NAU GAUDÍ (Gaudí Shed) - Antoni Gaudí, architect, 1883
This is the first building by Antoni Gaudí and the only one that was not promoted by the bourgeoisie or the Church, but rather by one of the first workers’ textile cooperatives. This starting-point of Gaudí’s oeuvre is the cotton whitening shed of the former Sociedad Cooperativa la Obrera Mataronense (Mataró Workers Cooperative Society), with which Gaudí worked from 1873, when he was still an architecture student. Of the entire project he planned, only the whitening shed and the adjoining cylindrical small building for the latrines, both conserved, and two of the workers’ houses, no longer in existence, were actually built.
This is a project whose ideas are key, as it opened up the way to Gaudí’s most authentic creations: the development of arches as supports. If the Mataró cooperative did not exist, Gaudí would not have developed the formulae that he used later for the lofts of the Torre Bellesguard, the Casa Batlló or the Pedrera, the famous stereo-funicular model for the church at the Güell Colony and, of course, the arches and vaults of the Sagrada Família. In the Mataró shed, Gaudí covered a surface area of almost six-hundred square metres without having to use columns or walls. Instead, he joined small wooden spans with iron screws to form lean and resistant arches.
The shed lay abandoned for many years, but in 2002, in the context of what was called “International Gaudí Year”, the Mataró City Council decided to restore and refurbish it to give it a public purpose. The project was entrusted to the Mataró architect, Manuel Brullet i Tenas, who, whilst respecting the patterns of Gaudí’s work, achieved a modern building and a versatile, multi-purpose space, which now holds the Bassat Art Collection.
Building declared a historical-artistic monument by the Spanish State in 1969 and Cultural Asset of National Interest by the Generalitat of Catalonia in 1982.