Let me conclude our visit to Gaudí’s most wildly fantastic yet sensible design with a few last impressions.
Before looking at chimney pots and dragon spines, I would like to take a closer look at the staircase landings, which provide access to two apartments per floor, and to the elevator, while also communicating with the air- or light shaft. Fortunately, I stumbled across some architectural drawings and models in the attic of Casa Milà, the last one of Gaudí’s residential masterpieces.
This is a photo of the cross-sectional drawing of Casa Batlló, into which I added some annotations to highlight the position of the staircase column within the enlarged light shaft.
The mid-sectional model might also help to illustrate these core structures of Casa Batlló.
There are four floors with two apartments each above the Planta Noble and the attention given to every detail of the finishes and appointment in these public spaces leading to Casa Batlló’s secondary or rental residences above the family apartment is remarkable.
There is a wooden backdrop behind the wood and forged iron handrail accompanying the stairs, which is continued past the outside banister and past the apartment door to the glass balcony screen of each landing.
Between the two apartment doors on each floor is a chest-hight swirly glass privacy screen alongside the light shaft.
Here’s another view.
If you look up over the glass partition toward the light shaft ceiling, you see a tile mosaic in a harlequin pattern, both to the front and the rear of the staircase.
The tiles cladding the light shaft are darker in hue toward the top of the building to balance the decreased light intensity toward the lower floors.
The brass door handles and window pulls Gaudí used in his buildings are another exceptional work product. He shaped clay models until it felt right in his hand, which were then cast in metal. They’re extraordinary in their ergonomic fit to a human hand and are also plain gorgeous.
The woodwork throughout the building has been flawlessly restored. Window- and door frames, banisters, and paneling are in great condition. How much per year on maintenance? Only the owner’s CPA knows!
One more, well, actually two more design details warrant our attention and appreciation. Firstly, the playful and detailed execution of the wrought iron and wood finishes on the handrails. This is a staircase leading up to some rental apartments, yet every tiny component is executed just as meticulously as down on the owner’s floor.
And lastly, have you noticed that the wall finishes show the same trencadís pattern as we have seen in the main family apartment? In this house, no corner or baseboard was unimportant, no expense was spared.
A trip to the attic and the rooftop is something not to be missed at Casa Batlló. In contrast to the usual Victorian area servants quarters, these were pretty well appointed. Gaudí’s parabolic architecture deploying catenary arches certainly helped in creating pleasant spaces for the domestic workers in the Batlló household.
At the end of this hallway, a spiral staircase takes us to the roof terrace
Not surprisingly, the center post of these stairs is decorated with the same tiles as we’ve seen on the attic floors. Almost the same! Can you see the difference?
Following the spiral staircase to heaven, we finally step out on the much-lauded roof space and its famed chimney pots,
hiding behind the back of the dragon undulating along the street front of Casa Batlló to everybody’s delight who happens to be walking along Passeig de Grácia.
I haven’t forgotten to show you the inside of the colorfully be-flowered top curve of the roof with its vertical bars. This is that inside view at lofty heights, blending in with the cloud pattern floating at a perceived touching distance.
To finish my Casa Batlló report, I chose the picture of another model I saw in the attic of La Milà, also called La Pedrera. It shows a side-by-side comparison of the original building commissioned by Lluís Sala Sánchez and the Batlló family home into which it was transformed almost 30 years later – by the same architect, Antoni Gaudí i Cornet.