You know what? A balcony inside the house…

By: Ferran Garcés

The word balcony originated between the 5th and 8th centuries, during the time when the Goths, a Germanic people, settled in the Italian region of the Po Valley, known as Lombardy, and left evidence of their stay with words like balko, which means “beam”. Gradually, the word evolved into balcone (Italian), balcón (Spanish), and balcó (Catalan) In contemporary German, beam is called balken and balcony is balkon.
This word, in our times, evokes the exterior part of the building. However, at Torre Bellesguard, there is one inside the vestibule of the house. What is its purpose? At first glance, it appears to be a decorative element. However, it also has a surprising practical dimension, reflecting Gaudí’s ingenuity in combining aesthetics and utility.

It’s Gaudí’s version of an automatic doorman. Imagine a visitor arriving at Torre Bellesguard and ringing the bell. Thanks to the balcony, located at the top of the vestibule, residents can see who is on the other side of the door, but from the street, the visitor cannot see the residents.
On the other hand, the word balcony has become a powerful aesthetic metaphor. In a famous verse of The Divine Comedy, the Italian poet Dante,  referred to dawn as the “balco d’orïente” (Purgatory IX, 1-3). Even more popular is the balcony of Romeo and Juliet, since Shakespeare immortalized it with his so well-known drama. Consequently, it’s not surprising that the ancient term balko also gave rise to the word “palco” (“tribune”)
The balcony in the vestibule of Torre Bellesguard also has a dimension more akin to a “box seat”. On one hand, it is the ideal platform to contemplate a genuine lesson in symbolism, where Gaudí, and his assistant, Domenech Sugrañes, combine a lamp in the shape of a crown, as a tribute to King Martín I the Humane, and a stained glass window called l’Estel de Venus (“The Star of Venus”), as a sign of veneration to the Virgin Mary and the Three Wise Men.

Finally, the “balcony/box seat” of Bellesguard has become one of the ideal spots for visitors to take a photo, both as a group and individually. Will you resist the temptation to be the next ones to enjoy such an impressive stage?…