3 April 2016

Casa Battlò or Casa Milà? The Gaudí Debate

For the past two months, each time I walked through Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona city centre, I looked up to Casa Battlò and Casa Milà or (La Pedrera) with admiration and sighed. I wanted to visit both, but unconsciously indulged by leaving my visit to later on. The wait was worth it as I enjoyed going to visit these two incredible buildings with my best friend from home who came to visit me a few weeks ago (as opposed to going by myself on my first weeks here!). After our visits though I still wasn't completely sure of which one impressed me the most... Casa Battlò or Casa Milà? Well. If you're going to visit these any time soon, you'd better keep reading ;) 
Like most of Gaudí's art structures, these art buildings aren't exactly the 'serious' types of museums and are quite a fun visit. I didn't get the boring type of feeling you get at the end of museums visits, if you know what I mean. I love museums, but we all get that sometimes! 

Here are the things that I liked and disliked about the two buildings. You'll find out the winner at the end of the post! (Of course, this is a fun type of post, so don't take my opinion too seriously :P). 

What impressed me about Casa Battlò :) 
- The external façade of the house! This is one of the art bits that I immediately noticed about the city. It's so original, with its blueish and greenish mosaic tiles and little iron terraces that remind of human and animal faces;
- The main artistic motiv behind the house is the reproduction of the sea and sea forms of life (algae, tortoises, fish, the main colours being blue, green and white);
- The story behind it: the house was bought by a bourgeoise family of textile industrials, the Battlò, in 1900. Josep Battlò, the owner, wanted an original renovation and ran a risk commissioning it to the innovative architect of Parc Güell, Gaudí, but it did turn into a success;
- The beautiful lighting inside: from the living room, to the staircase, to the blue vertical gap that crosses the house, most of the building has a fresh feeling to it conveyed by its strong brightness.

What disappointed me about Casa Battlò :(
- The audioguide. At first my friend and I were impressed, but we soon realised that it wasn't great at all. At the entrance you are given headphones attached to a little screen device that shows you what the rooms would have looked like at the time. Within a few minutes of guided tour, most people looked like passive robots following the instructions given to them by the audio / images and didn't even absorbe the precious atmosphere around them or actually looked at the building itself;
- The rooftop, which is introduced in the audio guide as the 'best bit of the building', isn't looked after very well and doesn't have the best view. In fact, the view is much more impressive from the big living room where you can see the Avenue from a different perspective.

What impressed me about Casa Milà :) 
- The inner courtyard looks stunning, with the movement of the walls being so original and different and the open roof looking to the sky;
- Inside, the rooms are furbished like they would have been at the time, creating a realistic look (my favourites are always the kitchen and the bedrooms, but the house included laundry, the bathroom and many more!); 
- The rooftop is more beautiful than the Casa Battlò one. We could watch the sunset there and it looked so nice :)
- The audioguides were much easier to follow than in Casa Battlò, as they consisted of a classical phone-type of guide and no visual material.

What disappointed me about Casa Milà :(
- The explanations of the audio guide were too long, especially in the first area where the explanations on a single floor were something like 20! 
- The house interiors aren't as original as Casa Battlò. But this isn't a very negative point!

After comparing these twoamazing artworks like a primary school child (which was fun and surely a lot easier to follow!), to me the winner is... 
Casa Battlò!

Because even though La Pedrera is amazing, Casa Battlò is unique, the one I first fell in love with. However, if you go to Barcelona make sure you visit both because they are both super duper worth seeing. My comparison is just a joke!

Do you prefer the Casa Battlò or the Casa Milà? What did you like and dislike about them? 

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