Escuela de Artes (Plaza de los Sitios). Building of the Architect Felix Navarro. Province of Zaragoza. Aragon.

Escuela de Artes (Plaza de los Sitios). Building of the Architect Felix Navarro. Province of Zaragoza. Aragon. Spain.

Building of the Architect Felix Navarro Zaragoza

Aragon > Zaragoza> Zaragoza



It was the third building built with the two and a half million grant offered by the State to commemorate the Centenary of the Sieges. The Magna Board agreed to dedicate it to the functions of School of Arts and Crafts, Industrial Arts and Higher School of Commerce, with which the first two aforementioned institutions that until then operated independently and had housing problems were merged into a single body. , as evidenced by the note that appeared in the Heraldo de Aragón on February 24, 1906, which says, "(...) the mixed Commission met in the Diputación to try to find premises where to install the Schools of Industry and Fine Arts (...)".

The decision on its location was made at the first meeting of the Executive Commission and it was decided that it would be in block A of the urbanization of the Santa Engracia garden, being necessary to expropriate for this purpose a small plot that was not owned by the City Council.

Its construction was entrusted to the architect Félix Navarro and for this reason a report on the needs of the building was requested from the directors of the Higher Schools of Commerce, Arts and Crafts and Fine Arts.

The presentation of the project took place in the session of the Works Subcommittee, on March 17 and, a week later, the aforementioned subcommittee agreed:

(...) to commission Mr. Lasierra so that, in agreement with Mr. Navarro, some modifications are introduced in the main facade of the Schools building; as well as some others of little importance such as change of chairs inside.

With a total budget of 600,000 pesetas, the Centennial Executive Committee approved the specifications in early April. Of this general budget, it is worth highlighting the complaint of the architect, Mr. Navarro, due to the scarcity of the money granted for the erection of a building of such large proportions, for which he proposed some saving measures that would allow expanding the expenses dedicated to painting and contingencies. In addition, he left to his free choice the designation of the sculptor who would carry out the different reliefs of the building.

In the games, sculpture of the door and figural friezes (...) the essential condition is that of mastery
and the architect must be left free to accept or propose the suitable personnel to execute
such works well and within the budget, already with its reasonable minimum cost (...).

The general rules in all items mandated that the contractor be responsible for any type of material defects or delivery delays. Finally, it is worth noting the origin of the stone, mainly from La Puebla, Calatorao, Alicante and Tafalla.

Shortly after, the contests began, as it was desired that the works be undertaken in the shortest possible time.

...

The laying of the first stone was carried out on the afternoon of May 10, 1907 and three days later work began. Some problems arose when a group of workers demanded that they be given work, but the contractor, Mr. Brassó, considered that the 25 he already had for the first tasks was enough; This caused the suspension of the works until the contractor assured that the number of workers would increase until reaching a total of 200.

Once the problems were corrected, Mr. Navarro proposed to the Works Subcommittee the substitution of the embankment for some basements, which was accepted by it at its meeting on June 24, 1907.

Of great importance was the proposal presented by Mr. Pano, president of the 2nd section, to the Executive Commission, and which it approved, which consisted of the partial modification of the exterior decoration of the building:

(...) se reunió ayer tarde la Comisión Ejecutiva (...) aprobó unas proposiciones presentadas por el señor
Pano, presidente de la sección segunda. Dichas proposiciones modifican, en parte, el decorado del exterior
del mencionado edificio, entendiéndose que la fachada debe manifestar el doble destino del mismo, en
lo que de una parte se refiere a la enseñanza de las artes y de otra, a la conmemoración de los Sitios de
1808 y 1809, pero respetando, desde luego, el decorado general y todo aquello ligado con el ideal docente,
sufriendo variación el motivo de la puerta y todo lo que afecta al segundo y tercer cuerpo del edificio. Las
fechas memorables de 1808, 1809 y 1908 se esculpirán en lápidas orleadas por coronas de laurel o de encina;
en grandes cartelones se contendrán los nombres de los generales, jefes, oficiales y soldados, paisanos y
eclesiásticos que se distinguieron en la epopeya de los Sitios, señalándole con una cruz aquellos que
murieron en defensa de la independencia. Como remate de ambas inscripciones se pondrá la siguiente en la
puerta de entrada. "Los nombres de los buenos patricios se grabarán en mármoles y bronces. Palafox, 2 de
febrero de 1809". Los antepechos de las ventanas de las tres fachadas servirán de otros tantos centros para
inscribir los nombres de los oficiales y soldados que más se distinguieron, formando una verdadera corona
de honor alrededor del edificio. Por medio de estas modificaciones y otras que no es el momento reseñar, dicho
edificio contendrá simbolismo que traerán a la imaginación recuerdos del heroísmo de nuestros antepasados.
En el centro de la fachada superior y en segundo término se colocará un reloj. Estas modificaciones
en la ornamentación del edificio de escuelas fueron aprobadas por la Comisión Ejecutiva (...).

Zaragoza School of Arts under construction
Zaragoza School of Arts under construction
© 2004 Private collection of Francisco Javier Mendivil Navarro

In this regard, at the meeting of the Works subcommittee on September 7, 1907, the project for the clock tower, presented by Mr. Navarro, was examined, approving it in principle and indicating "that the emblem of the Virgen del Pilar should disappear that he has placed in the auction as a lightning rod".

A very interesting article in the Heraldo de Aragón of August 11, 1907 reports on the progress of the works and work systems, where you can read:

(...) Se encuentra ya replanteado el edificio y muy pronto quedarán cubiertos los sótanos. Los obreros
ocupados en los trabajos de cantería y albañileria han oscilado diariamente entre 150 y 200, trabajando en la
actualidad de 110 a 120 hombres. (...) La casi totalidad de la piedra se haya ya preparada ad hoc y, de seguir
así, sin interrupción los trabajos, esto es, si el metal no escasea, el edificio quedará terminado para la fecha
señalada en el contrato, o sea, para el mes de marzo próximo. Los materiales que se emplean en la obra
son morteros hidráulicos, construyéndose algunas bóvedas con ladrilleta al estilo de Cataluña. Para que
la cimentación del edificio (...) ofreciera las condiciones de seguridad precisas ha habido necesidad de profundizar
siete metros. Los cimientos han sido rellenados con hormigón hidráulico para su buen resultado;
habiéndose emplazado encima de los mismos los muros de ladrillo que forman el sótano del edificio, el
cual será cubierto en su mayor parte con vigas de hierro laminado y bovedillas compuestas de ladrilleta, cemento
y arena. Para dar idea de la importancia de la obra basta consignar el dato de que en ella entrarán,
según cálculo aproximado, tres millones y medio de ladrillos y medio millón de ladrilleta. (...)

At the beginning of 1908 problems arose again, this time related to the budget and the consequent delay in the works, with which it was thought that the building could not be finished on the scheduled date, so that this would not happen, the Governor, Don Juan Tejón y Marín, as Royal Commissioner, decided to ask the architect for his opinion on whether he could complete the works with what was budgeted for, if not, proceed to a greater or lesser reduction of the decoration. This was opposed by the local press, considering that the quality of education in the future schools could be reduced and that, therefore, the money for its complete completion should not be haggled over.

The difficulties seemed to be corrected after the meeting of the Executive Commission on January 18, 1908 to deal with the problem. This same commission decided on March 14 that the premises would be handed over as they were completed, which happened in some facilities on April 20.

The offices of the Royal Police Station, except for the Retrospective Art Exhibition, were installed in the building at the beginning of May.

Space needs led to expanding the building "with an extensive pavilion covered in glass that supports slender and daring carpentry."

The discrepancies in the budget caused by the problems that arose during the erection of the building had to be resolved through the approval by the Works Subcommittee at its meeting on August 24, 1908 of the following extraordinary budget:

36.746,57 ptas. 2.444,43 ptas.16.809,06 ptas. 4.398,66 ptas. 2.835,14 ptas. 2.236,32 ptas.16.025,95 ptas. 8.310,16 ptas. 4.986,96 ptas. 1.307,25 ptas. 2.732,39 ptas. 4.275,00 ptas.-----------103.107,89 ptas.
ALBAÑILERIA ..........
CANTERIA ............
CARPINTERIA ..........
PINTURA ..............
DECORACION EN YESO ...
HERRERIA (vigas de hierro) ...
HIERRO LAMINADO .....
HIERRO FUNDIDO .......
PLOMERIA .............
VIDRIERIA ARTISTICA ..
VIDRIERIA ORDINARIA ..
TORRE DEL RELOJ ..<
TOTAL ..........

Zaragoza School of Arts during the 1908 Expo
Zaragoza School of Arts during the 1908 Expo
© 2004 Private collection of Francisco Javier Mendivil Navarro

Zaragoza School of Arts during the 1908 Expo
Zaragoza School of Arts during the 1908 Expo
© 2004 Private collection of Francisco Javier Mendivil Navarro

Zaragoza School of Arts during the 1908 Expo
Zaragoza School of Arts during the 1908 Expo
© 2004 Private collection of Francisco Javier Mendivil Navarro

Zaragoza School of Arts early 20th century
Zaragoza School of Arts early 20th century
© 2004 Private collection of Francisco Javier Mendivil Navarro

Zaragoza School of Arts early 20th century
Zaragoza School of Arts early 20th century
© 2004 Private collection of Francisco Javier Mendivil Navarro

Zaragoza School of Arts early 20th century
Zaragoza School of Arts early 20th century
© 2004 Private collection of Francisco Javier Mendivil Navarro

Texts based on the book by Jesús Martinez de Verón:
"Arquitectura de ls Exposición Hispano-Francesa de 1908".

Other Buildings by Felix Navarro



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