El Capricho by Gaudí

El Capricho by Gaudí, whose original name is Villa Quijano, is a Modernist building designed by Antoni Gaudí, located in Comillas, Cantabria.

El Capricho was commissioned by Máximo Díaz de Quijano, who was related to the first Marquis of Comillas. This building was supposed to be Quijano’s summer house.

Antoni Gaudí built this structure between 1883 and 1885. Therefore, it is a contemporary of Casa Vicens, which the Catalan architect built between 1883 and 1888.

The works were directed by Cristóbal Cascante, Gaudí’s partner. Cascante used models and plans by Gaudí. The owner was not able to enjoy his new house for long, as he died months later. The building passed to his sister, whose son carried out a number of reforms.

After the Civil War, the house was abandoned. In 1975, there was an attempt to move the building to Reus, but at the end it was not carried out. The building was sold in 1977 and passed through the hands of several owners, turned into a restaurant. Finally, in 2010 it was made a museum and opened its doors to the public.

El Capricho de Gaudí
Statue of Gaudí in the exteriors of the building.

Exteriors of El Capricho by Gaudí.

Gaudí, in this first work, managed to adapt with brilliance to the requirements of the owner. Máximo Díaz de Quijano was fond of music and botanics.

El Capricho in Comillas has a U-shaped floor plan. Thus, it adapts to the chestnut tree forest where it was located. In addition, it also allowed the great greenhouse to be protected from the northern wind. In this greenhouse, Díaz de Quijano kept all kinds of exotic plants.

The exteriors of the building are made up of stone ashlars in the lower part, and exposed brick with ceramic glaze in the other parts. Curved forms prevail over straight lines. 

In addition, Gaudí knew how to portray the personality of the client. His passion for music and plants is perfectly reflected. The borders of the exterior recreate a pentagram. These strips are decorated with sunflowers.

The main access is in the northern façade. In it, the tower of the building stands out especially. It stands on a small temple formed by four cast columns.

It is completely covered with ceramic glaze, combining green tones and sunflower motifs. The iron railings on the upper part are treble clefs. The tower is inspired on the Persian minarets.

From the outside, other elements stand out, such as the original balconies, whose iron railings serve as a bench. In addition, a system of counterweights for the sliding system was used in the windows.

Tubular bells of different sizes were used. This allowed different sounds to be made when opening and closing.

El Capricho de Gaudí
Bird's-eye view of El Capricho.

Interiors of El Capricho by Gaudí.

The house, in its interior, is designed to be a holiday house. It has three floors: semi-basement, main floor and upper floor. In the semi-basement are the kitchen and the storage areas. 

On the main floor, the hall, the bathroom, the main living room and the greenhouses stand out. It is worth to stop to contemplate the stained glass windows with geometric and ornamental motifs.

El Capricho de Gaudí
Details of a bird playing the piano | Aristoteles.
El Capricho de Gaudí
Details of a bee playing the guitar | Aristoteles.

The entrance hall served as a formal hall, as well as a link with the rest of the rooms. It has a beautiful wooden coffered ceiling, and different geometric motifs in the decoration.

The main living room has a double height. It is very luminous, and it was probably meant to have a glazed cover. Next to it, there is a playroom, designed with a recreational purpose.

El Capricho de Gaudí
Smoking room of the Playroom.
El Capricho de Gaudí

On the upper floor is the attic. This is where the rooms of the in-house employees are located. Together with the greenhouse, it acts as a temperature regulator, as it separates the main floor from the outside temperatures.

El Capricho de Gaudí
Attic of El Capricho.

Location: El Capricho by Gaudí. Barrio de Sobrellano s/n. 39520 Comillas, Cantabria.
Telephone: (+34) 942 720 365.
Web: https://www.elcaprichodegaudi.com

You can check the updated schedule and prices of El Capricho by Gaudí here.

Furthermore, if you wish to stay longer in Comillas, here you have some recommendations on where to sleep, as well as the best restaurants.

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