Modernism’s ‘Apple of Discord’ – Tales & Photos from my Walk

Well, it’s not exactly an apple, but it’s a story that I told during the cultural walk that I organized for the ECSA presidents last weekend.
The Apple of Discord is a famous Greek myth, supposedly provoking the Trojan War. When Eris -the Goddess of Discord, was not invited to a banquet hosted by Zeus, she decided to take her revenge: She threw a golden apple into the banquet with a few words written on it: ‘To the fairest one’. It had the expected result immediately as three of the goddesses present disputed the title of ‘the fairest’: Hera, Aphrodite and Athena. Zeus was too smart to fall into judging the dispute, and instead he directed them to a Trojan shepherd named Paris, whom he praised as a man of good taste. Each of the three goddesses tried to win Paris to her side with temptations and promises, but it was Aphrodite that made the most irresistible promise, and accordingly was voted by Paris as the fairest. The promise was to give him the fairest mortal woman, who happened to be Helen, the wife of the King of Sparta This ‘Judgment of Paris’ provoked the Trojan War as the Spartans moved to bring back Helen from Sparta.

The Spanish word for apple (manzana) has a double meaning: apple (the fruit) and a block of buildings. The ‘Apple of Discord’ is the name given to the most famous block of buildings in Barcelona, dominated by three Modernist buildings, each of which seems to claim being ‘the fairest’ (here there is a double-play with words using both meanings):
Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí;
Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch;
Casa Lleó Morera by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

The three architects are what you can consider to be the holy trinity of Modernist Architecture in Catalonia and Spain in general.
I am attaching photos of all three houses, and you can sit back and think of yourself as Paris: Make your judgment as to which of the three buildings is the fairest, bearing in mind that there are no promises or temptations other than the beauty of design and the exquisiteness of the details.

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