Casa Vicens: the first house designed by Gaudí is now opened to the public

Casa Vicens, the first residential building to be designed by Antoni Gaudí, has reopened its doors to the public, 132 years after it was built. Today it houses a museum that represents a dialogue between Modernist and contemporary architecture. Now open to the public, this is the latest addition to the route that takes in a number of buildings designed by Gaudí, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Casa Vicens’ director, Joan Abellà, believes that it is the “classic manifestation” of Gaudí’s talent. It was built between 1883 and 1885 as the single family summer home for stock broker Manuel Vicens and his family. The four-storey building has three façades. In 1899, following the death of Vicens and his wife, the house was purchased by the Jover family, who made it their permanent home. In 1925 they commissioned Gaudí’s friend and fellow architect Juan Bautista Sierra de Martínez to carry out extension work on the building, converting it from a single family home into a multi-family one.

In 2014 the building was purchased by the Andorra-based bank MoraBanc and work began on restoring, rehabilitating and integrating Casa Vicens’ architectural elements in accordance with the plans drawn up by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García.

One of the many interesting features of this house are the hallways the architect included at the entrance to the rooms for enhanced acoustic and heat quality control.

In addition to the dialogue between the architecture of Gaudí and contemporary design, the Casa Vicens’ management team were eager to create an alternative visitor model that would set it apart from other house-museums. “Admission is limited to a maximum of 60 people an hour, 550 a day. The estimated number of visitors stands at 150,000 a year. Our aim is to provide them with a personalised experience”, explains Abella, who commissioned an initial tourism impact plan in order to anticipate and provide solutions to the potential effects on the house and its environment. Pre-sales of tickets and a mobility study to manage visitor flows and guarantee access to the surroundings are just some of the issues addressed in the Plan. In order to ensure that local residents play a central role, Casa Vicens also hosts a range of activities and initiatives created especially for them.

A boost for the city´s most authentic and unusual stores

A tour of the city’s most inspirational stores. This is the concept behind Barcelona Genuine Shops, a guided tour of some of the city’s most unusual stores, and an invitation to discover the most authentic, original and least-known side to Barcelona.

Turisme de Barcelona has created a new route designed to showcase the identity and distinctive features of the city’s retail sector, regardless of where the stores are located.
The route takes visitors inside a number of specialised stores, including shops selling Catalonian brands, ateliers that work with organic materials and stores steeped in history that have been open to the public for over a hundred years and still preserve part of the original fixtures and fittings as well as their long-standing tradition in customer sservice.

The chance to exchange views with local fashion designers, rummage around craft workshops filled with intriguing items, visit one of Barcelona’s best-known markets or taste local culinary delights such as turrón nougats, oil and cured ham. These are just a few of the experiences created to delight all five senses and included in this initiative, part of the Barcelona Shopping City program, aimed at boosting the city’s image as a quality shopping destination.