Museums and exhibition spaces

Sabadell. Barcelona

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Building for the Social Intervention Programme of Caixa Sabadell - Phase1

Esteve Bonell Costa y Josep Ma Gil Guitart, arquitectos

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This refurbishment project becomes a paradigm of how the subtleness of certain architectural resources permits intervening on the existing heritage, respecting it while enhancing its values within the framework of a contemporary language.

The headquarters for the Social Intervention Programme of the Caja de Ahorros de Sabadell savings bank, which occupies two buildings designed by the architect Jeroni Martorell between the years 1908 and 1910 at the service of the Industrial School for Arts and Crafts of Sabadell, proposed in the year 2006 to architecturally refurbish the complex to transform it into a regional landmark in two main fields of action: diffusing and divulging new knowledge and new technologies, and promoting the arts in general.

To achieve this objective, the project proposed to rejuvenate and reaffirm the image of the building, recovering the initial state of the spaces affected by the continuous reforms carried out since the year 1965 and improving its energy efficiency. It was sought to find spaces suited to the demands of the new programme, improving the building’s flexibility, eliminating mezzanines and intermediate pillars and rationalising the spaces, with the intention of adapting them to more suitable uses. It was sought to boost the cultural impact of the proposal on the city and the region as a whole, through new, well-equipped spaces for exhibitions, a new assembly hall with greater capacity and a new location better connected with the exterior that would permit recovering the old drawing room situated below the roof of the main building, thus enhancing the attractiveness of visiting a modernist hall and its unique access staircase.

In the year 2007 the management of the Social Intervention Programme decided to undertake the project in two phases, of which only the first has been completed. This first phase, which is the one we are here presenting, deals with the renovation of the smaller building, the old machinery room of the industrial school, known as the workshop of “les cosidores” (the seamstresses), characterised by its industrial serrated roof and which was used as a storeroom for the old library. The project has in these buildings the spaces with the largest capacity, an exhibition hall and the new assembly hall.

Two large spaces: a newly-created one built eight meters below the old workshop, without altering it, is the new assembly hall with a width of 16 metres (4 metres wider than the old building) and capacity for 390 spectators. And another one that had the objective of reforming the old workshops to transform them into an exhibition hall, recovering the roof lights and the interior shed space of the roof. At the same time, a new entrance to the complex was built from the street, plus a new vestibule situated between the two buildings, with a staircase that seeks to connect the two large spaces.

This refurbishment project has utilised a reduced variety of new materials: continuous oil-finished floorboards made from solid European oak throughout the building, white-painted plasterboard for ceilings and walls in the exhibition hall and a cladding in acoustic panels finished in natural maple veneer for the assembly hall.

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Autores: Esteve Bonell Costa y Josep Ma Gil Guitart, arquitectos. Dirección de proyecto: Núria Sabaté Giner. Colaboradores: Matthieu Buquet, Esteve Gil Honorato, Roger Parareda Casals, Nader Seraj, Katja Wildhaber. Arquitecto técnico: Enric Rego Marful. Asesoramiento acústico: Higini Arau. Estructuras: Robert Brufau Niubó – BOMA. Clara Bretón Brat, dirección de proyecto. Instalaciones: Albert Salazar Junyent – Instal•Lacions Arquitectòniques. David Domènech, dirección de proyecto. Seguridad y Salud: Francesc Xairó I Associats. Constructora: Contratas y Obras Empresa Constructora. David Sanchez, dirección de proyecto. Instalaciones. Gestión Integral de Instalaciones. Promotor: Caixa d’Estalvis de Sabadell. Fotografía: Lluis Casals.
Esteve Bonell i Costa
Josep Maria Gil Guitart
Lluis Casals