All stories have a beginning, and Casa Vicens bore witness to the first steps of Antoni Gaudí as an architect. A glittering garden in the centre of Gràcia in an oriental-style building covered with green and white tiles that has been handed down from generation to generation and is now part of the city's heritage.
The budding of a genius
In 1883, the entrepreneur Manel Vicens contacted Antoni Gaudí, a young, unknown architect who had just obtained his degree, and asked him to build a summer residence in the town of Gràcia. The chosen site was on Carrer de les Carolines, next to the convent.
Gaudí designed a building with Arabic, Mudejar and oriental elements, in which straight lines took prominence over the architect's famous undulating lines, although some of the features that were so typical of his style were then starting to be seen.
Casa Vicens is covered with green and white tiles that have yellowish details imitating the carnations that grew in the garden; the entrance doors are made of cast iron and filigree and reminiscent of palm leaves; and the arcades, latticework and use of masonry conjure up memories of the Alhambra. Gaudí's love of nature starts to be visible, and one can go on a treasure hunt to find the phrases, taken from children's stories, bordering the friezes inside the house. It is said and in fact, reflected in the original plans of the house, that there was once a fountain in the garden in which the water created a permanent rainbow-like effect, but that fountain no longer exists. Only a genius like Gaudí could have planned such a fountain.
The spectacular Casa Vicens, with its glazed tiles that adorn the facades and its oriental air, was classified as a UNESCO heritage site in 2005 and is one of the first works by the unique Antoni Gaudí, in which the characteristics that would make him one of the most original architects ever can still be seen.
- Carrer de les Carolines, 18-24