21-11-2017

Reopening of Casa Vicens, Antoni Gaudì's first major work

Antonio Gaudì,

Pol Viladoms,

Barcelona, Spain,

Residences,

Refurbishment,

A new architectural attraction has just reopened in Barcelona: Casa Vicens, one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Catalan capital, has undergone a three-year restoration by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García.



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Reopening of Casa Vicens, Antoni Gaudì's first major work A new architectural attraction has just reopened in Barcelona: Casa Vicens, one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Catalan capital, has undergone a three-year restoration by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García. It will accept a maximum of only 500 visitors a day.


Casa Vicens was Antoni Gaudì's first major work. In 1883, the architect was commissioned to build a summer home in the former village of Gràcia in Barcelona. The young Gaudí was given plenty of leeway and he responded with a house featuring an oriental style and a landmark ceramic facade.
The house changed owners and in 1920 it was extended and turned into three separate homes. It then went back to single ownership and now, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, it has undergone a painstaking, three-year-long restoration. The goal of the design team formed of the architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García was to preserve both its original splendour and to adapt the spaces to their new use as a museum house.
No easy task but the results are spectacular, including the dining room with its fine ornamentation, now also completed with original furnishings a collection of paintings by Francesc Torrescassana. But the real showpiece of Casa Vicens is the Smoking Room. Here the architects stripped back the walls to reveal the luminosity of the Arabic-style polychrome decoration crafted in papier-mâché. 
The exterior too was restored to recreate the feel of the time the house was built, by replanting the original plant species in the outdoor space. One of the hidden surprises of Casa Vicens is its now fully accessible bright, terracotta coloured rooftop terrace, based on Gaudì's original design of a walkway here.
Casa Vicens is not far from the famous Parc Güell and is part of the “Gaudì circuit” and if you want to visit it, you need only remember that the administration has restricted the number of visitors per day to 500, to reduce the tourist impact on the building and on the district.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Antonio Gaudì
Restoration: José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Year: 2017
Images: Pol Viladoms, courtesy of Casa Vicens
Find out more: https://casavicens.org/