The first house designed by Antoni Gaudí opened to the public on Thursday in Barcelona, Spain, after a major restoration.
Casa Vicens, in the city’s Gràcia district, was the first house designed and built by the Spanish architect, who is best known for the eccentric Sagrada Família basilica in the city’s center. It was commissioned in 1883 by Manel Vicens i Montaner, a stockbroker, to be his family’s summer house.
Located in the same district of Barcelona as the architect’s famous Güell Park, the four-story building’s ornate brickwork and colorful tiles bear the hallmarks of Gaudí’s distinctive style, which fuses Moorish influences with art nouveau. The house is also widely considered to be an early example of Modernisme, or Catalan modernism.
The house was a family home until 2014, when it was bought by the Andorran financial institution MoraBanc, which made plans to open it to the public.
Its opulently decorated rooms have been restored based on archival research, and slight modifications have been made to turn the building into a functioning museum. On the top floor there is an exhibition space displaying the house’s history and its original plans.
Casa Vicens’s opening comes on the heels of protests and violence in Barcelona following a controversial referendum on independence for Catalonia, the region of which it is the capital city. The Guardian reported that in the two weeks following the referendum, tourism in Catalonia fell by 15 percent.
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