Antoni Gaudí’s first major commission Casa Vicens will open to the public for the first time ever following a major restoration to the 130 year old structure.
Built in Barcelona for real-estate broker Manel Vicens i Montaner between 1883 and 1885, when the architect was just 31, the residence is in the tradition of Gaudí’s Orientalist period. It was the Catalan innovator’s first experiment in stirring the melting pot of influences that would define his work – blending Gothic and Art Nouveau forms and ornate decoration while using traditional Catalan construction methods.
Despite being recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005, Casa Vicens has never before been open to the public. In the 1920s, it was converted into three apartments, before being used as a single-family residence for almost a century.
After languishing on the market for seven years, Andorran bank MoraBanc bought the property in 2014. An extensive restoration has been underway since 2015, led by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña and Elías Torres, of Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectes, and David García of Daw Office to turn it into a museum.
‘In Casa Vicens, Gaudí recreated the figurative worlds that were fashionable at the time, but in a highly personal way,’ the organisers told Dezeen. ‘As a whole, it heralds and displays the creative freedom that would become the hallmark of his entire future oeuvre.’
The project’s quick turnaround is a stark contrast to Gaudí’s most famous creation, the monumental Sagrada Família, also in Barcelona. It has been under restoration since the architect’s death in 1926, and isn’t scheduled for completion until his centennial in 2026.
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