The foundation Per Amor a l’Art includes a new attraction to its art centre. After the refurbishment of the air-raid shelter discovered in the premises of Bombas Gens, this significant patrimonial element will be open to the public from tomorrow on.
During today’s press preview organised by FPAA, the director of the foundation Susana Lloret said: “At the beginning, when we found the shelter while the refurbishment was taking place, we thought it was a coalbunker because it was full of garbage. But when we realised what it really was, and understood the relevance of it, we decided that we had to refurbish it and share it with the public”.
Since it is one of the very little examples of this typology left in the city, the shelter has a special value and it is the only one open to the public. Built with a reinforced concrete structure, it entails a main area of 21,64m2 and 2,78m height with two entrances: from one of the galleries and from the courtyard.
“The shelter preserves characteristic elements of these types of construction such as the signage intended for its occupants with a series of recommendations related to usage and hygiene as well as security. The original painted socket, the ceramic tubes used as vents, and the rub which housed the lighting cables and wooden holders for the bulbs, have also survived the test of time”, explained Paloma Berrocal, the archaeologist of the project.
The refurbishment project has consisted in a thorough clean to eliminate the thick layer of soot that appeared after years of usage as a coalbunker, and an extraction of the salt produced by humidity and abandonment. Original signage restoration and chromatic reintegration have also been taken care of. “We have rescued the shelter from abandonment really, because it is in an excellent condition. Everything is original; it has not suffered from any intervention. It was as if we would have found a time capsule”, said conservator Sofía Martínez.
A time capsule that will take the visitors back to 1938, the date in which the shelter was most likely built, to protect the workers of the old factory. As the oral evidence we have collected indicates, the Republicans seized the factory during the Spanish Civil War so they could manufacture mortar bombs. The shelter was hence transformed into a military target. The factory, which was dedicated to manufacture hydraulic pumps, was conditioned for metal smelting and for this reason was exploited for the war conflict.
After years of oblivion, the history of the shelter will be told once again at Bombas Gens thanks to a series of educational activities and guided visits with the patrimonial mediators.
Due to the limited capacity, prior reservation is required