneer in the use of innovative structural techniques. In Casa Batlló, he employed the use of catenary arches in the attic, which allowed for a more open and flexible space. These arches, inspired by the shape of a hanging chain, distribute weight evenly and provide excellent structural support.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2005, Casa Batlló was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognizing it as a masterpiece of human creative genius. UNESCO declared it "an outstanding example of Antoni Gaudi's architectural work which brought innovative solutions to structural design and representational architecture."

UNESCO also highlighted Gaudi's technical innovations in Casa Batlló: "The structural solutions offered by Gaudi were unconventional, with a profound understanding of structures grounded on careful analysis and inspired by natural objects and organisms."

As a World Heritage Site, Casa Batlló has enhanced protection to maintain its unique heritage and outstanding value for future generations. Visitors are also educated about its cultural significance.

Visiting Casa Batlló

No trip to Barcelona is complete without visiting the spectacular Casa Batlló, a highlight of the city's architectural treasures. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the ticket office on site.

Casa Batlló is open every day from 9am to 9pm. A standard ticket allows access to the main floor, loft, roof, courtyard and exhibition space. Audio guides are available for an enhanced experience learning about the history and details of this Barcelona icon. Photography is permitted (without flash).

For those short on time, a fast-track ticket allows direct access to the roof terrace via a separate entrance to marvel at the mosaics. Combined tickets with other Barcelona attractions like the nearby Casa Mila are also available.

Visiting Casa Batlló is an opportunity to stand inside a surreal, dreamlike architectural sculpture brought to life. It remains a testament to Gaudí's unparalleled creativity and vision that continues to astonish all who view it.

Casa Batlló, one of the most iconic buildings in Barcelona, is a masterpiece of the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. Located in the heart of the city on Passeig de Gràcia, this architectural gem is a must-visit for anyone interested in Gaudí's work and the Modernisme movement. 

Casa Batlló, the captivating masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí, stands as a symbol of architectural brilliance on Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia. Just as this iconic structure invites exploration, it would be a nice idea to delve into the world of languages to enrich your cultural understanding and better appreciate this and other hallmarks in your trips. Platforms like Tutor Hunt offer opportunities to connect with experienced tutors, allowing you to embark on a linguistic journey alongside appreciating the wonders of Casa Batlló and Gaudi.


December 27, 2012

Mosaic Souvenirs in Barcelona Shops

Mosaic souvenirs in Barcelona

The art of covering different surfaces with tile shards to compose a mosaic is called trencadis and it was widely used by Gaudi and his followers. So far so good. What is it with souvenir shops and 'artists' in Barcelona that tend to evoke such technique by using elements so irrelevant to Catalan culture as flamenco dancers or bulls. This is as ambiguous as pretending that Catalans go around wearing Mexican hats.

October 06, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI Visiting Barcelona in November, 2010

Detail of religious man modernista mosaic at Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona

Maybe some of you still don't know that Pope Benedict XVI will stop in Barcelona next November, 2010 during his two-day stay in Spain.

Yes, His Eminence is visiting us to consecrate Sagrada Familia. As I've said many times, I'm not a religious man although I believe there is something or so says my Facebook profile.

What that field of energy, entity, dimension, realm, plasma, astral world could be is beyond my imagination and I tend to look at it from the heart aka soul.

I studied some philosophy, and believe me, it was kind of materialistic and agnostic. If I try to explain the world according to those teachings, everything is so damn logical! Besides, I believe in science, in the big bang theory, I accept that the universe is not finite with the same innocent faith that many others accept God, that is, I cannot explain it but I accept it.

I also accept Darwin and oppose 'new' creationist theories, specially some conservative people behind them! But,hey, in spite of all that, it would be so great that there is life after death, that you could go to a parallel place somehow. As you grow older it is not strange that you seek some spirituality to find answers, to get some peace of mind.

My spirituality as you see is far from the main stream of religion. In fact, it is nothing but a tiny affluent, but it works for me and so, I live in communion with this universe and beyond. If faith in the unknown makes you happy in this life no matter how absurd its nature is then let's welcome mysticism but beware of blind faith, beware of institutions, of powers, cause that is a creation of man.

Oh, I almost forgot, yes, the Pope is visiting our city. Did you know that besides Sagrada Familia, the visit will include a center called Obra Benefico Social del Nen de Deu and that is about five blocks away from my house! According to a Spanish cardinal 500,000 people will receive Pope Benedict, 30,000 chairs will be placed outside the cathedral and 6,500 will be allowed inside the church...It is not hard to calculate that if Sagrada Familia will be crowded then the scenario in my small Nou Barris quarter is going to be chaotic and apocalyptic.

By the way, the image today is a detail of one of the mosaics on the façade of Sant Pau Hospital near Gaudi's famous cathedral.

December 11, 2008

Mosaic at Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona

Sant Jordi Killing the Dragon, Mosaic at Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau Modernista complex, Barcelona

The Saint Paul hospital (Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau) was projected by Domenech i Montaner in 1901 and the mosaics in particular were designed by Francesc Labarta.

I have written several posts talking about Sant Pau Hospital's history so I think you'd better check the labels below.

The following post was one of the most popular: Modernisme in Hospital de Sant Pau

January 07, 2008

Park Guell, Barcelona - Entrance Tower With Spire And Trencadis Work

Park Guell, Barcelona - Entrance Tower With Spire And Trencadis Work [enlarge]

This is a detail of one of the two towers at the main entrance to Park Guell (Olot street). Both buildings were once the houses of the park's keepers. In the picture you can see a narrow spire crowned by a four armed cross as well as a small mushroom-like cupola with some oriental reminiscence and the peculiar battlement around the edge, an ackward combination you only associate with fairy tales or very wild dreams. Notice the impressive trencadis work of the roof, in other words, the mosaic composition created with irregular shards of tiles omnipresent in Gaudian architecture.

September 30, 2007

Spanish Souvenir: The Bull-Parade

Mosaic bulls in souvenirs shops in Barcelona
This is an all-in-one souvenir, a bull, for bullfighting tradition followers abroad, designed and dressed the cowparade way. The curious thing is that instead of a bull hide this one has trencadis or mosaic in a clear allusion to Gaudi and other art nouveau artists. And the sort of blanket in the way of saddle must be the Spanish flag although it has the same colors as the Catalan flag. So ambiguity eliminates all barriers in order to sell and keep everybody happy. The history of mankind.

July 22, 2007

Mosaic in the Chamber of the 100 Columns, Park Guell, Barcelona

Ceiling mosaic at the 100 Columns hall in Park Güell, Barcelona
Ceiling mosaic at the 100 column hall in Park Guell

This is the second mosaic I show you of those you can admire on the ceiling of the Chamber of the 100 Columns at Park Guell. 

Please read the last post here to know more. And of course, do follow labels to compare to other works by Antoni Gaudi. 

I encourage you to enlarge the picture for a more detailed view of the shape of the fragments, their colors and distribution to make up the final figure.

July 02, 2007

Ceiling Mosaic Inside The Chamber of the 100 Columns, Park Guell, Barcelona Spain

Ceiling Mosaic Inside The Chamber of the 100 Columns, Park Guell, Barcelona Spain
Trencadis ceiling at the 100 Columns Hall in Park Guell

Not the first time Barcelona Photoblog visits Park Guell in Barcelona to show you the impressive work of Gaudi.

We have dealt with mosaic work recently, we mentioned the trencadis technique but we needed some more examples where the degree of improvisation and nature leitmotifs were more evident. Such is the case of this ceiling mosaic inside The Chamber of the 100 Columns including not only tiles but fragments of cups and dishes among other materials to make up something that recalls a flower.

Please follow labels for previous posts.

June 28, 2007

Mosaic Work Called Trencadis by Gaudi at Park Guell

Mosaic Work Called Trencadis by Gaudi at Park Guell

A closeup of a serpentine bench adorned with mosaic work known as trencadis at Park Guell, Barcelona.

Trencadis, the technique that consists in breaking tiles of different patterns and different shapes to compose a single mosaic was constantly used by Antoni Gaudi and his followers. This particular shard with numbers on it reminds me of notations made by master masons or stone cutters on ancient walls.

June 26, 2007

Guell Crypt: Caprice Supreme of Architecture

Guell Crypt Modernist Ceiling by Gaudi

A supreme caprice of architecture: the art nouveau or modernist ceiling at the entrance to the crypt in Colonia Guell by Antoni Gaudi, who had been commissioned by Eusebi Güell the prosperous catalan businessman. Robert Hughes, art critic for Time, recently said he hates Sagrada Familia but loves Colonia Guell, the place where the crypt is. Of course we can object to that if we get carried out by the grandeur of the cathedral. Besides, experts see what we cannot see, no wonder they've been studying for years, although what we understand by art is a concept of man and not a law of nature so no one has the final truth. Anyway, it was about time someone cast a shadow of doubt over stereotypes concerning our city. I suggest you read the book by Robert Hughes: Barcelona. Here is a previous post about the Crypt at Guell Colony.

June 10, 2007

Mosaic Serpentine Benches: A Landmark of Barcelona

Mosaic serpentine benches using trencadis technique in Park Guell by Gaudi
Serpentine bench with Trencadis mosaic technique by Gaudi

This is I believe the third picture where I show serpentine benches by Gaudi located at Park Guell in Barcelona. 

These mosaic or trencadis-made wonders of architecture and design look specially attractive under the last rays of the sun. Although I am used to watching them I always enjoy them as much as this tourist lost in his own thoughts through the viewfinder of his camera.

May 15, 2007

Mosaic Wall Signs at Park Guell. Why Park?

Parc Guell: Serpentine Bench

Although on looking at the thumbnail (some of you come through the City Daily Photo Blog portal or directly searching for Barcelona pictures in Google images) you might think these are a couple of hand wrist Swatch watches nothing could be further from the truth. These are the two mosaics found on the wall at the entrance of Park Guell, which were made following the trencadis technique used by Antoni Gaudi. For English speakers the name is completely normal but it is odd for us that it reads Park and not parc (Cat.) or parque (Sp.). Why "Park"? Basically because the place was initially conceived to be a sort of city on the lap of the mountain based upon the Garden City model by British inventor, Ebenezer Howard, who impressed by a futuristic novel published in 1888 and some other preceding works created his own Utopian plan about a garden city, a new home for an idyllic society that would make a better world. Remember that Gaudi and his art patron Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi were very influenced by the modern ideas of those times, coming from Europe and the United States, and besides, they were very religious men. About the image, I should say they were taken on a dull weather day and are not especially my favorite, in fact, I think the idea of mixing both words in one is not new but they surely have helped me make my point about the origin of the name.

May 03, 2007

Colonia Guell: Windows - A Futurist Vista

Colonia Guell Crypt: Windows - A Futuristic Vista

These windows with futurist design at the crypt in Colonia Guell, Barcelona are more credible in a manga film, an avant-garde video game or a scifi illustration than drawn from the mind of a visionary architect in the XIX century. Gaudi in his constant search for perfection, beauty, divine inspiration and architectural challenges came out with these sort of armored skylights to absorb as much natural light as possible. The impossible lines of the building, the innovative stained glass work inspired in natural themes, the odd shape of the windows confirm the wonderful, almost supernatural, futurist vista of Gaudian architecture.

April 17, 2007

Modernist Door and Mosaic at Crypt in Colonia Guell

Modernist Door and Mosaic at Crypt in Colonia Guell

So this is the entrance to the crypt in Colonia Guell, the textile complex property of Eusebi Güell. The gates to the sanctuary: a big metal door topped by an elaborate mosaic created using the trencadis technique, that consists of breaking tiles in small shards to compose an image which in this case portraits the Holy Trinity. I gave you enough detail yesterday so if you came here directly check previous post. Both Eusebio Güell and Gaudi were religious men who also had a passion for architecture, in different ways of course. In the case of the Catalan empresario it was more the will to immortalize his name and legacy. As the mosaic is the most remarkable piece in this composition I will show you a detail too.

March 10, 2007

The Pillars of Catalan Art Nouveau or Modernisme, Palau de la Musica, Barcelona

Mosaic Covered Pillars or columns at Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona by Domenech i Montaner

The Palau de la Música Catalana built by Lluís Domènech i Montaner between 1905 and 1908 and declared a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO in 1997 is considered one of the pillars of Catalan Art Nouveau or Modernisme.

In times of industrial expansion, growth of the local bourgeoisie and increasing opposition to Castilian rule a movement of artistic revival or Renaixença comes to life.

An intellectual and cultural development expressed in music, poetry, theatre, newspapers, visual arts, politics or architecture known as modernisme appears.

This sort of "anxiety" about being modern, inspired by France and other European cultural powers, became a generational fight to detach from the conservative society still anchored in the imposed manners of the early eighteenth century Bourbon dynasty.

By the way, many of you already know that it is almost impossible to frame this façade properly as the Palau is surrounded by narrow streets like Sant Pere Mes Alt  thus the odd angle.

If you manage to climb on top of the neighboring buildings and take a good picture just let me know how you did it!

February 09, 2007

Barcelona Cultural Heritage Vandalized

Barcelona Cultural Heritage Vandalized
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In yesterday's post I advanced the news published in El Periódico de Catalunya about the criminal acts against Barcelona's cultural heritage. I am talking about the important damage inflicted on one of the main symbols of Gaudi's legacy: The Lizard or Dragon fountain in Park Güell. There are larger pictures in this article via 20Minutos newspaper to compare with this snapshot from my archives. What are we going to show our kids? What goes wrong with society to breed such monsters? Do you think hitting with an iron bar on a beautiful thing is human?. This is not a mere incident, this is a consequence of our own mistakes. Shall we burn that hooligan in hell or shall we teach this kid before it is too late?

January 02, 2007

Gaudi Window Fantasy in Park Guell

Gaudi Window Fantasy in Park Guell
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Some "insignificant" details in Gaudi's architecture are difficult to accomodate within the context of his time, take for example this whimsical window that looks torn out of its frame, right at the entrance of Park Güell.

January 01, 2007

Gaudi Animals: Snakes in Park Guell

Gaudi Animals: Snakes in Park Guell
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This is my first 2007 post so who better than Gaudi to emphasize the whole idea of Barcelona Photoblog. A new year of daily pictures begins. In ten months I have known fantastic fellow bloggers all over the world, I have had moments of joy and sadness, days with lots of visitors and days with almost none, but above all I have enjoyed a new experience which is promoting Barcelona through my photographs, rediscovering my own city thanks to your interest, your time and your rewarding visits. Thank you very much, best wishes and Happy 2007!

December 24, 2006

Park Güell: Chocolate, Candy and Marzipan

White Roof House,Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain by Carlos Lorenzo

Remember Hansel and Gretel story where two kids find a house in the woods made of chocolate, candy and marzipan, well maybe you imagined something like this. I don't think Brothers Grimm were alive to see this masterpiece of Catalan modernisme so I guess Gaudi read a lot of fairy tales. 

One of the major works of Gaudí in Barcelona, Park Güell is a public park made of gardens and architectonic elements like this beautiful house with an incredible roof made using the trencadis technique, that consists in breaking tiles to compose a mosaic. As usual Gaudi went beyond many architects of his time and of generations to come. 

December 23, 2006

Gaudi's Lizard at Park Guell, Barcelona

Gaudi's Lizard at Park Guell, Barcelona
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Resuming my visit to Park Güell, and browsing my pictures I found this closeup of Gaudi's lizard with a beautiful tourist in the background. I guess I could have entitled the post as the Beast and the Beauty but I prefer better keywords in my headings. The reason I came this close is simple, the monster (looks like the Big White in famous Jaws jumping out of the water) is so "photo trodden" that you can't hardly take anyone by surprise. From here I would like to thank my anonymous model for her casual appearance in the image.

Recommended: A new tool to search for amazon products called Amaznode. I am not promoting anything here but it called my attention for its innovative performance. Say for example you look up "Gaudi" in the books section, a whole bunch of interconnected thumbs with the book covers in 3d appearance start multiplying in front of your face.

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