Casa Vicens, Gaudí’s first house, will open its doors in autumn 2017
Casa Vicens was built as a summer home between 1883 and 1885; it was designed by the 31-year-old Gaudí for Manel Vicens i Montaner (1836-1895), a broker-dealer. It is Gaudí’s first building in Barcelona where he was able to display his enormous talent.
In Casa Vicens, Gaudí recreated the figurative worlds that were fashionable at the time, but in a highly personal way. The house is built following Catalan construction traditions, which the architect interpreted in unexpected ways, while he also incorporated decorative and symbolic elements, also in his highly personal way. As a whole, it heralds and displays the creative freedom that would become the hallmark of his entire future oeuvre.
In addition to being one of the starting points of Gaudí’s career, the architect created an innovative, original work in Casa Vicens which is different to anything that had been built in Catalonia before it. Casa Vicens thus became one of the first examples of the aesthetic renewal of art and architecture which was taking place all around Europe in the late 19th century.
It is the eighth building in Barcelona listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the last to be opened to the public.
The project is sponsored by the Andorran bank MoraBanc, which aims to preserve the world cultural heritage and invest in a world-class city like Barcelona.
The rehabilitation and restoration project was masterminded by the architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García.
The building is the prelude to Gaudí’s body of work and hints at the future Art Nouveau (Modernisme) in Catalonia.
Rehabilitation and restoration
The rehabilitation and restoration project has been assigned to the architecture studios Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectes S.L.P. and Daw Office S.L.P., and the project is being executed by the joint venture Calaf AMC5, which specialises in the rehabilitation and restoration of listed buildings and has enlisted the assistance of an expert group of restorers.
The first phase of the project got underway in April 2015, and the full execution began on the 19th of September 2016. Respect for Antoni Gaudí’s work is the criterion determining the architectural rehabilitation and restoration process. The work on Casa Vicens is slated to finish in the autumn of 2017.
Behind this latest project is MoraBanc, a prominent private family bank in Andorra that embodies family values, which purchased the property in March 2014. Committed to cultural, sports, educational and environmental projects, through Casa Vicens MoraBanc is investing in a benchmark city, Barcelona, with all the sensitivity required of the cultural project and the recovery of the world heritage.
Since it acquired Casa Vicens, MoraBanc has launched a painstaking yet ambitious project which entails rehabilitating and renovating the property, along with a reflection on its role as part of the local and world historical heritage.
MoraBanc has enlisted an independent cultural management team of professionals who are working to offer top-quality service to future visitors. The team is made up of Joan Abellà (director), Mercedes Mora (owners’ representative) and Marta Antuñano (head of museology).
The management team at the helm of the project has also benefited from the advice of a multidisciplinary team of museologists (Jordi Falgàs), historians (Veclus) and other experts, as well as public institutions and other official organisations, all of whom have made it possible to develop the conception of the Casa Vicens projects.