When visiting Barcelona, after eating paella and window shopping, what’s likely on your to-do list is visiting the architectural artworks designed by Antoni Gaudi. Well, you can now add another one of his buildings to a string of must see masterpieces. Casa Vicens, the first building Gaudi ever designed is opening as a museum in autumn 2017 after 130 years of private ownership.
Gaudi was born in 1852 and at the age of 31 was commissioned to build Casa Vicens. The house which stands in the neighbourhood of Garcia is one of the eight Gaudi buildings to be named world heritage sites in Barcelona.
The checked patterned house stands in contrast to most of Gaudi’s following work. Later buildings like the Sagrada Familia and the Casa Calvet, also in Barcelona, boast more curvature in their design. Casa Vicens is different in that it is known for its strong line work. Despite his change in structuring, the building’s website claims that Gaudi’s strong sense of creativity, which he is known for, was evident in this work.
Since it’s construction between 1883 and 1885 Casa Vicens has been under private ownership, first as a summer home, and then as a permanent residence. Gaudi’s original work on the house is still intact although it nearly doubled in size when extensions were added in 1925. A restoration project has been taking place over the last two years in preparation for the house’s public opening. While the 1925 renovations have been modified Gaudi’s original work is left intact with his beautiful ceramic detailings being restored for everyone to see.
Gaudi’s buildings were done in the Moorish style, a combination of Muslim and Christian influences. His work largely incorporated elements of religion and nature, drawing inspiration from the environments colours and shapes. Gaudi is also known for strategically building his works to maximize the environment they are in. When Casa Vicens was built it was done so in a way to optimize light and to get the best out of the weather conditions in the area. Through his imaginative designs Gaudi has become well known as being a part of the beginning of art nouveau (modernism) in Spain.