The exhibition ‘Spaces reborn. New uses for Catalan industrial heritage’ is a journey through interventions that have reused industrial heritage in Catalonia over the last few decades. This is a project by the architect Ferran Pont and photographer Teresa Llordés, co-produced by the Antigues Caixes Catalanes Foundation and the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (mNACTEC).
The exhibition highlights the values of industrial architecture in terms of art, history and landscape, and presents examples of reinvention in this context, such as the conversion of factories into museums, schools, libraries and shops. A wide variety of approaches to reusing heritage are shown, ranging from major transformations to minimalist ones, which stress maintaining the industrial landscape.
Historic photography from the late 19th and early 20th centuries plays an important role throughout the exhibition. The images, the result of research in numerous archives, provide a chance to see the buildings as they were originally used and show how their urban context has changed.
With this exhibition, the project, which began in 2014 with the publication of the book Espais recobrats by Ferran Pont and Teresa Llordés and published by mNACTEC, has been given continuity, thanks to the initiative of the Antigues Caixes Catalanes Foundation and the mNACTEC, with the aim of publicising the fieldwork carried out on recovering the industrial heritage of Catalonia.
The opening event is to be held on Thursday, 18 January, at 7 pm. During the event, which is open to the public, the exhibition commissioner, Mr Ferran Pont, will give a guided tour for all those attending.
Contents of the exhibition
The first part of the exhibition presents the diversity of industrial buildings constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries and pioneering examples of the reuse of the buildings. The largest part of the exhibition is the photographic summary of the different interventions, grouped according to the new use given to old industrial spaces.
Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona Central Cornellà plant
In 1905 the Compagnie des Eaux de Barcelone was awarded the concession to extract water from the Llobregat River aquifer, as the Dosrius aquifer used up to then was not enough the meet the supply for the growing population.
Consequently, the Catalan Art Nouveau architect Josep Amargós i Samaranch was commissioned to build a water catchment and pumping station in Cornellà de Llobregat. The works started in 1905 and the building was opened in 1909, becoming the main water catchment facility for the Barcelona metropolitan area.
Currently the Central Cornellà building performs the same main function as when it first opened, an operational industrial plant, while at the same time it is home to the Museu Agbar de les Aigües, a museum on the theme of water, promoted by the Agbar Foundation.
The Museu de les Aigües received the 2010 Micheletti Award in the field of museology from the European Museum Forum and the 2009 Bonaplata Award in the category of rehabilitation of property assets for the ‘report on the project for commissioning steam engine no. 3 in the Electricity Room’.
Antigues Caixes Catalanes Foundation
The Antigues Caixes Catalanes Foundation is the organisation set up to continue the charity work of the Manlleu, Sabadell and Terrassa savings banks. It works throughout Catalonia.
Its aim is to carry out social and cultural initiatives to promote the human, educational and cultural progress of people, based on two concepts: creativity and innovation as a means of fostering traditional values, and a new type of relationship, based on the involvement in each project of associations, organisations and people from the region.
With the support of the BBVA CX bank, it currently organises awards and activities in fields as diverse as literature, theatre, drawing and painting, music, circus, mountain cinema and associations, with the aim of publicising and highlighting professionals, shows, concerts and touring exhibitions throughout Catalonia.
The exhibition ‘Spaces reborn. New uses for Catalan industrial heritage’
Dates and times: 19 January to 18 February 2018 during museum opening hours (Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 6 pm; Sundays and holidays, from 10 am to 2 pm)
Place: Àgora Agbar, Museu Agbar de les Aigües