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  • Catalana de Gas Water Tower - Barcelona

  • Catalana de Gas Water Tower - Barcelona

Catalana de Gas Water Tower

The introduction of gas into cities was one of the most important innovations of the 19th century. In 1843, the gas lighting company, the Societat Catalana per a l’Enllumenat de Gas, which was a pioneer in Spain, built a factory in the Barceloneta neighbourhood, which was close to the port, where coal – the raw material for gas – was unloaded.

The use of gas in the home and in street lighting grew over time. Josep Domènech i Estapà was commissioned to design a 45-metre-high water tower with a circular tank at the top, in order to increase the water pressure required to produce gas. This elegant and unique art nouveau structure, with its exposed brickwork and broken-mosaic-tile exterior and monumental interior staircase, was built between 1905 and 1907.

Towards the end of the 20th century, electric lighting technology and competition from natural gas in heat production led the factory to close in 1971 and it was demolished as part of the redevelopment of the area for the 1992 Olympic Games.

The site was transformed into the Parc de la Barceloneta with its sports facilities. The water tower and the steel shell of the gasometer were preserved. The former offices that were built at the same time as the tower, and also designed by Domènech i Estapà, were converted into the municipal environmental education centre, the Fàbrica del Sol.

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