A basement is one or more floors of a building that are either completely or partially below the ground floor. Basements are typically used as a utility space for a building where such items as the furnace, water heater, breaker panel or fuse box, car park, and air-conditioning system are located; so also are amenities such as the electrical distribution system, and cable television distribution point. However in cities with high property prices such as London, basements are often fitted out to a high standard and used as living space.
In British English, the word "basement" is used for underground floors of, for example, department stores, but the word is only used with houses when the space below their ground floor is habitable, with windows and (usually) its own access. The word cellar is used to apply to any large underground room. A subcellar is a cellar that lies further underneath.
The Palau Güell (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈɫaw ˈɣweʎ], English: Güell Palace) is a mansion in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí for the Catalan industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell.
The home is centered on a main room for entertaining high society guests. Guests entered the home in horse drawn carriages through the front iron gates, which featured a parabolic arch and intricate patterns of forged iron-work resembling seaweed and in some parts a horsewhip. Animals could be taken down a ramp and kept in the livery stable in the basement where the servants resided, while the guests went up the stairs to the receiving room. The ornate walls and ceilings of the receiving room disguised small viewing windows high on the walls where the owners of the home could view their guests from the upper floor and get a 'sneak peek' before greeting them, in case they needed to adjust their attire accordingly.
The main party room has a high ceiling with small holes near the top where lanterns were hung at night from the outside to give the appearance of a starlit sky.
In 2004, visits by the public were completely suspended due to renovations; some of the stone used in the original construction was weak and has cracked over the years causing structural problems within the building. As of 1 February 2008, Palau Güell was partially reopened to the public, with access to limited parts of the building only. It is currently completely open with all restoration work completed in April 2011.