La Pedrera
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Unesco World Heritage Site

Unesco World Heritage Site

La Pedrera, 30 Years as a World Heritage Site

On 2 November 1984 Casa Milà (La Pedrera), Park Güell and Palau Güell were declared Unesco World Heritage Sites owing to their outstanding universal value. These were the first World Heritage Sites in Spain, together with the Alhambra, the mosque at Córdoba, the monastery at El Escorial and Burgos cathedral. The same year also saw the Statue of Liberty, the Vatican City, Yosemite National Park and Baalbek, Lebanon, among others, join the World Heritage List. 

First launched in 1978, the World Heritage List now includes 1,007 sites in 161 countries, 779 of which are cultural sites. Spain is the country with the third most cultural sites, after Italy and China, and Catalonia is the Autonomous Community with the most cultural sites in Spain (44 cultural sites). 

La Pedrera was included on the World Heritage List by virtue of the following criteria, which recognized its outstanding universal value in accordance with the 1972 Unesco Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention:  

  • Criterion (i): These leading works by Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852–1926) are masterpieces by a creative genius.
  • Criterion (ii): They are extremely rare and unique.
  • Criterion (vi): They are examples of work from a highpoint of Catalan culture, from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. 

On 17 June 2005 Unesco increased the number of works by Antoni Gaudí on the list by adding the nativity facade and crypt at the Sagrada Família, Casa Vicens, Casa Batlló and the crypt at the Colònia Güell, bringing total to seven,and the criteria for inclusion were modified to read:  

  • Criterion (i): The work of Antoni Gaudí represents an exceptional and outstanding creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Criterion (ii): Gaudí’s work exhibits an important interchange of values closely associated with the cultural and artistic currents of his time, as represented in el Modernisme of Catalonia. It anticipated and influenced many of the forms and techniques that were relevant to the development of modern construction in the 20th century.
  • Criterion (iv): Gaudí’s work represents a series of outstanding examples of the building typology in the architecture of the early 20th century, residential as well as public, to the development of which he made a significant and creative contribution. 

La Pedrera includes several innovative features in terms of construction and function, as well as ornamental and decorative solutions, that broke the mould of architectural styles of the time 

World Heritage Sites are highly prestigious properties whose cultural value should be studied, interpreted and promoted. Their privileged status also entails an obligation to conserve them and pass them on to future generations. The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, passed by the General Conference in November 1972, is seen as Unesco’s most successful convention and the leading international regulatory text for protecting cultural and natural heritage. The Convention is also important because it has a global scope and recognizes that culture is not the exclusive preserve of any one country or nation, but has a fundamental value for humanity as a whole.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the inclusion of Casa Milà (La Pedrera) on Unesco’s World Heritage List, the Fundació Catalunya–La Pedrera has given over part of the Espai Gaudí to set up a specific area on world heritage explaining how and why La Pedrera was declared a World Heritage Site. It is the only such site in Catalonia and the rest of Spain, and probably the whole world, to do so.

La Pedrera uniqueness and artistic and heritage value have received also universal recognition: since 1962 it has been featured in the Catalogue of Artistic Heritage of the City of Barcelona and in 1969 was declared a Historical-Artistic Monument of National Interest by the Spanish government.

Casa Milà, popularly known as «La Pedrera» (the stone quarry), an ironic allusion to the resemblance of its façade to an open quarry, was constructed between 1906 and 1912 by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). For its uniqueness, artistic and heritage value has received major recognition and in 1984 was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List, for its exceptional universal value. Nowadays is the headquarters of Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera and houses a cultural centre that is a reference in Barcelona for the range of activities it organises and the different spaces for exhibitions and other public uses it contains.              

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