After five years of remodelling and restoration, in April this year Casa Masó - the house where the architect Rafael Masó (1880-1935) was born - will open its doors to the public. Masó reformed the family residence in two phases, first from 1910 to 1912, at his father´s request in order to unify the interiors and façades of three contiguous houses; then again in 1918-19, when his brother Santiago added a fourth house to the collection. Restoration has fundamentally consisted of recovering and reinstalling original architectural and decorative elements, as well as eliminating certain later structures that were not Masó´s work, so as to return the house to the appearance it had around 1920.
The architectural language employed in Casa Masó had abandoned Gaudí´s organicism and was much closer to the Arts & Crafts movement and the new central-European Regionalist architecture, with a predominance of formal austerity and the incorporation of materials and techniques from local architecture. For this reason, the interiors, furnishings and decoration of Casa Masó evoke the work of architects who Masó admired, above all Voysey, Mackintosh, Baillie Scott, Hoffmann, Muthesius and Olbrich. In this sense, Masó´s work on Casa Masó is a small anthology of his contributions to the language of architecture and interior design, since here he could work without fear of rejection, striving to realise that which he and his generation upheld as ideal. As a noucentista (Noucentisme was the early twentieth-century cultural movement that reacted against Modernisme), in turn-of-the-century Girona, it was paramount to portray a certain image of modernity that was strongly anchored in mythical narrations of Catalonia´s historical and cultural tradition.
The first temporary exhibition to be shown in the house includes Masó´s original drawings to renovate the building and the design of stained glass and furnishings. Visits to Casa Masó are always guided and in small groups, so it is recommendable always to book ahead.