A space reappropriated. A salute to building with ceramic and to the historical origins of a water tank.
Some construction work carried out in 2001 on the grounds of the Bellesguard Tower in Barcelona – built by Gaudí over the remains of the stronghold of King Martin I of Aragon, also known as Martin the Humane – unveiled the Depósito del Rei Martí, a 14th-century water tank that had been hidden under a pine grove.
A budget was approved and the digging up of the tank began with the intention of keeping it as is, with no alternations. “There are spaces that surface unexpected… Such surprises quickly create a need to appropriate them and give them some use.” This prevents a new space from forming and attracting attention. The idea is to preserve the original as much as possible while giving access to it, for all to appreciate.
Inside, the ceramic is the centerpiece, appearing in seven rows of arches and pillars, separated by Catalan vaults, that serve to organize the almost 600 square meters of space. The walls and floors are clad in wood so as to go unnoticed, interacting with the ceramic to generate a single morphology and produce a special acoustic effect. The luminaires installed at the bottom of the pillars stress the presence of the arches and reinforce the place’s original use as a cistern.
Turned into a versatile cultural space, the water tank seeks to be a salute to history and to ceramic, giving the city a new kind of experience.