Industrial architecture

Mataró. Barcelona

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Nau Gaudí

Manuel Brullet Tenas y Alfonso de Luna Colldefors, arquitectos

Description Technical file

This project, consisting of the restoration and remodelling of the “nau de blanqueig”, the bleaching hall of the Mataró Workers’ Cooperative, the work of Antonio Gaudí, has permitted recovering one of the most forgotten yet basic pieces in the body of work of this architect of genius.

The works for restoring and remodelling the “nau de blanqueig” of the Mataró Workers’ Cooperative have been filled with practical and methodological difficulties, as they required restoring and remodelling a completely degraded building on which a great deal of information was lacking, among other things the time of its construction.

The intervention began with a very full survey of the existing building in order to then proceed to its reconstruction and, finally, to the reconstruction of the parts of the building where such an action was possible. We could say that a Gaudí building has been rebuilt from a volumetric and spatial viewpoint but that, at the same time, somehow a new edifice has been built that is attentive to and respectful towards the old one.

Gaudí designed a load bearing structure to gain the 12-m span in the shape of a parabolic arch, built from three layers of planks of reduced length linked up by bolts that pierce the three layers. This structural section repeated over six stretches and then expanded to twelve defines, qualifies and occupies the magnificent space of this building, in such a way that the load bearing structure becomes the protagonist of its architecture. This very modest Gaudí project, with no pretensions and without representative connotations, plays a very important role in the evolution of his work, given its magnitude and the importance that the purely constructional aspects have in the project.

The aim is to give this remodelled and restored “nau de blanqueig” new polyvalent uses. This means that the restored building has to possess a good set of features from the climatic and environmental point of view and must be properly fitted out and comply with the regulations. The proposal required building a large basement in the four first centrelines of the building to house the air conditioning machinery, the new facilities, the lift machinery between the ground floor and the basement, a staircase and some storerooms.

Owing to the impossibility of recovering the original west façade, the proposal came up with a new one that has no relation to the previous one. It is a translucent and opal glass façade, with air chamber and a special treatment that boosts the natural light in the original building, with more suitable lighting for its new uses.

The air conditioning installation has been embedded in the floor, with air inlet and outlet through grilles situated in the flooring. In order to obtain a good intake of air, three cylindrical elements have been designed on the external part of the building, near the chimney. The air outlet for the whole installation is through the primitive factory chimney of the complex.

Glass was chosen as the differentiating element between the features of the original building and the new ones. We decided on transparent and opal glass for the West façade, Securit glass for the entrance doors, Securit glass for enclosing the lift and configuring the handrail of the new stairs and transparent glass to define the South façade. These new-technology materials are differentiated from the materials of the late nineteenth century and at the same time reflect and multiply the parts of the work designed by Gaudí.

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Situación: Mataró. Barcelona. Autores: Manuel Brullet Tenas y Alfonso de Luna Colldefors, arquitectos. Colaboradores: Jaume Piñol Font, Sílvia Salueña, arquitectos, Manuel Arguijo, arquitecto estructuras, Xavier Brullet, ingeniero instalaciones. Aparejadores: Joan Rivas, Ramon Teixidó, Joan Montero. Constructora: Seclasa. Promotor: Ayuntamiento de Mataró. Fotografía: Lluis Casals y Miquel Tres.
Manuel Brullet
Alfonso De Luna
Lluis Casals
Miquel Tres (Mtres Fotografía)
Sabadell, Barcelona