The Carreras Tower – Abandoned in Barcelona, ​​Spain

On the left side of the Pujada Roja de Manresa there is a large tower built into the side of the hill. This is the Carreras tower, a grandiose building made with good architecture that looks like a small palace. It was built around 1920 following the Noucentista style. The Carreras tower is the most successful example of Noucentisme in Manresa. Despite the great interest and architectural and artistic value, the building is in a process of ruin that has accelerated in recent years. And this is particularly serious because it could have been avoided if care and diligence had been taken to protect the heritage.The first time I went to see the tower was at the end of 2014. There was an Italian boyfriend who told me that he guarded the tower and also did maintenance. I was able to see a little of the interior and discovered that it was spectacular, like a small Renaissance palace. The magnificent interior matched the impressive exterior of the great tower. At that time, the state of preservation of the complex was quite good. Even so, it remained a large abandoned building that foreshadowed its imminent decline.

That first visit caused me concern and perplexity to see that such an extraordinary building was so unknown to the people of Manresa. I discussed it with colleagues at the Study Center and we agreed that it was a building that needed to be cared for. In January 2015 I returned to the Carreras Tower to take some photographs. My surprise was great when I saw that the building was completely abandoned, there was no one to guard it. The front door was open. People had entered inside and their passage had left a trail of destruction. There was graffiti on the walls which ruined and destroyed the charm of the interiors. In some places they had made holes in the floor, in others they had knocked down walls, they had destroyed the few pieces of furniture that were preserved. A total disaster. That situation impacted me a lot. I could not understand how it was possible that today, before our eyes, an asset that is part of our heritage, which is included in the Manresa Heritage Plan, could be destroyed with impunity.The newspaper Regió 7 on 7/4/2015 said: «The vandalization of the Carreras tower in Manresa has been ongoing for more than 6 years. In 2009, it was already possible to freely enter the interior of the most valuable 19th century house, protected by the heritage catalogue.

From the Bages Studies Center we reported the case to those responsible for Heritage at the Manresa City Council. We were surprised that they didn’t know anything about it. But the most incomprehensible and outrageous thing was that they told us that nothing could be done because it was private property. They told us they would contact the owners. After many days they managed to contact the property and were told that nothing could be done because the property was in dispute between the widow and the children of the first marriage. Until the lawsuit was resolved and the property could be spoken to, the City Council told us they could do nothing. We simply told them that the situation was critical because more and more people were entering and the destruction of the tower was rampant. Given the situation of helplessness, from the Bages Study Center we started the “Save the Carreras Tower” campaign. It was April 2015. The state of abandonment and ruin of the heritage building was denounced and the signature of entities and individuals was requested. The document stated verbatim:«The entities that we signed urge the Manresa City Council, as responsible for the protection of our heritage, to take the necessary measures to save the Carreras Tower from destruction, because we will still be in time if it acts quickly and diligently. If the property cannot be managed, as is being demonstrated, that the City Council take appropriate measures through the application of regulations to prevent the building from being damaged, or that a way be found for it to pass into the public or private hands of an entity. Let him take care of it.”Despite everything, nothing was done. And the tower continued to be shaken, exposed to the action of any unscrupulous person. The destruction process advanced without stopping. We regretted it, we despaired, but we didn’t know what to do, just wait for the City Council to do what it should have done from the beginning, which was to protect the building. The press reported on June 17, 2015 that the City Council had placed fencing and police tape around the tower indicating that the building could not be accessed. But the measure was useless. People kept coming into the building. And months passed until the City Council decided to wall up the entrances through which the building could be accessed. Once this closure was made, the entry of the unscrupulous finally stopped. But the damage was done. The degradation process had accelerated enormously in a short time. With the building closed, the express destructive action due to the actions of careless people stopped. But even so, the degradation suffered by every abandoned building exposed to the elements continues. The most dangerous thing is the roof because if it starts to leak, the destruction process accelerates greatly. Today we can see the still majestic Torre Carreras, but in the midst of decay that calls for urgent restoration.This case and other similar ones such as the Panyos Factory, the Nova Factory, the Creu del Tort road, etc., have made me see that the issue of Heritage in Manresa does not receive the attention or the solutions that would be necessary to live up to a cultured and advanced society that takes care of its Heritage as the most precious collective asset.

 

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