Casa Milá, a place full of intrigue and disputes, but still filled with a remarkable beauty in the city of Barcelona!
Back in 1900, Passeig de Gràcia was already the most important Avenue in Barcelona. This success was accompanied by the construction of the most fantastic and luxurious houses of that time. These houses were the 20th Century Trump Towers, built with expensive materials, mixing shapes, and above all designed by the most renowned architects of the moment: Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Lluís Domènech i Muntaner, and last but less than least our beloved Antoni Gaudi.
Mr. and Mrs. Milà were part of this bourgeoisie, he was a businessman and later on, became a politician and she was a widow with an important fortune inherited from his previous marriage. They got married in 1905 and they joined a massive amount of money to begin with their projects especially the house. They bought a parcel in Passeig de Gràcia and contacted Antoni Gaudi, who was on fire at the time, with so many pieces of art in his resume: Casa Batlló, Palau Güell, the Güell Colony and the list goes on.
To understand a bit what happened, I must explain first that Gaudi was a very peculiar person, like most geniuses. He was feeling everytime the impact of nature on a daily basis, the shapes without straight lines, he got inspired by plants and their shapes to build different parts of the house and so on… his mind was different from the regular IQ at the time.
Why do I say this out of the blue?
Because of this way of thinking he changed the construction plans a few times and this fact made the process longer and way more expensive than the initial project. For this reason, The Milà´s were not very pleased with Gaudi´s methods and even went to court because of the exceeded budget. Also, the building was “illegal”, the rooftop exceeded the maximum height and there was even a column that interrupted part of the sidewalk and all of it was against the City Hall Regulations.
Since the architectural importance of the building, the Eixample Commission determined the building was not obliged to follow these regulations, but even though the Mila´s had to pay a fine of 100 000 pesetas, which nowadays will be 16355€, considering the exchange from pesetas to euros and the inflation of the euro during the time.
As you can see it’s a lot of money for a fine and the Milà´s didn´t have this contemplated in their budget. Adding to the tragedy, the family had to put a mortgage on the house to pay Gaudi´s honoraries which escalated to 17144,31€. Gaudi, besides being a true genius, was a philanthropist and this salary he perceived for his work in Casa Milà was donated to the charity to a Convent.
Few important people back in the era lived in Casa Milà in the beginning and later on Roser Segimon (Mrs. Milà) sold the house to a Real Estate Business, but she lived there until her last days as a widow.
Fun fact about Casa Milà:
The project we adore nowadays was not nicely welcomed in that moment, because of the looks, people started to call it “La Pedrera” because of the way it looked as a stone quarry, actually there are some people who just know it for this name instead of the original Casa Milà.
Since “La Pedrera” is one of the most important attractions in Barcelona and it has significant architectural importance and In 1984 it was declared Unesco Heritage, it was restored, and then in 1996 open to the public such as tourists in Barcelona.
Now it has different uses, starting from the touristic and ending with the Real Estate rental of spaces. Also, and as a curiosity, there are still people living there.
If all these seemed interesting and remarkable for you, join us in our tour and you can learn more about it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I did sharing with you the things I´ve learned!
See you in my next post!