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Casa Mila Roof

The rooftop of La Pedrera – The Casa Milà building in Barcelona, Spain, is a masterpiece designed by the visionary architect Antoni Gaudí.

This rooftop is a standout feature of the building, showcasing Gaudí’s innovative architectural style. 

The terrace serves a functional purpose and adds a decorative and visually appealing element to Casa Milà. 

Gaudí’s rooftop design emphasizes natural light and direct ventilation throughout the building.

He created a unique and harmonious architectural masterpiece that breaks away from the traditional styles of the time. 

Its self-supporting stone facade, free-plan floor, underground garage, and spectacular roof terrace contribute to Casa Mila’s fame and architectural significance.

Another distinctive feature of this unusual roof is the interior courtyard perimeter fence, which often catches visitors’ attention due to its mismatch with the building’s uniformity.

This article highlights key features and details of the roof terrace at Casa Milà.

The Roof Terrace at La Pedrera-Casa Milà

La Pedrera-Casa Milà has a distinctive rooftop terrace.

It feels like a museum filled with Gaudí-style sculptures when you walk around it.

The construction features on the roof, such as the chimneys, ventilation towers, and attic access staircases, combine excellent functionality with aesthetic quality and order.

The ventilation towers help circulate air in the attic.

Gaudí also used curves to soften the volumes of the staircases.

These curves are all derived from regulated geometry, which uses concavity, convexity, and conical shapes to lighten the building.

The roof terrace has stairwells covered in monochromatic ceramic trencadís mosaic, recycled stone, or marble. 

There are two groups of three and four chimneys (smoke outlets).

Gaudí turns them on their own, using an internal and external layout that mimics the aerodynamic movement of the smoke to give them their sculptural shapes.

In the original version of trencadís, a group of chimneys is covered in pieces of cava bottles. 

The Fences of the Rooftop

On this unusual roof, one feature often overlooked by guests is a perimeter fence that breaks the building’s curving shape.

Gaudí failed to complete the model he started for the roof railing, as seen in the 1909 photo.

The proprietors put up a fence made of hexagonal mesh as protection against the risk of leaving the area without supervision.

Previously, the roof served as a service area for chimney smoke flues and, occasionally, as a place to hang clothes. This was not the conventional use of the roof.

Gaudí created the roof with form, function, and aesthetics in mind.

Still, he could not complete some of the roof elements’ external protection and decoration because of financial difficulties with the owners.

Every element, whether it be the stucco or trencadís, the Gaudinian or just simple protective fences, is a part of the building’s construction history, adding to its uniqueness and vitality.

Restoration of Casa Mila rooftop

A restoration process was carried out to restore Casa Milà’s rooftop to its former splendor.

To restore the space, elements that had been added after Gaudí’s time had to be removed, including additional chimneys.

The chimneys were repaired using pieces of glass, and tile fragments were used to restore the Ulldecona stone overhangs.

What is on the Roof of Casa Mila?

The roof of Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, features several distinctive elements:

Skylights: The roof houses six skylights, which provide natural light to the building.

Staircase Exits: Four staircase exits on the roof are covered with broken pottery, and some end in a double cross typical of Gaudí.

Chimneys: The roof has 28 chimneys in several groupings, ventilating the building.

Vents: Two half-hidden vents on the roof renew the air in the building.

Domes: Four domes on the roof discharge into the facade, providing a unique architectural feature.

Staircases: The staircases on the roof also house water tanks, some of which are snail-shaped.

Colorful Overhangs: The roof overhangs are made of stone from Ulldecona with fragments of tiles, giving the roof a colorful appearance.

These elements, designed by Antoni Gaudí, contribute to the building’s unique architectural style and its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What are the Architectural Features of Casa Mila Rooftop?

The architectural features of Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, include several innovative and distinctive elements:

Undulating Façade: 

Casa Milà’s wavy stone façade, inspired by natural forms, differs from traditional designs, giving it an organic and sculptural appearance.

Self-Supporting Stone Façade: 

Casa Milà features a self-supporting stone façade that serves both an aesthetic and structural purpose, contributing to the building’s unique design.

Free-Plan Floor: 

The interior layout of Casa Milà incorporates a free-plan floor design, allowing for flexible use of space and innovative room arrangements throughout the building.

Roof Terrace: 

The spectacular terrace on the roof of Casa Mila is a standout feature, housing ventilation towers, chimneys, staircases, and sculptural elements designed by Antoni Gaudí.

Structural Innovations: 

A spine-like rib structure supports the roof, comprised of 270 parabolic brick arches of varying heights, creating an organic geometry.

Courtyards: 

Casa Milà is structured around two interior courtyards that provide light to the nine stories of the building, shaping its asymmetrical “8” layout.

Ornamental and Decorative Solutions: 

Gaudí’s incorporation of naturalistic elements and ornamental details throughout Casa Milà reflects his artistic vision and commitment to creating a total work of art.

These architectural features collectively contribute to Casa Milà’s status as a masterpiece of Modernisme architecture.

What is the Significance of the Chimneys and Air Vents on the Roof of Casa Mila?

The chimneys and air vents on the roof of Casa Milà are significant for several reasons:

  1. Ventilation: The ventilation towers and chimneys play a crucial role in renewing the air in the attic, ensuring proper airflow and ventilation within the building.
  1. Architectural Function: These elements are functional and serve as real sculptures integrated into the building, showcasing Gaudí’s innovative architectural style and attention to detail.
  1. Aesthetic Appeal: The sculptural shapes of the chimneys and air vents add to the overall aesthetic quality of the rooftop, contributing to the beauty and uniqueness of Casa Milà.
  1. Innovative Design: Gaudí’s design of these elements, including their sculptural shapes and aerodynamic movement, reflects his creativity and ability to blend functionality with artistic expression.
  1. Historical Significance: The chimneys and air vents on the roof of Casa Mila are part of the building’s rich history and architectural heritage, representing a unique aspect of Gaudí’s work that continues to captivate visitors.

These features serve practical purposes and enhance Casa Mila’s rooftop’s visual appeal and architectural significance.

FAQs about Casa Mila Roof 

What makes the roof and terrace of Casa Milà unique?

The rooftop and veranda of Casa Milà, also known as the Pedrera, present breathtaking sweeping views of Barcelona and Sagrada Familia and highlight the singular architectural genius of Antoni Gaudí.

Can visitors access the roof and terrace of Casa Milà?

Indeed, visitors are free to explore the roof and terrace of Casa Milà during their guided tour. Throughout the experience, you can get a close-up look at Gaudí’s popular sculptures and chimneys.

Which architectural elements stand out on Casa Milà’s roof?

The famous soldier-shaped chimneys are among the unusual and creative sculptures that adorn Casa Milà’s roof. 

These distinctive qualities represent Gaudí’s creative vision.

Are there any guided tours specifically focusing on the roof and terrace?

Yes, Casa Milà provides guided tours emphasizing the roof and terrace’s architectural significance. Visitors can explore Gaudí’s design history and inspiration during the tour.

How can one get to the terrace for panoramic views of Barcelona?

A guided tour allows visitors to enter the terrace through specific areas.

Visitors can also purchase an entry ticket to Casa Mila to visit and enjoy the views from inside.

Anyone interested in the building’s architecture and design should also visit the roof terrace.

When would it be best to visit Casa Milà’s terrace and roof?

The best times to visit Casa Milà’s roof and terrace are between 9 am and 10 am and after 4.30 pm, as this is when fewer people are around.

Can visitors bring cameras to capture the views from Casa Milà’s terrace?

Visitors can bring cameras to record the scenery from Casa Milà’s terrace for their own use only.

However, taking pictures inside the building with professional equipment is not allowed.

Note: flash photography is prohibited inside Casa Milà, and guests should not answer phones while in the building.

Bring your camera to capture the amazing views from the terrace, but be aware of some guidelines to follow when taking photos while visiting.

What is the historical significance of Casa Milà’s rooftop and terrace?

Casa Milà’s roof and terrace are architectural marvels and historical markers of Gaudí’s legacy. 

Exploring these areas offers insights into Barcelona’s cultural and artistic heritage.

Featured Image: Commons.wikimedia.org

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