Casa Vicens is the first house designed by Antoni Gaudí after graduating from the Escola Provincial d’Arquitectura de Barcelona 1878. He received his first major commission from Manuel Vicens i Montaner to build a summer estate in the then neighboring town of Gràcia. Work began on the house in 1883 when Gaudí was 31 years old and it was completed in 1885. The building is considered an important historical prelude to Catalan modernism.
In 2014 Casa Vicens was acquired by MoraBanc from the Herrero-Jover family, its owners since 1899, when it was purchased from the widow of Manuel Vicens i Montaner. Since 2015 MoraBanc has extensively renovated the building. It is slated to open to the public in autumn 2017, after 130 years as a private home.
Neo-Mudéjar architecture is a type of Moorish revival architecture that Gaudí incorporated into Casa Vicens. The years 1883-1888 are described as Gaudí’s orientalist period.
As with his other buildings, influences directly from nature can be seen. Gaudí based his design for the pressed tiles on the French marigold which grew in the grounds of the estate. The cast iron railings were made using clay models of leaves of the fan palm.
Dr. Antonio Jover, a surgeon from Havana, Cuba acquired the house in 1899; the grandfather of the owners of the building prior to its sale to MoraBanc in 2014. In 1925, architect Juan Sierra de Martínez added on a new bay to the rear of the building and increased the size of the garden. At that time the house was also divided into three independent floors. The renovations were done with maximum respect for the original work, and the plans were approved by Gaudí who was busy working on La Sagrada Família.
Casa Vicens is situated in the western part of Gràcia on Carrer de les Carolines, 24. It is the eighth building in Barcelona listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the last to be opened to the public. The other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Barcelona are La Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Park Güell, Palau Güell, Palau de la Música and Hospital de Sant Pau.