Batllˇ, in the ICU
buildings and coats them with a second skin of grime. This
is what has happened to Casa Batllˇ, on Passeig de GrÓcia.
A holistic rehabilitation will recover the original luminous
appearance it had in 1906, when GaudÝ created it.
Scaffolding will cover the facade of the building throughout
the month-long restoration project.
Barcelona.- Casa Batllˇ, Antoni GaudÝ's
most colorful building, will be covered with scaffolding
for one month. Seguros Iberia, the company owned by the
Bernat family, which in turn owns this edifice, found loose
stones on the facade and areas of the trencadÝs (ceramic
fragments) that were starting to fade. There was also danger
of detachments that could affect passersby. The Barcelona
City Council and the Government of Catalonia have both approved
the holistic rehabilitation plan covering the main facade,
the roof, the central skylight and the ventilation towers.
Seguros Iberia requested a works permit from the Commission
on Urban Planning and Infrastructure on July 21, 1999. The
work was required to begin within one year from that date;
the work is allowed to last up to one year.
The objective of this operation, according
to the spokesperson of Seguros Iberia, is "to recover the
work of GaudÝ in its original condition, which had been
lost due to the grime caused by pollution." The scaffolding
was installed throughout the last week. Rehabilitation work
begins on Monday. Because of the property's unique nature,
the work will be monitored by the architectural heritage
department of the city council. The work will be accelerated,
with several shifts every day. It will be finished in one
month. The stone from Montju´c, blackened by grime, will
be cleaned with a moisture-proofing system, with water.
The windows and other damaged elements will be repaired
and painted with the original green-gray color chosen by
GaudÝ. Faded ceramic fragments will be replaced, as will
glass that has been broken. The iron railings will also
be restored. Lighting will be improved.
Casa Batllˇ was built between 1904 and 1906,
commissioned by textile magnate Josep Batllˇ. It was built
before Casa MilÓ, "La Pedrera." In reality, GaudÝ designed
the facade for an existing building located next to Casa
Amatller, designed by his colleague, Puig i Cadafalch. He
matched the height of the neighboring building. GaudÝ had
the facade of Casa Batllˇ removed from the second floor
up and propped up the rest in a very complex operation that
he solved easily. According to the testimony of the contractor
Josep Bayˇ, recorded by Joan Bassegoda Nonell, GaudÝ directed
the workers from the sidewalk of the Passeig de GrÓcia.
He ordered them to pick pieces of different colors and textures
from baskets, and gave them instructions on how to place
them, forming different hues.
This little house, squeezed in between two
others, owes its uniqueness to the contrast between the
stone from Montju´c, which forms curls and undulations that
were sculpted by hand, and the cheerful ceramics it is coated
with. The pink, green and blue colors reflect the morning
sunlight. GaudÝ designed mask-shaped rails and a main balcony
that includes a series of small columns. At first, the house
was nicknamed casa de los huesos (house of bones), alluding
to the columns, although others call it the dragon house,
because the ceramics on the facade are reminiscent of the
scales of the mythological creature. In addition, there
is a dragon crafted from glass and tiles hidden on the roof,
behind the undulations of the facade.
El Periˇdico de Catalunya