The unusual and intricate building along a street of discord that is reminiscent of a dragon is called Casa Batlló, a structure designed by Antoni Gaudí and constructed from 1905 to 1907 in Barcelona, Spain. The interest in this piece that made it of notice in architecture is mostly for its air of fantasy, extraordinary curving facade incorporated with engaged and decorative columns, and inspiring brilliantly colored mosaic walls throughout the building made simply to be categorized as an apartment building.
The man behind the unusual design of Casa Ballto is Antonio Gaudi, born in Reus, Spain in 1852. The Spanish architect’s work was most classified in the modernismo period and even into that of the Art Nouveau style of the 19th century. Casa Ballto and its counter part Casa Mila are late examples of Gaudi’s commercial design beginning construction in 1905. The building itself is still in the same condition as it was the day it was finished and it a popular tourist attraction in the city of Barcelona, Spain. Tours are given of the main floor, Piano Nobile, where the Ballto family who owned the aristocratic apartment lived and the attic terrace on the roof where the chimneys and elaborate roof is located.
When brought up in conversation, the most elaborate and recognizable part of the building of Casa Batllo would have to be the front Façade seen from the streets of Barcelona. The pillars and balconies are depicted to many as having a bone like appearance leading to its nickname of the “House of Bones”, sometimes it is also described like teeth of some yawning beast as well. Stain glass windows and Catalan style mosaic tiles adorn the front of the structure as well adding to the fantasy aspect of the building genre and making it all the more appealing to come up to, especially in the sunlight. It is thought that the inspiration for this idea came from marine life, especially when talking about colors of natural coral. The front façade of Casa Batllo has a very contrasting designs as opposed to its sister design, Casa Mila which is smoother and more stone like appearance with beige monochromatic colors. Continuing through the building, Casa Batllo does not disappoint on the interior in comparison to the exterior front façade, the theme of irregular shapes and curves is continued in the doorways, hallways, stairwells, and ceilings as the building builds from its base to its peak. Great attention to detailed was paid throughout the building from the wooden curving doorways to the designed to be in it to the fireplace that looks like it was carved right out of the wall. More mosaic accents mimicked from the outside are brought inside as well to continue with the colorful theme of the apartment. The final and more ostentatious part of the building would have to be the rooftop terrace. The rooftop itself continues the curving hill like pattern adorned with colors and textured stones that make it look like the back of a dragon according to authorities on Gaudi’s architecture, many think it may be associated with the medieval story of St. George and the dragon with the bone like items on the front façade being the remains of the dragon’s victims.
All designs have to start from somewhere in the realm of architecture, many designers and architects take inspiration from old designs of ancient times and sometimes the influence is unintentional because these old designs were the building blocks for the new. Casa Batllo and its elements that make it so successful mimic many different proceeding buildings from the past as Gaudi made it in a more modern style for the future. The idea of using mosaic tiles came from the Romans when they created the Roman public baths for their citizens, the tiles added an element of delight then as they do now with Gaudi’s design when reflecting the sunlight and lightening a room. The idea of the roof top décor being based of the story of St. George and the Dragon is a medieval concept from art in the Early Christian Byzantium period where the cross like form of the elaborate chimneys represents the sword that slew the dragon. One more interesting precedent comes from the French Baroque ideas in that frivolous curves dominated the style of architecture and played on the idea of Trompe L' oeil, also known as a fool of the eye with shapes and structure. This is mimicked by the vortex like ceilings and fontal façade of the ‘creature’ within the building. Going aside from the ostentatious designs and elaborate ideas of Casa Batllo, even the most basic layout of the apartment itself has precedent to the past. The whole idea of porch, court, and hearth adapted first by the Romans with their temples is still emulated even in Gaudi’s design: the porch being the frontal façade and balconies of the structure, the court being the main floor and staircases since they would be the most used by either the family or the other renters, and the hearth being the fireplaces or central parts of the ceilings that seem to be like swirling whirlpools that bring the viewer to the center of the structure.
My studio project has a sense of community in that it was designed for graduate students to have a place where they could relax and perhaps even interact with each other in a way so that they could leave work breifly behind and clear their thoughts.
The term community in a town. In design, many terms share common ground with each other and in turn form a community of a language used by designers when thinking up designs or creating designs. “One of the notable aspects of critical regionalist reactions to imported Euro-American Modernism was the reaffirmation of community, or creating environments for groups of people living and working together in ancestral traditional ways.” [Roth 607] Community was an important element in the Euro-American Modernism part of design and designers recognized this as a habitual way of life and therefore made strides to incorporate this idea into designs for residential spaces. A notable work that is a good example of the community aspect is the Fathy’s New Gourna rehouse project of an entire village area using the elements of consisten comes from the Latin language as a meaning of sharing in common with something, many times in everyday like we think of community as being the general area in which we as people interact in like with a neighborhood community or the general populationt design in relation to families and an appropriate scale in organization for the residents living there.
With the building Casa Battlo in Barcelona, Spain, and example of sustainability and stewardship is shown through taking an older building and renovating it rather then using precious resources to rebuilt something just for the sake of an artist's design ideals.
The taking of responsibility of ones property or actions other than their own is what is known as stewardship. This term can loosely refer to just about anything from taking care of our natural resources in our environment as a human race to taking care of a neighbor’s cat while they are away. In the case of stewardship in context to design, this can include ‘building green’ to conserve resources and energy and even projects of other designers when re-designing an area or space. “A sustainable approach to materials is enhanced by the careful use of energy. Interior designers can, for example, make better use of natural light and exploit the latest technology is glazing design, choosing photochromatic, thermochromatic or electrochromatic glass for windows.” [Massey 222] Stewardship relates to sustainability when it comes to new designs by designers who have a passion for helping the environment and limiting overuse of materials. Designers attempted to use different materials and design alternatives in order to limit energy use and consumption of materials in the twenty-first century.
Authenticity is something designers have to think about everyday, in studio, we as design students must create our own authentic designs so that we may create something uniquely our own. Though inspiration may be taken it cannot completely dictate our design lest it is no longer authentically ours.
Authenticity is the concept of credibility in a statement or action when referring to an object that was created or something that was said and whether this item of interest is authentic or not. Authenticity in design history and theory can refer to different period pieces in architecture and deciding if a building was built in a certain authentic period [like the ancient Greek architecture] or if it was a reenactment of the period [neoclassical period].
In creating our sacred space project, the screens in my rendered perspective are of my own design and instead of opaque panels on the inner parts of them, fiber optic fibers replace that to let more light into the room when the light cannot light the windows enough to light the room.
A creation of something new from a person’s mind that can be a result of a scientific or technological experiment is something known as innovation. Innovations have been happening every since people have been searching for answers and ways to change things in their own way of life, from the light of a candle to the creation of the light bulb, innovations are always being made to make everyday life simpler. Innovations in architecture were much the same in coming into creation whenever someone had the mind to make something simpler or more refined. “In general, the boundaries between architecture, fashion, graphics, fine art and the interior have become less rigid. Architects have become more interested in interior design, and artists are exploring the building environment as part of their creative practice…” [Massey 219]In exploring the boundaries between architecture and the fine arts along with all the items in between innovations with architects could occur as new designs were created as a result of these broken boundaries. For example the House by Rachel Whiteread 1963 with the interiors of the Victorian terraced house. “Other individuals and groups, such as Buckminster Fuller, Superstudio in Italy, the Archigram program Group in England, the Metabolists in Japan, created ‘hyper-celebrations of the supposedly liberating possibilities of endless technological development’ that ‘swept away any tendious connection with reality.’” [Roth 567] In favor of innovation in the late twentieth century of architecture in the post-modern period groups were created to celebrate new ideas and supports for designers as technology advance and met its own pitfalls with experimentation.
This opus of coming full circle represents the details and facts of design in architecture and interiors as it advances from the past based on ideas that where needed since the very beginning. Community is a basic element of life and interaction for people and the architecture designed for them to live in, and with this idea of community especially in the architect circle as innovations were approved of more and more comes the idea of stewardship and taking responsibility for one’s own environment by making innovations in things like design to combat wasteful ideals or mistakes. Authenticity for me was a little harder to make a connection with, but I think it has to do with being able to take from the past without copying completely, taking a design basically and making it your own despite the influence you may have had from another space or place.
::Sources:: Interior Design Since 1900 By Massey Understanding Architecture By Roth Drawings and Photographs By myself