Presentation of the Mataró Cooperative Rehabilitation Project


The Mataró City Hall has added to the celebration of the Year of Gaudí by approving the rehabilitation of the industrial plant that Gaudí designed in 1878 for one of the first and most significant textile cooperatives in Catalonia: the Cooperativa Obrera Mataronense, or Mataró Worker's Cooperative.

This simple building hides inside "the first stone of Gaudinism," as Daniel Giralt-Miracle, commissioner of the Year of Gaudí, defined the unique structure based on the wooden structures from the Manual of Philibert de l'Orme.

Gaudí's plan included twelve parabolic arches, constructed with three tic wooden boards fastened with rivets. With this technique, he produced a cheap structure and a diaphanous surface, without intermediate pillars, that facilitates the activity carried out within the edifice.

Because of the opening of the Calle Cooperativa street in the late nineteenth century, the structure has been cut down on one of its sides.

The objective of the restoration project, commended to the architect Manuel Brullet, is to fully rehabilitate the plant and to improve the development of the surrounding areas, in order to make the entire complex a multi-purpose municipal facility. A small construction built for restrooms, also designed by Gaudí and located about 20 meters from the main building, will also be restored.

Work is expected to begin in April and to last throughout 2002; this could pose some problems for tourists that want to see the building, but Brullet indicated that guided visits will be held periodically, and Mr. Giralt-Miracle pointed out that "it will also be interesting to see the process of building the arches," since they will be made using hand-crafted techniques.

The Mataró City Hall also presented advance information on the activities that will complement this restoration, such as exhibits, conferences and classical music concerts.

Daniel Giralt-Miracle augured a new future for the image of Mataró, in which Gaudí's building will become the symbol of the city.

Carlos Martínez

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