Discovering Gaudi in Barcelona
I found an old love in Barcelona. I stumbled upon him with my 7-year-old daughter outside Le Pedrera, “that apartment building you really want to go see Mom with the long line.”
It was my daughter who prompted the encounter. It was our Mommy Daughter Day, one of those days during our year living abroad when my husband and I split up and each took a daughter to explore. She suggested we return to Le Pedrera and brave the line. (She has this canny sense of reading facial expressions, and she knew I was disappointed the afternoon before when we decided to pass by Le Pedrera, the line and our tired family conspiring against my heart’s desire.)
So it was standing there on the sidewalk the next morning, catching my reflection in the intricate iron front door, that I rediscovered my love of Gaudi. Years of mothering and living in a small college town had buried my love of architecture and here in Gaudi’s hometown of Barcelona it was delightfully found.
Living in Art
I appreciate that Gaudi created art in the everyday. Attics, balconies and rooftops were considered just as important as the front facade. His art and architecture are full of creativity, patterns from nature, brilliant colors and natural light.
I imagined living at La Pedrera, an apartment building he renovated in 1906. How stimulating to be inside his art day after day. My daughter and I delighted in touring the attics, the rafters like the ribs of a whale, and the rooftop with its stern, modern sentinels hiding the stairwells and chimneys. The curved walls and tiled floors in the apartments were unexpected and extraordinary, and an atrium brings light and art into the interior windows of the apartments.
I’ve decided to be an architect in my next life—well, perhaps the life after I'm a published author—and I have my 7-year-old’s thoughtfulness to thank for it. I returned the favor with gelato after our tour, and we sat on a bench outside La Pedrera with our cones, relishing our loves.
TO GO La Pedrera, which is Catalan for “The Quarry” is also known as Casa Milà. It is located at Passeig de Gràcia, 92 in the Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain. Hours are 10am to 8pm every day. Find more specific directions and information for La Pedrera here. For a wonderful guide to Gaudi and La Pedrera, see many great photos at Great Buildings.