After a major restoration that began in April 2015, Catalan modernist Antoni Gaudí’s first completed house in Barcelona, Spain, will open as a museum later this year. Casa Vicens was erected between 1883 and 1885 as a summer home for real-estate broker/dealer Manel Vicens i Montaner, and features colourful tiles and ornate details. Up until now, it served as a residence after being converted into three apartments in the 1920s and was then a single-family home for almost a century.
One of the first examples of the architect’s reinvention of Gothic and Art Nouveau forms, the home has a style that had not been seen in Catalonia before. While it used Catalan construction traditions, it also made use of decoration and symbolism.
‘In Casa Vicens, Gaudí recreated the figurative worlds that were fashionable at the time, but in a highly personal way,’ said the project organisers. ‘As a whole, it heralds and displays the creative freedom that would become the hallmark of his entire future oeuvre.’
The construction part of the residence’s restoration began in September 2016 and was led by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña and Elías Torres, of Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectes, and David García of Daw Office. Casa Vicens is one of eight buildings – all recognised as UNESCO world heritage sites – that Gaudí designed in the area, and will be the last one to open to the public.