Catalana Occidente buys Gaudí’s Bellesguard Tower
The Grupo Catalana Occidente has reached an agreement to acquire the modernist Bellesguard tower to the Guilera family, current owners of the property. After months of rumors of sale of this emblematic Barcelona building built by Antoni Gaudí, the insurer and the family have confirmed the transaction in a statement on Friday.
The operation, the group has emphasized, responds to the vocation of contributing value to society and has exceptional character. The company will invest in the conservation and restoration of Torre Bellesguard, maintaining the lines of action of the Guilera family, which rehabilitated it from its own pocket and opened it to the public five years ago. However, the distance from the center and the amount of Gaudí works that can be visited today have reduced the success of the influx initially planned.
The farm will keep the tourist visits and events that it hosts, as well as its use of heritage space. Being a property listed as a Cultural Asset of National Interest (BCIN), public administrations have the right of pre-emption and retraction on the operation, although they would have declined the preferential purchase option, which must be made at the same price agreed upon by the two private parties.
For the family it has been key that the buyer of the property is a business group with “special sensitivity” towards art and culture, given the relevance of the Bellesguard Tower within the work of Gaudí. The sale and purchase would reach 33 million euros.
The Guilera family bought the Bellesguard Tower in 1944 and have been its owners for more than 70 years. Initially it was used as a hospital, since Luis Guilera was a renowned doctor and pioneer in the study of cancer. In 1974 the tower became the habitual residence of the family. The deterioration of the great cross that crowns the tower forced a first rehabilitation action and in 2011 the Guilera took the decision to initiate an integral action in order to safeguard this heritage and open it to visits, undertaking the necessary steps and investments to put in March the tourist activity.
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The facade of the Passion of the Sagrada Família as never seen
Visitors who come these days to the Sagrada Família may see a new part of the Expiatory Temple. It is the sculptural group of the Resurrection, located on the facade of the Passion, formed by the three Marys and the Angel.
Of course, you can see the new sculptures from the street only “for a few days” because on Thursday the platform that covered the summit was removed and is scheduled to be put back to finish the final work. “On Monday the network that will embrace the columns to work the lower part “.
The same sources add that the sculptural group “yes that is finalized, but the summit can not be finished until the month of July.”
Today we retired the platform that hi had to the summit. During few days, from the square of Sagrada Família, you can contemplate the sculptural set of the Resurrection, located of the facade of the Passion.
The group is formed by Mary Magdalene, Mary Cleophas, Mary Salome and the Angel, announcing the resurrection of Christ in the Holy Sepulcher. The sculptor and architect Francesc Fajula has been commissioned to build the four stone sculptures, about three meters high and weighing more than ten tons in total.
In this place, on the terrace, between the portico and the central window of the facade, there is also the quarry of the empty tomb that Gaudí projected to represent the abandoned quarry in which the tomb of Jesus Christ was excavated. In addition, in this area, full of symbolism, there is an orchard with Mediterranean vegetation.
The Sagrada Família shows a façade of the Passion that has never been seen while the temple construction works continue. Gaudí’s masterpiece began to be erected in 1882 and it is expected that the six central towers of the monument will be finished in 2022.
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The architect appears in an unpublished photo of 1924, in La Pobla de Lillet, next to the Count of Güell
The first thing is to document this unknown image of a Gaudi so little photographed, despite the fame achieved, captured in the Pobla de Lillet in 1924. The finding has been the result of a laborious task in charge of the Center d’Estudis Lillet, which has prepared a permanent exhibition in the Pobla de Lillet in homage to Güell-Gaudí.
Gaudí, with a white beard, impeccably dressed and wearing a hat, figures in the center of a triangle formed by three characters. In first term and uncovered head, Mariano Expósito, finished being named mayor of the town. On the right and with a white jacket, the Count of Güell, Juan Antonio Güell López, who in 1930 will be imposed at the head of the Mayor of Barcelona. To the left of the group, the Marquis of Ferrer-Vidal, Juan José Ferrer-Vidal Güell, vice-president of the cement company Asland.
Just behind, the apostolic administrator Valentí Comellas Santamaria, who in 1933 will be Bishop of Solsona. On the right, Dr. Filiberto Cisneros, local doctor and company Asland, together with Albert Trias, the school teacher.
Why are they there? It is on July 25, Sant Jaume, and the first stone of the chapel dedicated to the saint will be placed next to the cement, and also the first stone of the monument to Eusebi Güell Bacigalupi, first Count of Güell, patron of Gaudí. This last ceremony explains that the great architect, in spite of his badly worn 72 years and mortified by rheumatism, is in the Pobla de Lillet.
That July coincides with the 24th anniversary of the cement factory Asland, a society promoted by the Count of Güell and for geographical reasons built in Castellar de n’Hug, very close to the Pobla de Lillet. It was the first in Catalonia to produce industrial cement and the first in Spain dedicated to obtaining Portland.
It also justifies the presence of Gaudí that in 1902, parallel to the construction of the factory, the Count of Güell commissioned him to project the villa very close to the mines of Catllaràs (La Pobla de Lillet), supplying the coal that consumed the cement, with so that it would house the Asland engineers. More than a chalet, it is better to describe it as a refuge: the double curvature of its two façades, with a pointed vault that reminds in a certain way the gabled roof of the Güell del Garraf winery, was justified by the harsh winter weather, snowfall included
In that one 1902, Gaudí stayed two days in the tower of the textile manufacturer Joan Artigas Alart, near his great and prosperous industry. The owner took the opportunity to ask Gaudí to project the gardens of his house. And he did not pray: he drew a sketch, which was interpreted and carried out by a bricklayer of his complete trust, from the company of Josep Pardo Casanovas, contractor of the Park Güell, helped by local workers.
The works began in 1903 with the construction of the grotto of the Font de la Magnèsia, which gives its name to the place, and only part of the gardens that Joan Artigas Alart finished, who died in 1903. It was his son, Joan Artigas Casas, who concluded his father’s dream in 1910.
Some accused slopes facilitated an original creation, with its grotto, its gazebo, its fountains, its artificial waterfall and also its bridge of the Arcs, dated in 1907, all sorts of combinations of rocks and stones, not a few rails, stone cladding on religious and floral themes, in addition to electric lighting with colored light bulbs. He did not forget the planting of flowers, trees and shrubs, chosen by Gaudí himself at Park Güell and sent there.
The Artigas family gave these gardens to be restored in 1992 by the specialist in Gaudí and architect Joan Bassegoda Nonell, under municipal management, today well preserved and visited.
That same 1924, Gaudí attended in the Barcelona church of the Concepció to the wedding of the daughter of the industrial Artigas Alart, Carme Artigas.
Series of commemorative events
In La Pobla de Lillet, the following events will be held to commemorate the centenary of the death of Eusebi Güell Bacigalupi. Permanent Exhibition of Centenari Güell: The fantastic món del Carrilet (from June to October). 1 of July: representation of the poem Canigó de Jacint Verdaguer, according to the adaptation in prose of Artur Martorell. July 7: Brins de Verdaguer, short film. 8th and 9th of July: visit to the Ciment Museum (Castellar de n’Hug). Tour of the Ciment train to Jardins Artigas and La Pobla de Lillet. Commemorative plaque to Eusebi Güell Bacigalupi in the Font del Güell. Open day at the Centenari Güell Exhibition (La Pobla de Lillet). Screening of the film: Güell i Gaudí to La Pobla de Lillet. Organized by: Center d’Estudis Lillet and Ajuntament de la Pobla de Lillet.
The time distribution of this video is limited. Can be viewed at tv3.cat until 25/06/2017 at 23:59 Don´t miss it, if you want to know the history of Sagrada Familia in 30-40 min.
Awesome images of Gaudí in video
The program “30 minutes” presents for the first time ever, a film by Antoni Gaudí made a year before his death. So far only had to record a few pictures of the architect, but had never seen the image of Gaudí moving.
Copy and paste in your browser to watch
The program is in catalan with subtitles in catalan also (sorry, but not in english)
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It is the eighth and last Unesco World Heritage that opens to the public in Barcelona and plans to host 150,000 annual visitors
The Vicens house by Antoni Gaudí will open its doors to the general public for the first time in the fall of 2017. Located on Carolines street in Barcelona, at the western end of the Gràcia neighborhood, it was acquired in 2014 by MoraBanc banking through Your investment vehicle Amura Capital. The entity has assumed the four million euros that has cost its laborious rehabilitation and adaptation, which has extended one year more than expected.
The Vicens house was built between 1883 and 1885 and for 130 years has maintained exclusively the use of family residence, first only summer and then as usual. Now he will propose a cultural visit for those interested in modernist architecture, who will be able to know the beginnings of Gaudí through a work considered as the prelude to Catalan Modernism.
The property expects to receive about 150,000 people per year, has detailed the project director, Joan Abellà. The visit to the house will be completed with a permanent exhibition based on three blocks of content: the history of the estate, the Casa Vicens as an essential manifesto of Gaudí’s work and the social, cultural and artistic context in which he has lived and evolved. The price of tickets has not yet been made public.
It is the eighth building in Barcelona listed as Unesco World Heritage in 2005 and will be the last of this select list to open to visitors. It is preceded by the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Park Güell, Palau Güell, Palau de la Música and Hospital de Sant Pau. It was the first house that made Gaudí after graduating in the Provincial School of Architecture of Barcelona, in 1883.
A singular and living work
The building has a brick and glazed ceramic covering with Arab and medieval influences. Gaudí recreated in it the figurative worlds in vogue at that time, but at the same time incorporated more personal decorative and symbolic elements, which announce the creative freedom that will be present in all his future work.
The Jover family bought the house in 1899 from the widow of the businessman Manuel Vicens and transferred it from parents to children for a century, until its sale to the Andorran group for an amount that is still unknown. In 1925 the house underwent a major reform and expansion, which the Jover commissioned a friend of Gaudí, the architect Joan Baptista Serra de Martínez. They wanted to stay to live all year in the house, originally conceived for summer stays, has told the museologist Marta Antuñano, so they asked to transform it into three independent floors.
The spaces recovered
The architects Jose Antonio Martinez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García sign the meticulous project of rehabilitation and restoration, with which they have claimed the original originality of the Gaudinian work. Martinez Lapeña has stressed the need to “give life to an object at risk of disappearing and restore it as was estimated” at the beginning, taking into account that housing is the space that have undergone less modifications over time.
Antuñano explained that the museological proposal will be precisely to recover an original source located in the courtyard and “put in value the original work” of the house.
The renovation will also mean the recovery of the terrace and an original staircase in the central part of the building, which gave meaning to the single-family home and which was lost in the 1925 renovation to divide the building, said the architect David Garcia. “Having no original reference to Gaudí’s staircase, we have decided to restore a staircase that will not try to imitate Gaudí’s and will comply with current regulations,” explained Lapeña.
The impact of tourism
The veteran director has remarked that the project takes into account that the house will open its doors in a moment of reflection on the impact of tourism in Barcelona. Therefore, the team works with the District of Gràcia and the Department of Tourism of the City of Barcelona to develop a Plan of tourist impact in the neighborhood. Abellà, who was manager of the MACBA until last May, wants the local visitor to occupy a preponderant place in the public of the new space.
Caroline Street is very narrow and the sidewalks are small, so the possible crowds generate suspicion among the neighbors of the area. To avoid the generation of queues, Casa Vicens
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The sculptural ensemble remained hidden for years in the gardens of the Pedralbes Palace
The Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Güell Park, Casa Milà … The work of Antoni Gaudí is world famous. His legacy remains more alive than ever and a century later Catalan is able to attract millions of people who crowd at the doors of these – and other buildings – to delight in his talented modernist style. The legacy of Gaudí is broad, with great works that elevated him and other more unknown that surprise those who discover them for the first time. Is this the case of the Hercules Fountain of the Palau Reial de Pedralbes?
It is, surely, one of the most secret works of Antoni Gaudí. So much so, that for many years was ignored, remaining hidden behind the vegetation of the place for those who worked for much of the twentieth century in maintaining the palace. Until 1984: since then, the source of Hercules, or of Gaudí, can be visited, restored and functioning, in the gardens of this emblematic corner of the city.
The story of this ‘forgotten’ work of Gaudí goes back to 1884, when the artist was commissioned by the politician Eusebi Güell, his patron, to design the gardens of the estate of 30,000 square meters he had acquired a few months earlier in the area Diagonal . To reform the exteriors of the old farmhouse of Can Feliu, Gaudí opted for mythology, recreating the legend of the garden of the Hesperides.
This tells the story of Heracles (or Hercules), who was able to steal golden apples from the garden of the goddess Hera, which, according to beliefs, guaranteed immortality. This idyllic and magical place was guarded by a dragon, Ladon, who after falling defeated by the god Atlas began to shed tears of blood. From every tear, by the way, a dragon was born. Hence Hercules and this animal are the two protagonists of this source realized in the most orientalist stage of the sculptor, and that is marked by the artistic influences of regions like Persia or Japan.
Most of the recovery of this work is the architect Ignasi Serra, who discovered during a cleaning project in the exterior of the palace this source hidden among the vegetation. The source had a curved bench and a stone sink with the coat of arms of Catalonia, a central column with a pedestal -empty- and a spout with the morphology of a wrought iron dragon.
All the elements of the source found are original, except the bust of Hercules. There are old photographs showing a large bust of the god on the pedestal, figure that was not found during the discovery of Ignasi Serra. In this way, the image of Hercules is the most recent of a sober sculptural set that integrates with the nature of the gardens of the Palace of Pedralbes and that since 1984 returns to emanate water after many years of silence.