Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Casa Milà and MACBA
I have escaped rainy Stockholm for sunny Barcelona for a few days. Two of my favourite buildings in this fantastic city is Casa Milà and the MACBA (Museo d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona). Their expressions could hardly be more different and still they are both so representative for Barcelona. Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) belonged to the Modernisme (Art Nouveau) movement and was famous for his unique style and highly individualistic designs. He understood architecture as a complete art form and extended his creativity to every detail of his work, from balustrades to door knobs. He was commissioned to build Casa Milà (or La Pedrera which means stone quarry) for the industrialist Pere Milà and his family and the building was completed in 1912. It can be considered more of a sculpture than a regular building. The most astonishing part is the roof with an almost dreamlike landscape of different organic shapes. I can't decide if I think it's beautiful or ugly but it's a really amazing feeling to walk around there surrounded by the funny sculptures. The Barcelonese of the time regarded it weird , hence the "quarry" nickname, but today it is a landmark of Barcelona. The MACBA I have no mixed emotions about at all! This is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in. It is part of a project designed to open up the scruffy back lands off La Rambla and opened to the public in 1995. During the run-up to the Olympics, prominent architects were hired for work in Barcelona and American architect Richard Meier was commissioned to design the gallery and plaza. Meier is influenced by mid-20th architects, especially Le Corbusier. Critics have said that he has built more using Le Corbusier’s ideas than anyone, including Le Corbusier himself. The museum is a well-known spot for skateboarders and often featured in skateboard videos.