“The dragon’s lair” gets a technological makeover and now offers a “10D” immersive experience
Casa Batlló, designed by the Catalan modernista architect Antoni Gaudí, has been on the Unesco World Heritage list since 2005. It was closed on October 29, 2020, although on Sant Jordi’s day 2021, its façade was once again covered with red roses in traditional fashion. It reopened on May 15, and the wait has not been in vain: an updated Casa Batlló now offers a "10D Experience,” an immersive experience involving all the senses that will thrill anyone who visits the house.
Below we set out 6 tips to help you get the most out of your visit to the Casa Batllo:
1. What does the Casa Batlló mean for Barcelona?
Considered one of Antoni Gaudí's most original works, it is located in what is known as the "Block of Discord", so called because five modernist buildings coexist here: Casa Lleó Morera (Lluís Domènech i Montaner); Casa Mulleras (Enric Sagnier); Casa Bonet (Marcel-lià Coquillat); Casa Amatller (Josep Puig i Cadafalch); and Casa Batlló.
Even before entering, one can see that the balconies on the façade look like masks, the columns like bones, and a whole sea of broken glass mosaics remind us of a pond of lilies. There are hardly any straight lines inside the house, making visitors feel as if they are inside a cave, at the bottom of the sea, or in the belly of a prehistoric animal. At the same time, the impressive craftsmanship throughout the house reminds one of the animal and plant kingdoms, with mollusks hidden in the glass, mushrooms made of bronze, and starfish engraved in the woodwork.
2. Features of the house: architecture and forms
To create Casa Batlló, Gaudí drew inspiration from the marine world and from his own visionary imagination in order to transport onlookers to a fantastical world of magic.
Even before entering, one can see that the balconies on the façade look like masks, the columns like bones, and a whole sea of broken glass mosaics remind us of a pond of lilies. There are hardly any straight lines inside the house, making visitors feel as if they are inside a cave, at the bottom of the sea, or in the belly of a prehistoric animal. At the same time, the impressive craftsmanship throughout the house reminds one of the animal and plant kingdoms, with mollusks hidden in the glass, mushrooms made of bronze, setas hechas de bronce and starfish engraved in the woodwork.
3. Tourism in the Covid era?
The Bernat family, owners of the building since the 1990s, took advantage of the closure of the Casa Batlló in October 2020 to conclude a four-year restoration program that includes numerous innovations.
The ground-breaking sensory experience with which Casa Batlló opens its doors is entirely safe for visitors, since the house has put in place all the necessary biosecurity measures. 15 million euros have been invested in the restoration of the building since 2017 and the result is a house that is displayed in all its glory.
4. What will amaze visitors in the Casa Batlló in 2021?
The "Casa Batlló 10D Experience" tour uses the most advanced technology to reach the visitor's five senses: artificial intelligence, augmented reality and gentle appeals to the senses of taste and smell are just some of the elements used in a journey through the mind and genius of the architect Antoni Gaudí.
There are 2,000 square meters that have never previously been open to the public, including the old coal bunkers and garages. With widespread use of technology, the tour features a new intelligent audio guide that is suited to meet visitors’ needs and two unique immersive spaces that submerge us in the ideas and work of the architect.
5. A tour through the new spaces in the house
The first immersive room, called the Gaudí Dôme, is a cupola with more than a thousand screens projecting a mapping onto a group of sculptures that immerses us in the origins of a genius and his particular relationship with nature. The installation helps to reveal the animal, vegetable, and geological world that inspired Gaudí.
The second immersive room, Gaudí Cube, is located at the end of the tour and involves a LED cube in which a work by multimedia artist Refik Anadol is projected. This immersive room is able to change one’s perception of reality and plunges us into the mind of the genius with the help of AI and millions of documents about the architect (photographs, plans, drawings, writings, etc.), the largest digital library about Gaudí ever created.
During the tour, we also discover “magic paintings” that are activated when visitors pass, transporting them to the times when the Batlló family lived in the building. There are also other surprises, such as the concierge's office and the attic, where we will discover other inhabitants of the house. And after visiting the roof terrace, one goes down a completely new staircase, designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Who together with the lighting designer Mario Nanni, has created a new “skin” for the house.
6. When and how to enjoy the Casa Batlló 10D experience ?
Casa Batlló 10D Experience is open from Tuesday to Sunday and includes a visit to the whole house, the Gaudí Dôme and Gaudí Cube immersive rooms, use of the Smart Audio Guide, and the new vertical tours.
Entrance is 35€. There is currently a 2x1 promotion (€17.50 per person) for a limited period. Children under 12 years are admitted free of charge and their visit includes an Augmented Reality SmartGuide that helps them to discover the magic of the house in a fun and surprising way. Discounts are also offered to children between the ages of 12 and 17 (19 €), students (29 €), and seniors (32 €), provided bookings specifying the date and time of the visit are made online.