CaixaFòrum (85)

The CaixaForum is one of Barcelona’s and Europe’s great cultural centres. It is located in one of the jewels of Catalan Modernism, the Casaramona factory, an industrial building put up at the start of the twentieth century as a textiles factory. 

Casimir Casaramona commissioned the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch to build a new factory at the foot of the Montjuïc hill. Built in the Modernist style, it was completed in 1911 and, as was usual in this kind of industrial plant, had its horizontal lines simplified. Only the two towers on the site break this horizontal perspective.

These two big towers were water tanks to guard against fire. The plant was provided with the most modern fire protection systems of the time, because the owner’s previous factory had burnt down.

It is built entirely in bare brick, following the traditional system of Catalan building. The adornment is very limited, with only some ceramic pieces in the towers, a mosaic with the initials of the owner and two stone decorations over the door of the tower on the Carrer de Lleida. But the forms achieved with the brick, especially the finish on the outside walls and the wrought iron items, make it a highly original construction. It is one of the most extraordinary complexes of industrial Modernism in Catalonia.

 Opened in 1913, the year of the death of its owner, the factory closed in 1920. It then became a police stables and vehicle pound, marking the start of a process of oblivion and deterioration.  

This was the case until ”la Caixa” bought the factory in 1963, to install a huge cultural complex with large exhibition halls, an Arts Laboratory and the home of its contemporary art collections. 

The building has now been completely overhauled and refitted, but its original appearance has been conserved. In front of the main entrance a big glass and steel structure designed by the Japanese architect, Arata Isozaki, has been erected.

With the opening of CaixaForum, the ”la Caixa” Foundation has a new space in Barcelona where it can exhibit on a permanent basis its collection of Contemporary Art (created in 1985). 

Its more than 800 works make it one of Spain’s most important contemporary art collections. Works that up to now had only been shown in temporary exhibitions in various Spanish and international cities. As well as the latest trends in photography and plastic arts. One of the most outstanding pieces is Lead Room, by Joseph Beuy, which is in the permanent collection.

In its more than 3,000 square metres, CaixaForum has, among other facilities, a magnificent auditorium that can hold 350 people; a media library/book library equipped with the latest interactive and multimedia technology; a teaching workshop; three exhibition rooms; conservation and restoration workshops; two halls for polyvalent use, a shop/bookshop and a café-restaurant. 

The ”la Caixa” Foundation with CaixaForum offers a new functional space where it develops a large number of activities in the framework of its educational, cultural and social programmes, aimed at all kinds of public. As well as being an internationally renowned centre of contemporary art. 

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