The painstaking restoration of Casa Vicens de Gràcia is under way. The first house Gaudi designed is being converted into a museum. Andorran banking corporation MoraBanc acquired the property in March 2014 with the intention of restoring it and opening it to the public.

Gaudí was commissioned by industrialist Manuel Vicens i Montaner to design a summer cottage. With a remarkable Arabic influence, the architect integrated the garden, external gates, the facade and the interior into a single coherent work of art. From 1899 to 2014 the house belonged to the Jover Herero-family and it was recently placed on the market.

Last week Mercedes Mora, executive manager of the Casa Vicens announced that the Casa Vicens museum with open in late 2016 and will be help to increase our understanding of Gaudi’s architectural language and the development of Catalan modernism in Barcelona. The intention is to restore the house to its original state, just as it was handed over by Gaudi to his client in 1888.

This will be a remarkable achievement given that some elements of the original decor were deleted or irreversibly altered during a long century of domestic use as well as the subsequent sale of most of the original gardens.

La Casa Vicens is set to become a new cultural attraction in the city, akin to La Pedrera, La Casa Batllo and La Sagrada Familia, which attract millions of tourists every year. Therefore, high quantities of visitors are expected, and this can place a strain on the building and its location in a narrow residential street. However today’s technology offers the possibility to plan your visit in advance to make sure you have instant admission to the house when you go to avoid the frustration of waiting in line, or not get in.