After Gaudi's success with Casa Batllo, which I hope to see tomorrow, the Mila family commissioned him to build from scratch a home and building that was to be more ornate, bigger, and just more in every way than Casa Batllo. The result was Casa Mila, which was so far out that people started ridiculing it with the name "La Pedrera," the stone quarry.
Gaudi was right, and the critics of his day were wrong. Since that time, La Pedrera, which I visited today, has become a widely acknowledged masterpiece, with UNESCO declaring it a World Heritage Site in 1984.
I absolutely loved what the tour allowed us to see of the building. (Much of it is off-limits, because people still live there, and some businesses operate out of it.) From the stairways in one of the two inner courtyards,
to the view upward in that same courtyard,
to the arches of the attic,
the building embodies Gaudi's obsessions with nature, mathematics, and God.
The roof, with its eerie collection of figures, each both striking and serving a useful function,
and its undulating surface, a waveform that evokes the ocean, struck me particularly powerfully.
I chose to wedge this visit to La Pedrera between my first work partial day (at Mobile World Congress) and my second (email), and though that choice cost me sleep, I am very glad I made it.
When the Mila family disliked his creation, Gaudi swore off home commissions and focused all of his creative energies on La Sagrada Familia. I understand and appreciate that choice, but I am very glad that he first created the wonderful La Pedrera.