Joan Baptista Serra

Article

December 7, 2021

Joan Baptista Serra de Martínez (Barcelona, ​​January 9, 1888 - February 11, 1962) was a Spanish architect and urban planner, known above all for his expansion of Casa Vicens, an original work by Antoni Gaudí.

Biography

He studied at the Higher Technical School of Architecture in Barcelona, ​​where he graduated in 1914. That same year he met Gaudí at the church of Santos Justo y Pastor, where he joined them with his love of music. Eclectic in style, he was influenced by both Modernism and Noucentisme, Classicism and modern European architecture. One of his first works was the Cucuruy house in Barcelona, ​​which was followed by his own house, the Villa Mercedes, on Calle Escoles Pies; Eduard Schäfer's house, on Copernicus Street; and the Valentí Soler house, on Vía Layetana, all in Barcelona, ​​as well as the building of the Sisters of Christian Doctrine in Molins de Rey and the Mas Rampinyo Union in Moncada and Reixach. [1] He was municipal architect of Moncada y Reixach, Ripollet, Begas, Molins de Rey and San Felíu de Codinas, where he carried out various works, such as the Ripollet Market, the Begas urbanization, a school group and a sanitation and paving project in Molins de Rey, and the churches of Santa Engracia and Sagrado Corazón de Moncada and Reixach. [2] He was one of the founders of the Obra Sindical del Hogar, which sponsored the construction of affordable housing, for which he designed various groups of workers' houses, such as those promoted by the Asland cement factory in Moncada and Reixach in 1923 and 1954. [3 ] He also stood out as a decorator, with various interior design projects such as the furniture in the hall of the Liceo Conservatory. [4]

Casa Vicens

In 1925, the owner of Casa Vicens planned an extension of the building, for which he turned to Gaudí to take charge of the project, but he refused, since at that time he was dedicating his time entirely to the Sagrada Familia. Instead, he recommended Serra. [5] He built the right half of the building —seen from Carrer de las Carolinas—, perceptible because its volume protrudes slightly towards the street compared to the part built by Gaudí. The division is also perceptible by the different design of the tiles, since Gaudí alternated them to give greater dynamism, while Serra arranged them uniformly. The extension lasted between 1925 and 1927. [6] The new remodeling involved converting a single-family house into three independent houses, one per floor. To this end, the original staircase designed by Gaudí was replaced by another according to its new purpose. [7] At the corner of the street, Serra arranged a tower in the form of a temple equal to the one Gaudí placed at its opposite end. [8] He also built a temple at the end of the garden that overlooked Riera de Cassoles avenue, which housed the old Santa Rita fountain. Circular in plan, it was lined with yellow tiles and had a hemispherical dome, lined with tiles and topped with a lantern with a cross on top. Demolished in 1963, today the old gardens are occupied by residential buildings. [9] Inside, Serra's intervention was more restrained than outside, with the use of new construction materials of the time, such as the use of iron joists with ceramic vaulting on the ceilings. He replaced the old staircase designed by Gaudí with an interior patio that provided light to the adjoining rooms, and installed a new staircase in the enlarged part. The interior finishes of the enlarged part were simpler than those of the Gaudinian project, based essentially on mosaic floors, plastered and painted walls, and plaster ceiling tiles with perimeter moldings. The bathrooms were tiled with tiles of Andalusian origin with flowers and a

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