Palau Güell

One of the lesser known Gaudi designed buildings in Barcelona is the Palau Guell. Unfortunately closed for repairs after years of work, I wasn't able to see inside which I hear is pretty amazing.
The Guell name is not unfamiliarly associated with the architect, as many of Gaudi's most famous designs were commissioned by the family. This was the Guell's main townhouse, built by Eusebi Guell from 1886-1890 directly off La Rambla. The house stayed in family hands, with a brief confiscation as army barracks during the civil war, until it was gifted to the country in 1945.
The main entrances seen on the facade were meant for carriages, one for 'in' and one 'out'; hows that for efficiency, much like a restaurant kitchen! The house revolved around entertaining and a large main entertaining room was located just inside off the entry court. The ceiling was studded with holes into the private rooms above to look like starlight, which also provided views of guests below so that the family could decide what to appropriately wear to greet their guests. Another efficient and ingenius idea!
As I wasn't able to see this for myself (the house should be open to the public again by summer 2011) I had to content myself with the beautiful ironwork on the windows outside; true masterpieces.
The small street that it's located on off La Rambla makes it hard to get a very good picture but you can see below that the facade is actually rather plain and quiet for a modernista structure, no matter how lovely. The exterior interest lays in the details of course which I've tried to show here. I think the lesson here is that Gaudi knew when his buildings should be stand out stars, and when they should be background structures. They can't all be masterpieces; sometimes a house is just a house, no matter how extraordinary!

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