Despite the fact that the current aspect of Casa Navàs is not the original one, it is true that for most Reus people today’s image is the one that they associate this emblematic modernist building with, because they have always seen this way. In one month’s time, the reconstruction work on the gable will begin and this will change the physiognomy of this Domènech i Montaner work forever. Therefore, Casa Navàs invites all the citizens to immortalise its aspect through the “Be a witness, experience the change” campaign. A fast-painting contest will be organised and also a photography contest for the social networks.

Painting contest

The fast-painting contest will take place on Saturday the 11th of January in collaboration with CT Art Gallery, for everybody who wants to can take part and the aim is to immortalise the façade of Casa Navàs. There will be three categories: Adults (over 16 years old), Youngsters (from 10 to 15 years old) and Infants (under 10 years old). The prize for the Adult category is a cheque for 600 €, for the Youngsters, a Samsung Galaxy Tab A10.1, painting material and two tickets to visit Casa Navàs and, for the Infants, a set of painting and handcraft products valued at over 100€ and two tickets for the guided visit and the jigsaw puzzle of the house.

Contest registration is free and can be done from the 21st of December and up to one hour before the start of the contest in Casa Navàs or by sending an e-mail to info@casanavas.cat. Each participant can enter just one work and the technique and procedure will be free choice. The registration, paper stamping and the canvases will be done on the same day of the contest from 10.30 to 11am in the Casa Navàs shop. The size of the work must be A3. The organisation will give a sheet to each artist. If the participant wants to use another type of support, they should bring it. The works must be handed in before 1.15pm.

The jury may declare any prize null and void and its verdict is irrevocable. The winners will be declared on the same day of the contest at 1.45pm in Casa Navàs. The awarded works will remain the property of the organisers and will be temporarily exhibited on the front window of Casa Navàs.

Photography contest for social networks

For those who prefer the camera to the brush, Casa Navàs has also set up a photography contest on Facebook and Instagram. The winner will get a set of Casa Navàs products valued at over 100 €. The photos must be good quality as the winning ones will be printed.

In order to participate you just have to be inspired and take a good photo of the house’s façade. Once posted on these two networks, the photo must be tagged with the Casa Navàs profile (@casanavas.reus), using hashtag #ViuelcanviCasaNavàs, mention the people that you want to share the prize with and follow the house’s profile.

The photographs can be posted from the 21st of December and the deadline for publication is the 25th of January. A jury will choose three finalist photos and they will be exhibited on the front window of Casa Navàs. Once the three images have been chosen, these will be posted on the profile @casanavas.reus, the photo with most likes in one week will win the contest. The verdict will be made public on the 3rd of February.

December 30, 2019

The reconstructions tasks will end before Easter

Setting up of the “Be a witness, experience the change” campaign in order to immortalise the façade’s current appearance

The Spanish Civil War changed the physiognomy of Casa Navàs forever. Now, eighty years later, the current owners of the house have decided to give it back its original appearance. The restoration will be carried out gradually and the first step is to reconstruct the gable, which will be finished at Easter. In order to immortalise the current image of the house, they have set up the “Be a witness, experience the change” campaigns, a painting and photography contest in which the winners will be awarded up to 600 €.

Reus was one of the most punished Catalan cities during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing of the city was constant and in the early morning of the 26th of March 1938 a bomb destroyed the roof on the second floor, the tower and the gable. A few years later, the owners at that time  –Joaquim Blasco and Maria Font de Rubinat- had the roof and the walls on the second floor reconstructed, but they couldn’t recover the tower or the gable.

Eighty years after the destruction, the current owners of Casa Navàs have decided to restore the effects that the War had on one of the most emblematic works designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Recovering the original aspect will be gradual and the first thing that will be done is to rebuild the gable. The works will begin in January and will be finished at Easter.

Description of the original gable

The gable was made up of 5 rectangular panels placed gradually on 3 levels separated by pinnacles, making a triangle over the gallery axis. From the conserved fragments, the panel features can be defined, sculpted with vegetation motifs and framed by a trilobed arch. The axis of each piece made a branch with leaves that reached the base, twisting to define the two secondary axes. There was a 5-petal flower under each arch with a perforated sphere in the centre. The branches spiralled along the sides of the flowers, two leaves re-routing the organic line of the main axis towards the meeting point between the geometric arch. The space between the central arch and the lateral one was filled with two flowers. All the ornamental pieces of the gable had the same design.

Very partial parts of the pinnacle remain, which makes it necessary to create models inspired on similar elements from other parts of the building. In the centre of the gable’s smooth panel wall, there was a circular medallion with ornaments and the date 1904 could be seen. This medallion will also be recovered in the reforms.

The gable’s stability was provided by its size –its surface area was 8.60 m2, it was 4 metres high and 4.74 m wide- and also because of the geometry of the roof, made up of gabled ends behind it. When reconstructing the roof, after the bombing, haste eliminated the chance to redo the gable and the roofed part that supported it.

Recovering the gable

With the aim of corroborating what the original gable was and to recreate the design in plans, the architects Pau Jansà Olivé and Joan Tous Gomà-Camps and conservator-restorer Pau Arroyo Casals have designed an architectural project. In order to do so, historical research has been carried out along with drawing on information from archive photographs and plans. The project was approved by the Catalan Government’s Heritage Commission of Tarragona las July. The works will be carried out by the Reus restoration company Rècop which, with over 25 years of experience, has been in charge of many important restorations throughout the country, like the Casa Batlló façade restoration and the pavilion of Sant Manel within the historic site of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona.

The first step in the reconstruction has been to gather the original stones that, from eighty years ago, have been dispersed over different estates owned by the Font de Rubinat family. When the bomb destroyed part of Casa Navàs, the pieces were stored in a house in the prison street and, little by little, they moved them by carriage to the estates that the family had on the outskirts of the city. The stones were sedimentary, brought from Vinaixa (Lleida), and, in order to respect the same characteristics, the reconstruction will also use natural stone from Vinaixa.

The restorers and the stonecutters who are in charge of the works, are taking the final decisions about what is the best method to make the replicas of the pieces. Although it was first thought the best way was to make a mould, now they are opting for specialised stonecutters who can reproduce the pieces with natural stone using pieces recovered from the panels with stone as models. To make the decorated pieces for the frontispiece, three months of uninterrupted work was required, while Rècop will continue working on the façade of the house to prepare for the arrival of the gable. The scaffolding to start the works will be set up at the beginning of the second fortnight of January.

Once the scaffold is in place, the geometry of the roof will have to be changed to stabilise the gable and give it back its original appearance. After demolishing the part of the existing roof affected by the intervention, a three-dimensional structure will be built of steel profiles supported by plates over the existing pillars and a triangle attached to the rear of the new gable. The structure will reproduce the corner of the new stretch of roof. Using the plans for the three-dimensional steel structure, the new roof will be made with a ceramic dovetail, thermal insulation and finished with original reused tile.

The centre of the gable is made up of smooth stones, these will be placed first and they will be joined with fibreglass rods. The contour of the gable has decorative pieces and these will be the last to be put in place. Once the works have been finished, a chrome patina will be applied (lime water with inorganic pigments) to the entire surface area, the same technique used in modernist times. This will give the entire façade homogeneity and will also protect it. At the same time, the upper part of the façade will be cleaned.

“Be a witness, experience the change” campaign

Despite the fact that the current aspect of Casa Navàs is not the original one, it is true that for most Reus people today’s image is the one that they associate this emblematic modernist building with, because they have always seen this way. In one month’s time, the reconstruction work on the gable will begin and this will change the physiognomy of this Domènech i Montaner work forever. Therefore, Casa Navàs invites all the citizens to immortalise its aspect through the “Be a witness, experience the change” campaign. A fast-painting contest will be organised and also a photography contest for the social networks.

December 20, 2019

Ten original pieces with decorative motifs have been inventoried

The owners of Casa Navàs have decided to recover the original aspect of what is one of the most important modernists buildings in the whole of Europe. The first step for this reconstruction has been to gather all the original stones, ten of which have decorative motifs. Now they are being inventoried and catalogued in order to produce replicas that are identical to the originals.

Reus was the third most bombarded Catalan city during the Spanish Civil War. Chance had it that one of the bombs hit Casa Navàs, destroying the roof on the second floor, the gable and the tower. This fact changed, once and for all, the original aspect of one of the most emblematic buildings designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

Now, the owners of Casa Navàs, consisting of the businessman Xavier Martínez and the heiress Dolors Blasco, have decided to restore the effects of the War and recover two of the house’s emblems; the tower and the gable. These works will be carried out gradually and, for the time being, they will be focused only on one of the two projects that will become a reality in 2020.

After developing the architectonic project, very experienced restorers in the sector have started the reconstruction works. The first thing that has been done is to gather all the original stones that have been dispersed, for many years, among the various estates owned by the Font de Rubinat family. Specifically, ten pieces with decorative motifs have been found. Of these, five belong to the façade, mainly the cornice, and there is still a doubt as to whether some of them formed part of the tower or not. The other five are from the gable. There are also other pieces with straight lines that are part of the prismatic-shaped ashlars and straighter cornices that were not used in the first reconstruction.

When the bomb hit Casa Navàs, the owners of the house, at that time Joaquim Blasco and Maria Font de Rubinat, saved the stones in one of the buildings they had in the prison street and, little by little, they moved them by carriage to the estates that the family had on the outskirts of the city. Since then, the pieces have been spread all over these lands. Now, 80 years later, the owners have decided to gather them together in order to catalogue them and to guarantee their future conservation.

December 13, 2019