Palau Güell is a mansion designed by Barcelona’s favorite son, the highly imaginative architect, Antoni Gaudí, for tycoon Eusebi Güell. It was to be the first of their collaborations. The home was built between 1886 and 1888 and is in the El Raval neighborhood, near the popular pedestrian mall, la Rambla. It’s part of Barcelona’s “Works of Antoni Gaudi” UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building was refurbished in 2011 and is fresh and beautiful throughout.
Palau Güell was the first important commission Antoni Gaudí received as a young architect. Mr. Güell (a wealthy industrialist and patron of the arts) asked Gaudí to build him a unique urban home. The result is Palau Güell, a great example of Art Nouveau/Moderniste architecture, a home for a family that had a busy cultural and social life but also wanted a private life. The Güell family lived here until they moved to Park Güell (another project developed from the association of Gaudi and Güell). The building contains creative elements Gaudi used throughout his career, and if you are interested seeing and studying his architecture this is an important building to visit.
Guests entered the home in horse-drawn carriages through the front gates, built of ornamental iron and in a parabolic arch shape. Horses were taken down a ramp……..and kept in the livery stable of the basement while the guests went up the stairs to the receiving room.
The audioguided tour of the facility begins in the basement of the structure, the stable. Gaudi use an innovative mushroom like pillar design to bear the weight of the building. The stable is spacious and well ventilated. The first clue of our puzzle was one of the dog themed horse ties from the basement.
The tour of Palau Güell moves up from the basement floor by floor and ends on its rooftop. On the first floor you find the front receiving area where you entered. Coaches were stored in the back of the building while guests went up several flights of elegant stairs…. …in the direction of the main floor. Throughout the structure you see Gaudi’s use of traditional construction elements — iron, wood and stone. It is an amazing home!
The main floor was the family’s main living space, but also the place they entertained guests. On this floor you find the dining room…….a billiard room and an outdoor terrace….From the terrace you can see the surrounding apartments on whose balconies residents dry their laundry, also one of our puzzle clues….There is a smoking room and a lady’s waiting room. The most impressive room in the home is the main guest room (Central Hall), where guests would often listen to concerts…….so logically Palau Güell needed an organ, which Gaudi included…..
There is a beautiful hallway leading to the Central Hall (Hall of the Lost Steps)…..You continue up a mezzanine…..to the bedroom levels (the Guell family was large)…….through the attic……..to the roof. The roof of Palau Güell’s was my favorite part of the building. There are twenty chimneys and a central spire which is 15 meters high and capped with a bat. Gaudí turned traditional chimneys into works of art, with an amazing assortment of shapes and decorative styles, as you can see sampled in the photos below:
You return to the main level by descending down the servant stairs.
Reservations are available online and admission to Palau Guell is currently 12 €, which includes a free audioguide. I found the audioguide helpful and I really enjoyed the tour of this unusual home. Very recommended!
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