The construction of Casa Milà

Journal Ilustració Catalana, 8 December 1907
Journal Ilustració Catalana, 8 December 1907
La Edificación Moderna, March 1908
La Edificación Moderna, March 1908

Having submitted his building plans in order to obtain planning permission from Barcelona City hall, Antoni Gaudí began work on the Casa Milà on 2 February 1906.

Shown below are two illustrative examples of the immense interest sparked by the construction of the edifice.

The first one comes from issue No. 236 of the journal Ilustració Catalana, from 8 December 1907, which ran a story on the building work, under the heading ‘Modern Architecture’, with three accompanying photographs showing the construction system of the columns and pillars, together with the caption: “Details of the building that architect Mr Gaudí is overseeing on the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and carrer Provença”.

Ilustració Catalana was an illustrated weekly that between 1903 and1917 benefited from the collaboration of Josep Alemany, the former director of La Ilustració Llevantina. It became one of Catalonia’s most popular publications,  with contributions by some of the foremost Catalan writers, including Joan Maragall, Narcís Oller, Joaquim Ruyra, Josep Carner, Josep M. Folch i Torres and Magí Morera i Galícia. The journal sought to uphold the spirit of the Catalan Renaixença by endorsing many cultural and political initiatives relating to Catalan nationalist, as well as publishing the supplement Feminal. (Source: Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana)

An annual subscription fee cost 30 pesetas and, as announced on the back cover, “regular issues are on sale everywhere at 50 centimes” and “special issues are sold at exceptional prices”.  The journal had its main office at No. 11, carrer Mallorca on the corner of carrer Roger de Llúria.

The second example is taken from issue No. 9 (March 1908) of the monthly journal La Edificación Moderna, a publication of the association of constructors, Centro de Contratistas Generales de Obras y Maestros Albañiles de Barcelona.

The article, ‘The works of the architect Mr Antonio Gaudí’ that accompanies the photographs, signed by Gabriel Borrell (1862-1944), architect and member of the journal’s committee,  praises the work of “Mr Gaudí” on the building of “Mr Pedro Milá” for its originality “in the art of building”. Borrell writes of Gaudí’s desire to satisfy the needs of modern life without “letting the nature of the materials or their resistance to climatic conditions constrain his freedom of action” and describes the structure of the columns as a novelty to achieve large and well illuminated spaces