Whether you’re an architecture aficionado or not, if you stroll through the streets of Barcelona the work of one particular architect is unmistakable. Antonio Gaudí’s one-of-a-kind buildings appear across the city, and later this year the first house designed by the modernist will open to the public.
Known as Casa Vicens and built between 1883 and 1885, the colorful and ornately detailed building, an example of the architect’s reimagining of gothic and art nouveau-inspired styles, was originally commissioned as a summer house, and has since continued to serve as a private residence. However, following an extensive program of sympathetic restoration, which began in April 2015, it is soon set to open as a museum.
Casa Vicens is one of eight projects built by the Spanish architect in and around Barcelona, each of which is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. But despite being the first designed by Gaudí, it is the last to open to the public – even the Sagrada Familia, undoubtedly his most famous work and not scheduled to be completed until 2030, has had periods of permitted public access during its long history.
When it finally opens its doors in the autumn, the museum will be home to a permanent exhibition. Divided into a series of three themes, the items on display will explore the history of the estate, the importance of Casa Vicens in Gaudí’s body of work, and the social, cultural, and artistic context of the house.