The footprint of Cèsar Martinell in Maresme Area

Cèsar Martinell i Brunet (Valls, 1888 – Barcelona, 1973) was a very prolific architect, whose work straddles Modernisme and Noucentisme. He had teachers such as Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Antoni Gaudí and August Font i Carreras, among others, and at the Escola d’Art de Francesc d’Assís Galí i Fabra he learned to draw alongside Joan Miró.

At the beginning of his career as an architect, Cèsar Martinell built forty agricultural cooperatives throughout Catalonia, although especially in the south. One of the most outstanding is that of Pinell de Brai. Known as the Cathedral of Vi, it was built in 1922. It is the main tourist attraction of the town, not only for the architectural value of its modernist image, with impressive parabolic arches inside, but also for its decoration, among which A 40-meter ceramic frieze by Xavier Nogués stands out.

Interior de la cooperativa modernista de Pinell de Brai. Su espectacularidad justifica que sea conocida como la Catedral del Vi.

In these agricultural buildings, Martinell used the practical and economical balanced arches of visible brick or catenary arches, following the advices of his teacher Antonio Gaudí.

Seven of the agricultural cooperative buildings signed by Martinell and built between 1918 and 1922 were declared in 2002 Cultural Assets of National Interest as historical monuments. They are in Cornudella de Montsant, Falset, Nulles, Barberà de la Conca, Rocafort de Queralt, Gandesa and, naturally, Pinell de Brai. The Farinera del Sindicat Agrícola de Cervera (main image) was also classified as a historical monument. This architect owes his fame to all these constructions, who from the 1920s worked in Barcelona, where he built numerous residential buildings, and later in Maresme.

 

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In the Maresme region, the Mollfulleda Distillery in Arenys de Mar (1940) stands out among works of Cèsar Martinell. The Mollfulleda Distillery is located in a building in Arenys de Mar that had originally been a flour mill. In 1896, the space was adapted to the distilleries of the popular Calisay liquor brand. The building was remodeled between 1940 and 1941, following the project of the architect Martinell, and rehabilitated again in the 1950s. The facades are inspired by popular architecture and have numerous neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque elements, such as galleries with semicircular arches, ogee-arch windows, or Gothic molding with sculpted corbels. In 1996 the city council of Arenys de Mar acquired the building and turned it into the cultural center that it is today.

Destilería Mollfulleda de Arenys de Mar (foto: Ramon Blanch, Archivo del mNactec)

In this town, Martinell signed numerous residential works and family homes, the room for the Societat Coral l’Esperança (1943), the reform of the Ateneu Arenyense (1943-1945), altars and other works in the parish church of Santa Maria (1940 -1944 and 1946-1947), school and chapel for the Germans of the Presentation (1941-1942), expansion of the Col legi Sant Vicenç de Paül (1941-1943), reconstruction of the Remei hermitage and farmhouse (1928-1931 ).

In Premià de Mar he signed the reform of the cinema, a cafe and several houses (191(). In Mataró he was in charge of the reform of the altarpiece of Nostra Senyora del Roser, Basilica of Santa Maria (1930). In Canet de Mar he carried out the project expansion of the Josep Tenas knitwear factory (1932).

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